Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest post by Jeff Bryan



Want to get in touch with a ghost?  Maybe there's a departed friend or family member you want to call, or a dead rock star, or maybe some ancient emperor with whom you'd like a chat.  Whatever your motivation, you're not alone.  Numerous ways have been devised for contacting the dead.  While we can't speak to the effectiveness of any particular technique, here are a few of the methods people have cooked up over the centuries for reaching those on the Other Side.

1. A medium.  This is the classic approach, used at least since Biblical times.  Find yourself a witch/sorcerer/necromancer who claims the ability to speak with the dead.  Be wary when picking your medium, because this is a relatively easy thing to fake.  Anyone can claim to receive messages from the souls of the no-longer-incarnate.  Fakers will start with vague comments that could apply to anyone: “Do you know a male who has died?  No?  I meant female, female.  Someone with the letter 'a' in their name?  No, wait, I meant 'e.'”

Be sure to get references for your prospective medium, and ask those other clients about their experiences.  If you hear something like “It was great!  He knew I had a male relative with the letter 'a' in his name!” then it might be time to move on.  Also check your medium's credentials with the Better Psychics Bureau, and read their reviews on Yelp, Google, Craigslist or wherever you found this person. 

A bad medium will make everything up.  An excellent medium may come up with more information than you're ready to handle.  What you really want is to go between these extremes—find a medium medium.

2. A Ouija board.  Invented centuries ago in (mumbledy-mumble), the Ouija board remains one of the most popular ways to contact the dead, especially if you're at a middle school slumber party. Several people put their fingers on a planchette, which picks out letters and numbers one by one to spell out messages from beyond.  Simple answers like “Yes,” “No,” and “Goodbye” can also be selected, which really speeds things along.  One good thing about the Ouija board is that it's kind of a fun party game.  One negative thing is that you can contact demons who possess you and your friends and make you do horrific and violent things, before finally slaughtering you.  So it's a little bit of a mixed bag.

If you decide that a plastic-coated sheet of cardboard from Parker Brothers just doesn't scream “magical and mystical,” you can make your own Ouija board at home.  Consider using posterboard, or even write out all the letters and numbers on individual pieces of paper, in spooky calligraphy if possible.  A simple wineglass or small juice glass, turned upside down, can be your pointer.  Homemade Ouija boards are cheaper, but may increase your risk of violent demonic possession.  Consider whether you'd prefer to save a few bucks or save your soul from being eaten by a horde of fallen angels.

3.  Electronic devices and such.  Some people claim that a tape recorder is one good way to pick up messages from the dead.  Set up overnight inside a haunted house, or next to the grave of the person you wish to contact.  Ask your questions several times.  When the sun rises, stop recording.  Spend weeks sifting through the static on your tape (or digital audio file) listening for hints of a voice answering your question.  This is great fun and doesn't get old fast.  For a little variety, try a video camera instead, so at least you'll have something to watch while you sift.  If you're lucky, you'll catch an image of a ghost, and everyone will accuse you of faking it.

4. Afterlife Calling Card – Sometimes you can find people selling these on the street or at the flea market.  Allegedly, they allow you to make phone calls to people on The Other Side.  A plus: you can call from the convenience of your cell phone.  A minus: roaming charges.  These calling cards tend to be extremely expensive and are not known to actually work.

5. DIY.  Make up your own way of contacting the dead.  You might consider laying out wet paint to see if the ghost steps in it and leaves tracks.  Note: if the tracks are small, round and paw-shaped, it was probably just your cat.  Bathe your cat's feet immediately before he licks the paint.

In the comments below, you might let us know how you might contact the dead, if you were so inclined.  Commenting within seven days enters you for The Haunted E-book Tour Grand Prizes, including The Haunted Library and a Kindle (or two!). 
Your comment also enters you to win a pair of ebooks from Chrizette—The Haunted E-book and Dark Tomorrows.

Thanks for following the tour!

imageJ.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period.  He also studied screenwriting at UCLA.  He is the author of five novels and one short-story collection.  His new novel is The Haunted E-book. 

The sequel to his novel Jenny Pox will be available by summer 2011.


  1. Great post. Thanks for sharing. Very enlightening!

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  2. I would put on some Queen, meditate, and ask Freddy what he thinks of, of all people on the planet, the band choosing Paul Rodgers, a man with a vocal range of, oh, three notes, to tour with them. I mean the obvious choice was George Michael. Sure, he's got some issues, but he's got the voice. Come on.

    By the way, Jeff, I love "medium medium."

  3. I don't think I'd want to contact the dead.

    sgiden at verizon.net

  4. While I love the idea of actually meeting a spirit or ghost, I don't know if I want to communicate with one. I hate talking on the phone with people that are living, so why would I want to call a dead one? I don't check my voicemails either (hello?? Caller i.d.!) so tape recordings are out too. But I do like texting, so if I ever do decide to contact the dead, perhaps a Ouiji board is the way to go.

    Still waiting for my Sonic slushie.

  5. Lol ome great ideas there if you're brave enough ... Which I'm not!

  6. I think I'll pass on the ghost contact ... unless it's Patrick Swayze =)

    (but his character from Dirty Dancing).

  7. Donna - Thanks!

    Melanie - It sounds like you've got it all figured out! Time to call a medium medium.

    Sandy - But they want to contact you! (ooh, spooky...)

    Claudia - Ha, good point about the phone! I will mail your Sonic slushie ASAP, my big order from Createspace is taking forever...Sorry!

    Slowest Bookworm & Shanella - OK, guess I won't invite you to my next seance party!

  8. I'd contact the dead through my iPad, we'll have an instant message conversation! :O

  9. This is fascinating stuff! While reading you feel as if it could all be true and real. I'd talk to a ghost for sure. Could be a best bud.

  10. Ha nice.Well lets see...im thinking dreams for communication. nothing gets the message across like your great Uncle Larry riding a dinosaur eating some pizza pockets while fighting your Great Aunt Suzie's pet alien. lol
    Or my computer...ill have a facebook chat with the ancestor who was a passenger on the Titanic

  11. Konstantin and Katy - I love this idea of talking to ghosts through IM and Facebook! Maybe Twitter, too.

    Laura - We should always appreciate good friends, even if they happen to be ghosts!

  12. Contacting ghosts... I've often wondered but can't quite believe it's really possible. I'd probably look for the medium medium, as that sounds like the safest bet to me.

    The Ouija board sounds like it could be quite dangerous. I'd probably not take a chance on that.

  13. Here in Norway we have a real Princess that can talk with the dead (she claims), and I don't interact with royalties, so... reading about ghosts will have to do for now. ;)

  14. Under DIY - I'd think that if I were technically inclined and could create an app for my blackberry to contact my deceased relatives I'd be thrilled. But what would thrill me even more would be to market and sell said app. Thus allowing me to spend my days speaking to my dead relatives.

  15. I hadn't heard of the afterlife calling card before. They always come up with something new.



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