My informant, LK, has attended several séances. He used to attend them with his Mexican American grandmother. My informant explained that going to séances, reading Tarot cards, and seeing mediums was not atypical in his family. I took interest in the séances LK attended. He told me about one in particular.
LK attended a séance at a woman’s home. All the attendees were required to bring a bottle of rum and a cigar. The woman that hosted was an older Puerto Rican or Mexican woman. At the séance, the woman would call upon a spirit and the spirit would then enter her. “He was a little black guy and he liked to smoke the cigar and drink the rum. She would go into a trance and it’d be like you were talking to him. So you’d be asking him questions and he would know the answers because he is of the other world.” I asked how the man would know the answers. “You would just believe them if you believed in the spiritual world.” And would they always be right? “No, they would sometimes be wrong.” Are there bad spirits? “Yes. You have to be careful because you don’t want to ever get a bad spirit. You have to do it with someone who knows how to do it. Because they have their spirits that they constantly use. It’s not like playing the Ouija board. They have spirits they are in contact with.”
I asked LK how he got into this. He told me that it was a part of his mother, grandmother, and great grandmother’s culture. His great grandmother would teach him things. She knew how to work certain spells and certain magic. At least that is what he grandmother told him about his great grandmother…
LK would attend séances and the like because of curiosity. He wanted to talk to people that had died and see what the future holds.
For another rendition of a séance you can refer to Woody Allen’s movie Magic in the Moonlight.