Around 9pm on Halloween night, I set my dining table with eight places. One for me. The other seven for my ancestors, the spirits of the dead, the ones that went before.
It began like this. I lit seven black candles and burned fragrant root oils that made the atmosphere heady and dreamlike. The food I prepared was simple: Cold meats, salads, nuts, and assorted fruit.
Shortly after Prof. Crow and Pip DeBelfry arrived, we sat down to eat. I called upon the ancestors to join us, simply declaring: "Spirits of times long gone by, join us and make merry at our humble feast."
When the spirits arrive a strange electricity seems to surge through the atmosphere, much like you experience after a thunderstorm. You can't see the spirits through your physical eyes, but you can through your seer's (double-sight) eyes. You see deep shadows and strange orange-hued dancing lights.
Although, I always prepare a feast, the food doesn't actually get eaten by the spirits. Not in a physical sense. But they do consume the "essence" - or energetic core - of the food.
Once we'd eaten our meal, and we felt the spirits had done likewise, it was time to sit back and relax. I poured us a glass of Cuban rum each, and one for each of the spirits.
Prof. Crow - who is a respected scholar of the secretive Santos Muerte cult - commented that many spirits had come to join us in the room. "I can feel hundreds of presences," he said.
"I can do one better than that, Prof," cut in Pip DeBelfry (much to Prof's consternation), "I can see them..." Pip is what the Victorians would have called a "sensitive." Today we'd use the term psychic or medium. But sensitive, in many ways, is a more descriptive term as it refers to somebody who is "sensitised" to that which is normally unseen.
At that point, I began my annual petitions to the spirits on behalf of my most valued clients. Earlier, I'd written out each petition on "wish papers." I said the client's name and detailed their wish. Then I passed the wish papers through a candle flame, setting them alight and letting them burn to ashes in an old tobacco tin.
The Halloween petitions took well over an hour. But they are well worth doing as many clients have reported miraculous results.
Once the last petition was done, we adjourned to my lounge. I played a Vaughan Williams symphony on my soundsystem, which added a relaxed, but evocative element to the atmosphere... until, that is, midnight began to loom...
When the clock in the hallway chimed midnight, the air suddenly turned chill and almost baleful. This is the classic scenario you get at séances. It isn't anything to fear. It's just the movement of energy as the spirits prepare to manifest or depart. Novices are typically terrified. You just have to get used to it.
Because he deals with Santos Muerte (St. Death), Prof. Crow is adept in the arts of dealing with ghosts and the dead. He has performed exorcisms where all other exorcists have failed. His success has much to do with the recognition that the terrible chill in the air that accompanies the appearance of entities from the dead land is really just a clash of energies; their world impacting with ours.
As the spirits began to depart and the air got chiller and chiller, Prof. Crow went into a deep trance, waving his arms slowly through the air in a strange dance with the spirits, ushering them back to the deadlands. While Pip DeBelfry dispensed gifts and blessings upon the spirits as they made their leave, saying, "Go ye in peace, flow with the eternal dance of the multiverse."
When all the spirits had departed, we cleared up the dishes and turned on the electric lights and TV - returning us to everyday reality. We watched an old Malcolm McClaren movie from 1991 called The Ghosts of Oxford Street, had a few more glasses of rum, then called it a night.