If you’re not quite ready to embrace the warm and fuzzy holiday feeling, you can keep the Halloween vibes going until November 30 with an experience that will leave you sleeping with the lights on.
In a production that began on Friday, September 13 and has remained a hot ticket ever since, The Beverley Street Séance, led by mentalist Jaymes White, is undoubtedly a terrifying affair. In fact, not everyone can handle it. Some – like a young guy in our group – feel sick and have to leave. At the end of the same session, a young (sober) woman vomited out of nowhere on the lawn.
A few hours earlier, a group of 18 guests are invited to meet at a downtown pub, before being escorted a few blocks to the allegedly haunted – and admittedly creepy – George Brown House. Located on Beverley Street, the National Historic Site was once home to Father of Confederation and founder of the Toronto Globe newspaper, George Brown.
In an experience that’s part theatre, part trickery and part completely unexplained, White leads guests on a creepy (if you don’t scream at some point, you win major bravery points) recreation of an authentic Victorian séance throughout the eerie space. Guests hear how Brown died at the home after a brutal infection resulting from a gunshot would after a disgruntled employee shot him. White also tells a (completely unverified) tale of other occupants – a businessman, his wife and three children – who were apparently gruesomely poisoned to death. This family is at the centre of the séance, and they reliably “show up” throughout the evening for every performance.
In what some call a total hoax and others say changes their belief in the paranormal (like a fellow sound-minded writer who swore someone, or something was touching her legs), the Beverley Street Séance – if nothing else – definitely entertains.
Here’s what White had to say about the whole thing:
What is the difference between a psychic and what you do?
I use psychological principles in order to read people. I use science psychology, my intense study of human behaviour and my own intuition. A medium believes that they posses the powers and are born with them; like someone is trying to communicate with them. I have trained since I was 6-years-old in order to read people; I think people can learn this if they devote their lives to it.
What can guests expect from the séance?
The séance is the most unique and scary experience in the country. There is legit nothing like it. What we do is go to a famous haunted location and conduct a séance. The crazy thing is its all psychological and in your head, there is not really any jump things its all psychological, where it sometimes makes you question reality. It is one of those experiences I think you need to attend in order to understand.
How did you decide upon the location?
I actually ask my fans if they know of any famous haunted locations, we then do our research and decide on the location. Marivi who is on my team is the one who kind of leads the way and is able to get the location. We were crazy luck to get the George Brown Mansion who is currently owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust, one of the most beautiful and haunted houses I have ever been to.
Has there been a time during your séances when you’ve been truly scared?
I am too focused on watching the audiences and making sure they are ok that I almost don’t focus too much on what is going on, safety is more important for me. The audience however has a completely different story. I think the reason why this has been sold out for three years straight is because they experience things they have never experienced before. I get messages all the time of people not being able to sleep for a few days or needing to sleep with their lights on after attending the séance.
What have you learned from your interactions with the dead?
I think humans come up with their own rituals and beliefs and I think they are all right. I honestly get to learn more about humans than spirits when conducting these experiences. It is very fascinating to know what makes people believe in the paranormal.
How do you mentally prepare before a big show?
I have my own weird set of rituals that I need to follow to a tee. If I do not follow them I feel off or weird. It is really weird but that is how I prepare for a big experience. I have always been a bit superstitious and I find when I do my weird ritual it keeps me calm and sane. These séances take a lot of physical and mental energy.
Do you think that Ouija Boards are a good idea to use in the home?
I actually have a collection of 103 Ouija Boards from around the world; most of them are very old. I try to find the ones that have a dark history or crazy past. I have never had anything bad happen to me. I guess you could say I am a collector. I think everyone has his or her own beliefs on the Ouija board but personally I have had never anything bad happen.
What do you do with your down time? Are your friends in your industry?
I play a lot of guitar I find it helps my mind mentally; I also try to train my body so I am ready for these crazy experiences. I am definitely a horror junkie, so I try to watch as many horror movies as possible. I also spend a lot of times playing with animals. I legit once got kissed by a Hyena, which was the greatest moment of my life!