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Ghosts, Mediums, and Seances, Oh My!

January 26, 2018

In researching my latest cozy mystery, I wanted to find out how mediums make ghost knocks. I googled “magic knocks,” “ghost knocks,” and other phrases and came across a number of fascinating sites. Even snopes.com and mentalfloss.com offer comments on ghost sightings and séance tricks.


Snopes takes on a video posted in October, 2017, to the YouTube page of Deerpark Christian Brothers School, a secondary school in Cork, Ireland. The video seemed to show security camera footage of a ghost opening and closing doors, banging file drawers, knocking over signs and moving chairs.


The video was a viral hit, earning wide coverage and racking up more than 12 million views. The   school’s deputy principal told news outlets he didn’t know how the video was made: The school was built on a site known as Green Gallows where criminals were hanged in the  19th century. A nearby pub is called the Gallows.


Snopes.com describes a different scenario. A few days after the video was first posted, the school posted a photograph of the “haunted hallway” to its Facebook page. This image gives a wider view of the hallway and also shows the security camera that presumably filmed the ghost encounter.


 A closer look at this image shows the security camera that supposedly filmed the ghost’s activities. Also, the security camera is placed higher than the one that took the ghost images. If the ghost footage was truly taken with this security camera, these frames would have been obscured or hidden.


So the camera that shot the footage was either floating in mid-air (possibly held by a second ghost?) or — more likely — was set up on a tripod in the middle of the hallway, indicating that this is the work of humans, not ghosts. Since the two cameras were in different positions, it wasn’t possible to perfectly match up the resulting images, but the comparison shows that the ghost footage was not taken from the security camera despite the claim.


You can read all about this and view the video at https://www.snopes.com/ghost-on-camera-hallways-ireland-school/


As I continued to search for how the ghost knocks are done, I found a site that described ghost knocks in a house that mystified the homeowners and the police. Eventually, the teenaged girl who was present when the knocks occurred confessed that she did them by cracking her ankles. Actually, cracking joints seems to be used often to create ghost knocks.


Then I found this site, http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/87458/6-classic-seance-tricks-explained. The article here explains six classic séance tricks. This was the perfect site for my needs. You can follow the link to find out how they’re done, but the six tricks are listed here.
1. Spirit rapping
2. Manifestation cabinets. Mediums would enter these cabinets with their hands bound. Curtains are drawn, lights turned off, and  all sorts of manifestations would take place.
3. Spirit slate writing
4. Ectoplasm oozing from the medium (sounds disgusting, doesn’t it?)
5. Spirit trumpet through the spirit could talk via the medium.
6. Fire tests in which the medium claims to be impervious to heat.

These are just a couple of fascinating sites on the Net dealing with magic, ghosts, and séances.

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