Séance Sights



The town of Lily Dale, situated near the western tip of New York State, is home to one of the most active Spiritualist communities in the world. The website for the Lily Dale Assembly, the official headquarters of the local Spiritualist scene, lists forty-nine registered mediums—roughly one per every four permanent residents. What better place to embark on a quest to glimpse the unknown? Shannon Taggart, a photographer whose passion for documenting Spiritualist rituals began in Lily Dale, has spent nearly two decades capturing the practices by which mediums (and their curious customers) attempt to reach those beyond the veil. Her new book, Séance, published by Fulgur Press, collects a hundred fifty of her photographs, a selection of which appears below.


Table-tipping workshop with the mediums Reverend Jane and Chris Howarth, Erie, Pennsylvania, 2014.


The medium Sylvia Howarth enters a trance, England, 2013.


A woman said to be overshadowed by either the spirit of her grandmother, the Voodoo priestess Marie Laveau, or her own doppelgänger, Lily Dale, New York, 2003.


Instrumental-transcommunication and smoke-scrying experiment outside the séance room, England, 2013.


The medium Sylvia Howarth conducts a trance spirit art demonstration in her home, England, 2013.


Séance trumpets with celebrity spirit guides, hand-painted by the medium Sylvia Howarth, England, 2013.


Gretchen Clark laughs as her deceased brother Chapman interrupts a reading to tell her a joke, Lily Dale, New York, 2001.


The medium Kai Muegge emits an ectoplasmic hand, Basler Psi-Verein, Switzerland, 2018.


All photos from Shannon Taggart: Séance, published by Fulgur Press.