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Dead good: Alexi Duggins braves a seance

Posted at 7:00 pm, October 23, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment, Fun London
Alexi: © Jonathan Perugia

Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. So this week you sent him to commune with the dead.

Yes, yes. We all know that ghosts don’t exist. But that doesn’t mean seances aren’t terrifying. Because it isn’t plausibility that makes something scary. After all, no one thinks that ‘The Human Centipede’ was real. But after seeing it, we still slept with the lights on to prevent any disgruntled NHS workers grafting our faces to someone else’s bum. Right? No? Just me, then. So no surprises that The Last Tuesday Society’s ‘Contacting The Dead’ seance instantly creeps me out. We wait, silently, in a basement so full of taxidermy suggests there’s

been a massacre in Farthing Wood. Then, slowly, a man in a black threepiece suit descends the staircase. ‘Think of a memory or a secret,’ he urges, leading us upstairs, seating us among more dead animals – larger ones this time, tending towards ‘The Jungle Book’ – and plunging us into darkness. ‘Spiritssss!’ intones Three-Piece, before crossing the room, unseen, and barking ‘The other side!’ at its startled occupants. ‘Reach out to the dead!’ he quivers, having scuttled behind us. Or at least I think those are his words. It’s a bit hard to hear him over a noise like a brick-filled tumble dryer. Which, in retrospect, may have been my heart.

For half an hour, the spirits communicate oddly. They mark one volunteer’s palm in a way that’s strangely similar to that pub trick involving fag ash and sleight-of-hand. They give Three-Piece – or Philipp as he tells us he’s called – a quick ring on the venue’s landline. And then they reveal the names of celebrities we’ve written on pieces of paper. Well, except for one name written on the wrong side of the fold, which they miss. But hey, you can’t expect all-sensing spirits to see through paper. Scary this ain’t.

Until, that is, Philipp tries guessing the secrets and memories he had us think of earlier. ‘The spirit says your name is Sarah, and that your memory is of you kissing a boy called Thomas when you were 11 years old,’ he says, pointing at one woman. She shrieks, astonished. ‘Your secret,’ says Philipp, turning to another lady, ‘is flushing a goldfish down the toilet.’ The woman clasps her hands to her face.

‘This,’ yells Philipp, ‘has been deception of the worst kind!’ And then he’s gone. Shlocky as hell, essentially amateurish Derren Brown, but the accuracy of his guesses: genuinely spooky.

Mon Oct 21 – Sun Oct 27. £10. For info, see thelasttuesdaysociety.org.

Read more of Alexi’s adventure here and suggest his next task on Twitter @Alexiduggins.

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