The Haunting of Paul Voodini by Paul Voodini

April 30, 2018 | Author: Don Ángel | Category: Paranormal, Mediumship, Hypnosis, Ghosts, Hallucination
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Bizarre presentations...


The Haunting of Paul Voodini


The Haunting of Paul Voodini



The Haunting of Paul Voodini


TONY CORINDA 1931  2010

 / 13  9 /  13


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

INTRODUCTION Greetings children of the night. Once more I stand before you with a gathering of routines stolen from our “shut eye” brethren! The routines outlined in this book are ideal to use as part of an evening of séance theatre (perhaps as opening routines to warm up your guests as outlined in my books “Paranormal Entertainer” and “Jack the Ripper Séance”), or could easily form part of a  bizarre presentation or mentalist show. The routines included are all used on a regular basis by mediums and paranormal investigators to prove the existence of spirits. My personal belief is that they do no such thing. I believe that all these routines work as a result of psychological priming, social compliance, and the body’s natural physiological response to being in the dark. I may be wrong. I’m not silly enough to believe I know it all. If it is the spirits that cause the following routines to work, then I hereby apologise and beg the spirits’ forgiveness. I look forward to taking my rightful place in Summerland. I’ve been working more-or-less full time in the paranormal industry for close to seven years now. People often ask me if I’ve seen anything weird in all that time. Indeed, they expect me to have witnessed all manner of spirit manifestations - demons rising from the cold earth, ghosts of Roman legionnaires, ouija boards catching fire, that kind of thing. Sadly I have to report that I believe less in the paranormal now than when I started in this industry. When I first began working in the paranormal world I had quite a strong level of  belief in the unexplained. une xplained. Now my level of belief is very low. This saddens me because, becau se, like Mulder (or is it Scully), I really want to believe. But it’s just that, after spending hours upon hours investigating reputedly haunted locations I have experienced precious little that could not be explained by more down to earth methods. The freakiest thing I have ever experienced was the sound of phantom footsteps emanating from a room I know was unoccupied. After seven years, that’s as good as it gets. I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m down-hearted or despondent. The truth is, I’m actually more excited by this work than ever before because I’ve come to realise a very important  point. There may be no genuine paranormal phenomena to experience, but there is something else at our disposal that is even more exciting. The human imagination. I have witnessed people freaking themselves out, seeing ghosts, hearing noises, and even fainting during séances. They have always attributed these phenomena to the paranormal. However observing all of this activity through the eyes of a mentalist, I realised that what is actually happening is that people are getting so excited and involved with the experience that they start to hallucinate slightly, they start to expect to see and hear things, they misinterpret messages that their senses are sending them, and sometimes the combination of a “haunted” location, heightened expectation, and darkness actually manages to hypnotise the spectator very slightly. Just enough to help them experience  paranormal phenomena.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini Well, this is just my own pet theory. It’s probably wrong, but it does seem to fit what I see happening on the events I’m a part of, week in, week out. The routines included here could be used as introductory routines to warm up your audience before an evening of séance theatre; they could be used as part of a mentalism show to demonstrate the power of the mind; they could form part of a bizarre show; and they equally adaptable for either the close up, parlour or stage environment. All of the routines contained herein do require a certain amount of guts to pull off. These aren’t tricks where A leads to B and henceforth to C. Sometimes with these routines C comes first and may lead to A but we aren’t sure, it could be B. You will have to be flexible and think on your feet. What you will be demonstrating is the power of the mind/the  paranormal/suggestibility (delete as appropriate for your performance persona). The re are no gimmicks or moves here, only your ability to create an atmosphere, create a sense of expectation, and create in you spectator a state of suggestibility that will allow them to experience something extra ordinary.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

HOT STONE You will need: either a small stone, a crystal, a key, a coin, a ring - anything that can fit into a closed fist and that is appropriate to your presentation.


This is a three stage routine. 1. The item is handed to the spectator by the performer. The spectator is asked to close her fist around the item and hold her arm out before her, concentrating her gaze onto her fist and imagining the item inside the fist. When the performer is happy that the spectator is “buying into” the visualisation, he asks her to imagine that the item is  becoming warm within her closed fist. The performer continues to encourage the spectator, and when the spectator reports that she can feel the item becoming warm he will further encourage the spectator to feel the item actually becoming hot, hot, hotter than ever. The response of the spectator will vary from person to person. Each  performance will be different, and the response of the spectator will depend much on how susceptible she is to suggestion. At the very least the performer should be aiming to get verification that the item feels warm. Should the spectator report that the item feels almost too hot to hold, the performer should suggest that the item is cooling slightly - the aim being that although the hotter the item feels, the better for the  performance, we do not ideally want the item to be dropped. 2. With the spectator reporting that the item is feeling warm/hot in her hands, the  performer suggests that energy from the item in her fist is spreading along her arm, making it feel stiffer and stiffer, making it impossible for the spectator to bend her arm almost as though there is a metal rod running along the length of it. When the  performer is happy that the spectator is truly imagining that her arm is completely stiff, he should then test the work by asking the spectator to try and bend her arm. The ideal outcome is that the spectator can now not bend her arm and can still feel the warm item within her closed fist. Is it me or does this whole routine seem full of innuendo? I digress…

3. The final stage comes when the performer suggests that the item within the spectator’s fist is now so charged with energy that it is becoming heavier and heavier. The performer suggests that the spectator’s hand and arm are feeling heavier and heavier and she can no longer hold them up. Finally the spectator is told it is okay to drop the item, and upon dropping the item the spectator’s arm is suddenly freed from its previous rigidity.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini Subtleties

You do not have to use all three stages of this routine. You can happily just use the “hot” element and not worry about the stiff arm and the item becoming heavy. However if your spectator is buying into the whole idea of the item in her palm becoming warm and even hot, then there is no reason why the other elements of the routine should not work  perfectly. If the spectator reports that the item in her fist is becoming very hot and she drops it, don’t worry. Simply halt the routine at that stage and milk the extreme reaction for all its worth. What’s going on?

This is all suggestion. The item will become slightly warmer due to the fact that it is  being held inside a tight fist, but the actual warmth of the item should be much less than the perceived heat felt by the spectator. The roots of this routine lay very much in the world of hypnosis, with the fact that the item becomes slightly warmer inside the fist  being picked up by the mind as evidence that something weird is happening (as commentated upon by the performer), and the phenomena perceived and interpreted by the spectator far outstripping what is actually happening. Likewise with the stiff arm and heavy fist - these are straight from a hypnosis training manual and will be well known to many of you. Have the spectator hold her arm straight out before her so that the elbow is locked and the arm is raised slightly above eye level. The fist will be gripped tightly around the item, and by suggesting to the spectator that her arm is getting stiff, stiff, stiffer etc., the arm will lock and be unable to bend. Likewise with the item becoming too heavy to hold up. Choose the right spectator for this and as always approach with great confidence. Of course the truth is that an arm held up above eye level with the elbow locked will naturally feel to the spectator like it has locked into place due to how the muscles behave when they are held in what is an unnatural position for any length of time. When the spectator tries to unlock her arm, any slight resistance met will be interpreted by the mind as evidence that the arm has indeed locked. When we suggest that the key is getting heavier and heavier, we are aided by the fact that the arm and the fist will by this time be getting tired and the natural inclination will be for the arm to begin to drop.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini Sample script

Because of the nature of this routine (and most routines in this book), no two  performances will be the same. Every subject will react differently and the real skill is  being able to manage your spectator and remain light on your feet - ready and able to adapt and adopt your performance depending on what reactions you get from your spectator. In the script below (which is supplied purely to give you an idea of timing and pacing) I have assumed that the spectator is not an overly brilliant subject and she reports that the item feels a little warm but no more. I have chosen this scenario as it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate how to “big up” any reactions you get and make the most of them. Very strong, positive reactions are obviously easier to manage as your audience will be able to see that something pretty amazing is going on. When the reaction is slightly less enthusiastic it is up to you to generate a sense of excitement with what is happening and make sure the audience knows that something weird and paranormal is happening, even if the spectator is less than convinced herself! The performer’s words are in bold, the spectator’s are not, and comments/notes will be in italics. I have decided to go with a haunted key routine. I have already shown the key turning in my palm and informed the audience (this is in a parlour setting) that the key once was used to lock and unlock the door of a solitary confinement cell within a lunatic asylum. Performer: Okay, please take hold of the key. Are you okay with that? Some people get a bit worried about holding an object that has such a weird history. Spectator:  No, it’s okay. Performer: Great. Okay, so now close your fist around the key. Make it nice and tight but obviously don’t squeeze it so hard that blood drips out of your fist! That comes later! (Rubbish joke but often gets a bit of a laugh and subconsciously may indicate to the guests that things may get a little bizarre at some point!) Okay, that’s great. Now lift your arm up to just above eye level and lock your elbow so your arm is nice and straight. That’s wonderful.   (Lots of praise, keep praising your spectator and get them on your side). Now I want you to imagine energy emanating from that key, energy building up and making that key start to pulsate. Perhaps the key will start to begin to feel warm as that energy builds up. Concentrate on the key, imagine that energy pulsating from it, and the heat building up. Can you feel that? (Don’t wait for an answer, plough on. The guests will hear the question and will assume that the spectator’s answer was in the  positive even though we gave her no chance to answer).  Keep a tight grip on the key and feel that energy, that warmth, building up. That’s it, concentrate hard now. Feel that warmth and feel that energy.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini How does it feel? How warm is it? (Okay, now we wait for an answer. How suggestible is she?). Spectator: Erm, a bit warm. (Right, a bit rubbish and perhaps not the amazing answer we were hoping for, but no worries. She agreed that the key felt warm. Seize on that and milk it for all it’s worth!). Performer: Yes, weird isn’t it? (Milk, milk, milk!) And that warmth will build and build now. Can you feel it? That warmth just increases. Getting warmer now? Spectator: A bit. (Well at least she’s agreeing with you! You will usually get a lot more of a positive reaction than this, but by showing you how to deal with a spectator that’s a bit half-hearted, you’ll be equipped for almost anything!). Performer: You’re doing great. (Flattery, flattery! “Please like me,” you’re in fact saying with all this flattery, “and get into the right frame of mind for this!”). It’s very weird when you feel the key getting warmer and warmer in your hand. There does seem to be lot of energy built up within the key - perhaps it has something to do with the fact that there would be a lot of emotion connected with that cell and the lock that either opened or closed it. A traumatic location and some of that energy has perhaps seeped into the key. (Okay, we’re no longer trusting our spectator to do a commentary for us. So we do it instead. If we had a very positive spectator who was reporting the phenomena in an upbeat and positive manner, I would let her do the commentary, let her explain what is happening to the other guests. But with a less than enthusiastic spectator, you should take the reigns and do the talking for her!). Now that energy is filling your fist and pouring out along your arm. There is energy now running along the length of your arm, almost like an iron bar running through your arm, making it stiffer and stiffer. Concentrate on the arm and imagine that energy running along it, stiffening your arm, like an iron bar, making it impossible to bend it. That’s right, and you find its impossible to bend your arm. Even if you were to try bending it, you know you couldn’t. In fact, the more you try to bend that arm, the stiffer it becomes. Really, really stiff and impossible to bend. So try now and find you can’t. It’s impossible. That arm is solid. (Unless you have an absolute sod of a spectator, by holding the arm up with the elbow locked for a few minutes, the spectator should experience the locked arm phenomena). But there’s more now. That key becomes heavier and heavier. Your arm is stiff but it’s getting harder and harder to hold the key up. That energy is giving the key extra weight, it’s becoming heavier and heavier, almost like it’s becoming denser and denser, heavier and heavier. Feel your arm being drawn downwards, an aching sensation now running along your arm and into your fist. Feel that weight becoming heavier and heavier. And now, look at me, and let go og the key. I’m turning off the energy now, and your fist can open, drop the key, and your arm returns to normal. That’s wonderful. You did very well. A bit weird huh? (And again, after holding the arm up in such an unnatural position for a good length of time, that arm should be


The Haunting of Paul Voodini drooping forward by itself anyway. If the arm begins to droop even before you get to this section, jump straight to the “heavy” spiel and explain how the key is increasing in density as we speak due to the energy building up).

If you get a spectator who really refuses to buy into the experience and is saying that the item is not getting warm at all, simply get rid of her and pick a new candidate. Explain how some people can’t pick up on the energy (or whatever) as well as others can, and give someone else a chance to experience the phenomena. But to be honest, if you pick your volunteer with a little care this shouldn’t happ en. But forewarned is forearmed. The key to this routine is your own confidence, your sheer determination to get the spectator to experience something special, and your lack of fear. If the volunteer says nothing is happening, simply swap her round for someone else. Not everyone has the imagination and the creativity to experience what you’re offering! But as long as you get a good volunteer, this is a super strong routine that works really well and gets a great response. A quick guide to choosing a good volunteer: 

Females are generally better than males. A huge generalisation of course, but one made from experience…

Someone who has a level of belief in the paranormal

Someone who has been hypnotised before

Someone who seems very keen to be involved

Someone who is a bit of a show-off

How do you tell who would make a good volunteer? With experience you will be able to spot them, but if in doubt, ask! “So, do we have anyone here who’s ever seen a ghost? Or  believes in the paranormal and other weird stuff? Anyone ever been hypnotised?” Then see the response of your guests and judge from there. Enjoy!


The Haunting of Paul Voodini


The volunteer sits at a small table holding a pen which is placed lightly onto the top of a  piece of paper or a pad, as though she is about to compose a letter. The volunteer turns her head and body away from the paper, so that her arm, hand, pen and paper are at a right angle away from her; therefore should she begin to write she cannot see what she is doing. The room is in darkness apart from a single candle flickering near to the volunteer. Slowly and eerily the pen begins to move and a message from the spirits appears on the  paper. The volunteer’s hand h and and the pen seemingly move under the control of an external ethereal force, beyond the mortal control of the volunteer. Once the message is complete, the paper or pad is handed around the assembled spectators for inspection, and the guests attempt to interpret the odd other worldly message while the volunteer takes a moment to recover from her strange experience. Background

Automatic writing became very fashionable during the height of Spiritualism in the 1880’s. Indeed, rather than just an odd word or short message (as in the routine explained above), many automatic writers, believing they were channeling the spirits of long dead artists, produced great works of literature and music. However for the most part, automatic writing was practiced in the drawing rooms of the spiritualist enthusiast. People would sit for hours, pen or pencil in hand, waiting for spiritual intervention. Waiting for the spirits to take control of their hand and arm, and use the pen to pass on messages from the other side of the veil. In the routine outlined above we should expect to see that “spiritual intervention” to occur a touch quicker - probably in around 2 minutes - and there are methods we can employ to ensure this is the case. ca se. I find that automatic writing is at its most effective in a parlour setting, although I can imagine it being quite a nice routine to use on stage too. Subtleties

Automatic writing works in a very similar way to glass moving/Ouija and pendulums. The pen starts to work due to a combination of the following: 

Ideomotor function. Small unperceivable movements in the muscles that start the  pen moving Unconscious desire for something to happen. The subject may really want the pen to start moving for a variety of reasons - a belief in the paranormal, a desire not to let  people down, because they like the performer (you!) and don’t want them to look


The Haunting of Paul Voodini silly if nothing happens - and unconsciously they give the pen just a little… push… 

Social compliance. All eyes are on them. Easier to just get that pen moving rather than have everyone thinking they’re stupid! Because you’ve hypnotised them! Well, just a little bit. And it’s this hypnotism that we shall discuss. The other factors will look after themselves and will occur naturally. Just remember to get the volunteer and indeed all the guests on your side. Be likeable and they’ll help things along no end

A Teeny Tiny Bit of Hypnotism

In a darkened room, illuminated by a single candle, a pen and a pad of paper sit on a small table. An empty chair is placed next to the table. The performer explains what is about to happen and a little of the history of automatic writing. A volunteer is selected, one who may believe that she is a little intuitive, maybe even a touch psychic, and she sits on the chair and picks up the pen. The volunteer holds the pen and places it lightly on top of the paper. Then the volunteer is asked to turn slightly away from the table. A subtle form of hypnosis has already taken place. The environment, the setting and the expectation mean that it would be a miserly person who wouldn’t get that pen moving! But let’s make sure with a touch of hypnosis that is just a little more overt. The Quick Hypno Script

“Please, take a seat. Well done. That’s great. So have you ever done anything like this  before? Perhaps had a go with a ouija board, or a pendulum? Okay, so just look at me. You know what you need to do, you have the ability within you to do this, all you need to do is relax and just let the pen do the work. I’m positive you have the ability within you, and I think that you know too, although you may have forgotten to remember that you can do this and there’s no doubt at all. Okay, so just pick up the pen…” The Quick Hypno Script Broken Down

“Please, take a seat. Well done. That’s great. (Lots of encouragement make them feel special and wanted). So have you ever done anything like this before? Perhaps had a go with a ouija board, or a pendulum? (Be interested in their response, it should give you a clue as to how well this will work. If they have played with a ouija board before and it worked, chances are that this will work without a problem).  Okay, so just look at me. You know what you need to do (yes, push that pen around the paper!), you have the ability within you to do this (you can fake this, you can move the pen around the paper!), all you need to do is relax and just let the pen do the work (yep, let the pen write on the  paper, that‘s its job, but you might need to actually push it!). I’m positive you have the ability within you (to write on a piece of paper!), and I think that you know too (you know you need to fake this but that‘s okay), although you may have forgotten to remember that you can do this and there’s no doubt at all (classic suggestion). Okay, so  just pick up the pen…”


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

Possible Outcomes: 

A coherent sentence or two will be written on the paper. Wonderful! Quite obviously the volunteer has completely faked it, but let’s not worry about that. This is a wonderful demonstration of the paranormal/power of the mind/balloon modeling/delete as required to suit your performance style A collection of squiggles and odd shapes will appear on the paper. Very good! This is again a wonderful demonstration of automatic writing and all the guests can engage in trying to decipher the squiggles and make sense of them

A slight squiggle appears on the paper. Not as impressive perhaps, but still evidence of something strange going on. Big it up! Make sure everyone is aware of how weird this is  Nothing happens at all. Oh well. These experiments are not flawless. We must not fear failure. Perhaps another guest would like to have a go? Another guest who might  be more successful? Wonderful! Kindly step this way and take a seat…

Always pass the piece of paper or pad around your guests (in a parlour setting). They will like to see what words or images have appeared on the paper, and it helps the guests to feel involved. And always ask the volunteer afterwards how it felt, could she feel the pen moving, was she aware of what she was writing, how does she feel now? The audience will always be interested in what the volunteer has to say. The sight of a woman sat at a table, a single candle flickering away, perhaps with her head bowed and eyes closed, writing strange messages with an arm and a hand that seem strangely disconnected to the rest of her, is an eerie sight indeed, and one that your guests will remember for a very long time. Spend time and effort on creating the right atmosphere and ambience. It will work wonders. And as always, be confident and upbeat. Be absolutely certain that the automatic writing will work, and have no thoughts of failure in your mind. But if it does fail, so what? Let’s try again…


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

THE SPIRIT ROPE The “Spirit Rope” is a lesser known and more obscure relative of the ouija board, tabletipping, and automatic writing. It too was born of the Victorian era spiritualism movement, but unlike its three prestigious relations it never really captured the public imagination. However its rarity can work well for you. It is something a bit “different”, not many people have heard of it let alone seen it performed, and it has a real novelty factor. The idea is very simple. In a parlour setting, all light is extinguished. The darker you can make this, the better. Prior to the lights being turned off (or perhaps preferably, the candles being blown out) a short rope is introduced. This rope should be around 3 feet long and of a thickness that allows it to be gripped comfortably. Two guests are selected to demonstrate the spirit rope and should stand facing each other in front of your audience, each holding onto one end of the rope. The rope should be held tightly with the rope taut - looking for all the world like your volunteers are going to undertake a tug-ofwar with a very short rope! The volunteers should be standing with their feet together and the rope held out at arms’ length. In the darkness with your audience hushed and your volunteers standing with the rope  between them, you should call out to the spirits in a manner similar to this: “Spirits! Any spirits who are with us in the room tonight! Step forward and move the rope! Pull the rope that our two volunteers are holding! Pull it! Move it! Let our volunteers feel you acting upon that rope! Pull the rope so that the volunteers are pulled forward or pushed backwards! Do it now for us spirits! Push or pull that rope! Make our volunteers feel you acting upon the rope! Make the rope pull them forwards or push them backwards!”

Ask your volunteers to shout up as soon as they feel or sense anything, particularly if they begin to feel themselves swaying or being pushed and pulled. The idea is that in the darkness, the volunteers will begin to sway very gently - particularly if they are standing with their feet together. As one of your volunteers starts to sway, he will pull gently on the rope. This will be perceived by the other volunteer as the rope being pulled away from him. This action will make him sway slightly too. Before too long you will have both volunteers swaying gently and as a result they will be  pulling on the rope. The volunteers will report this “paranormal activity” in a manner not dissimilar to this: “Oh my god! The rope is being pulled!” “That’s right!” you continue. “Keep pulling that rope, spirits! Let our volunteers be in no doubt that you are amongst us!” The volunteers will later affirm that neither of them was actually (and by that I mean “consciously”) pulling the rope. To the volunteers the action of the rope feels weird and


The Haunting of Paul Voodini otherworldly, and it should be noted that in the darkness the smallest of movements on the rope will be amplified greatly. To the guests, attempting to see through the pitch darkness, the shouting and excited comments coming from the volunteers is a spooky experience. What on earth is going on over there in the dark? One guy’s talking to spirits and the two volunteers are saying that strange things are happening to the rope! You can use the spirit rope to establish communication with spirits (one tug for yes, two for no), but I prefer to use it as a small routine that demonstrates either a) the power of the spirits or b) the power of the mind. Whichever presentation fits best. I would use the spirit rope as a small part of a larger presentation, perhaps between a ouija session and a séance (see Paranormal Entertainer and/or Jack the Ripper Séance by your truly). It’s always a good idea to get all of your audience as involved as possible, so I would encourage other members of the party to shout out themselves if they see, hear or experience anything. When you have a group of people sitting in the dark and a strange man (me) begins to call out to the spirits, asking dead people to communicate with us, all sort of weird experiences will be reported! It’s your job to seize on every phenomena reported and milk as much from it as possible - even when the phenomena reported is not something you were expecting. Learn to be mentally agile and see yourself as the master of whatever situation you find yourself in. Please do not find yourself muttering these immortal words: “Well, that was weird. Wasn’t expecting that. Not sure what it was really. Anyway, let’s get back to the show shall we?” The words you should be using should be along these lines: “Yes! Fantastic! Did you see/hear/experience that? How amazing! This is all working so well!” It’s easy really. And remember - if the spirit rope (or whatever you’re “experimenting” with) doesn’t work so well, simply get some new volunteers. Not everyone is sufficiently “tuned in” to make the desired phenomena occur! NB It would be perfectly acceptable to combine two separate routines such as Spirit Rope and Automatic Writing. Have one volunteer sitting at a table, pen in hand, in one section of the room, and two volunteers standing in another area holding the rope. Then after the rope has done its tricks, you can relight the candles and check out what messages have appeared on the paper for the volunteer engaged in the automatic writing. That might work quite nicely actually.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

THE EFFECTS OF DARKNESS ON THE HUMAN MIND In many of my previous books I have spoken at length on the effects of darkness (particularly  pitch darkness) on the human mind. I don’t want to go over old ground, but it is worth bearing in mind the effects that darkness can have on an otherwise rational mind.

Darkness fires up the imagination. This is often demonstrated in the following ways: 


Extremes of emotion - laughing/giggling or feeling ve ry sad and forlorn

Hallucinating - seeing or sensing things that simply aren’t there

Misinterpreting messages from the body - itches, aches & pains etc are misinterpreted as ghostly touches Misinterpreting outside stimuli - naturally occurring noises, breaths of wind, etc are misinterpreted as being of ghostly origin

Darkness induces sensory deprivation. This often manifests itself in the following ways: 

Seeing spots of light - actually created by your eyes trying to find a horizon

Swaying - again a result of not being able to find a horizon to align oneself to

Hallucinating - different to the hallucinating created by the imagination, although the outcome is very similar. These hallucinations are brought about as a physical response to the darkness rather than a subconscious response Headaches, dizziness (similar to swaying) and nausea. Again, the body’s inability to find a horizon can induce indu ce responses similar to those experienced of fairground rides

In the paranormal community, all of these phenomena are used to demonstrate the genuineness of the spirit realm. They are given as evidence that human-spirit interaction is taking place. You now know what is really happening. Use that knowledge wisely.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

HUMAN PENDULUM We have already talked about how one phenomena experienced in darkness is “swaying”. It is essentially how the Spirit Rope routine works. When standing in the dark, many  people will experience an uncontrollable swaying motion. This occurs due to the eyes  being unable to focus on a horizon, and in an attempt to understand and control the environment the subconscious will cause swaying to occur as the sense of balance attempts to reboot. Or something. The simpler explanation is that it just happens, okay? The Human Pendulum routine exploits these phenomena. Depending on the number of  people in your party and the size of the room you are in, have your guests stand in a circle, holding hands, with their feet together. Extinguish all light (again, as dark as  possible) and call out: “Spirits! Any spirits in this room! Step forward and enter our circle! We welcome you in! Step forward! Step forward into our circle and interact with us! Push us forward! Push us  backwards! Let us know that you are amongst us by making us sway!” After a few moments continue: “Please do this for us spirits! Choose one of our number perhaps, and make them sway! Push them forwards or pull them backwards!” back wards!” Encourage any guests who feel they are swaying to inform the group, and also ask guests to be vocal if the ysee or feel anybody else swaying. It is not unusual to have the entire group swaying inwards and outwards in unison, but it is equally likely that you will have  just one guest swaying in isolation. If the entire group is swaying, experience has taught me that the best route to take is to get that swaying to increase, to become bigger and greater. You can encourage this increase in activity quite easily: “That’s right spirits! Make that movement greater! Make us sway even more! Bigger and bigger, spirits! More and more!” With a bit of luck you will actually have someone fall over! If you have just a solo swayer (or perhaps one or two swayers), focus on the swayer and ask which way she is swaying - backwards and forwards or around in a circle? Depending on their answer, you can then ask the spirits to move them in a different direction. Encourage the swayer to be as vocal as possible - how does it feel? You can even establish communication with the spirits by attributing one movement that the swayer is experiencing (perhaps backwards and forwards) with the answer “yes” and another movement (perhaps round in a circle) with the answer “no”. This is exactly the same way that spirit communication is established using a co nventional pendulum. This routine should be used as just one small part of an evening’s entertainment. Perhaps at some point later in the evening you will need a single volunteer. If you get a single 17

The Haunting of Paul Voodini swayer, perhaps they would be the ideal candidate to act as your volunteer? Tell your guests before you start the routine that people who perform well may get the opportunity to play a larger part in proceedings later in the evening. This will encourage (subconsciously or otherwise) the phenomena within the enthusiastic and/or the show-off. It will also discourage the wall-flower who as a volunteer is usually no good to you at all. One important point to consider is where you should be standing during all of this. You could quite easily stand outside or inside the actual circle formed by the guests holding hands, but I prefer to actually for part of the circle myself - to be holding hands with guests and place myself smack bang in the centre of the action. In such a position I can gently, very gently, encourage the phenomena myself by just shifting my weight continually from one foot to another. This tiny, barely noticeable motion is often enough to get people on either side of me swaying gently. Once people start to sway slightly it is reasonably easy to encourage that movement to increase by simply saying: “That’s right spirits! Give us more motion! Make these people sway even more! Bigger and better, spirits! Show us how strong you are, spirits!” Etc.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

 PENDULUM INDUCTION [In a previous book of mine, Jack the Ripper Séance, I discussed in some depth how and why pendulums appear to swing of their own volition - and also how they can be made to stop on command. Essentially it is a combination of idiomatic function and subconscious desire. It is this effect that the following utilises.]

The Pendulum Induction is used as a hypnotic induction. As far as I am aware it is an induction of my own creation, however if anyone knows of an identical induction  published previously, please inform me and I will happily give credit where credit is due. I believe that this induction is equally useful in the therapy room, in the parlour, or in my lady’s chamber. Erm, I mean, on the stage. The subject is seated holding a pendulum in an outstretched arm. The following induction script should explain all: “As you sit there concentrating on the pendulum and listening to my voice, you will  begin to notice the pendulum moving slightly, and that’s fine, that’s wonderful. Just continue to look at the pendulum, just continue to listen to my voice, and notice the slight movement in the pendulum, a movement that indicates that your mind is relaxing wonderfully and drifting down into a place of quiet relaxation. But allow this to take  place in your own time and at your own pace. Just allow the pendulum to swing and allow your mind to drift down, and when you are ready to go into trance simply allow the  pendulum to stop moving and allow your eyes to close. But in your own time and at a  pace that is acceptable to you. When you are ready simply allow the pendulum to stop moving, close your eyes and continue to allow your mind to go down, down into a deep state of relaxation that we call trance…” Once the pendulum has stopped moving and the eyes have closed, take hold of the  pendulum and continue… “And as I take hold of the pendulum, I want you to notice how deep you are going into a deep state of relaxation. In a moment I will push this arm down (the arm that had been holding the pendulum and is still held out) and it will drop into your lap like a limp rag, and that will be your key to go twice as deeply into trance, ten times as deeply, a hundred times as deeply into trance.” Push the arm down into the lap and continue the induction as you normally would. Obviously the script given here can only act as a guideline. Every individual’s reaction to the induction will be slightly (or greatly!) different and you will need to lead and pace accordingly. The pendulum induction is nice in that it allows the subject to decide in their own mind when exactly they go into trance, thereby negating the hypnotist as an over bearing figure who almost forces the subject into trance. With a little help from you, the


The Haunting of Paul Voodini subject essentially hypnotise themselves. By using phrases such as, “When you are ready to go into trance, allow the pendulum to stop moving,” you are making it very clear that there is no doubt that the subject will go into trance, but it is their choice as to exactly when. It’s a lovely subtlety. Do you want to go into trance now or later? By using the pendulum induction in a performance setting, you are utilising an item (the  pendulum) that is often employed during paranormal and occult activities so you have that association on your side straight away. A swinging pendulum is also not dissimilar to the swinging watch of many a hypno cliché, and I’m nothing if not old school! When I was developing the pendulum induction, I originally told the subject to drop the  pendulum themselves when they were entering trance. The idea was that the act of dropping the pendulum would be the signal that they had allowed themselves to go into trance, and I would deftly catch the pendulum as it fell. However catching a swinging  pendulum is harder than one might imagine, and after several embarrassing thuds, and several subjects being jarred from their trance by the sudden noise of the pendulum hitting the floor, I abandoned this action. It was a wise move. The only other alternative was to wear a pair of wicket keeper’s gloves (or perhaps a baseball mitt for our American friends).


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

TWO OBJECTS IN A ROOM Before a paranormal investigation, a ghost hunt, or a séance, the medium in charge of  proceedings will often want to help the guests to “tune in” to their own psychic abilities. The idea is that this will help the participants to get the most out of the evening - they will perhaps see, hear or sense things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Mediums use a variety of techniques to help achieve this “tuning in”. Many like to have  people close their eyes and concentrate co ncentrate on their chakra points, imagining that these points are opening up. The medium will often talk the guests through this process. Another technique is to have the group stand in a circle, hold hands and hum the word “Ommm” - which apparently is the sound of the universe. I know one medium, a self-styled demonologist, who has the group hold hands and do the “Ommm” thing will he shouts out pseudo-latin prayers. “Anno domino in dominic amo super omnia” etc. It’s all nonsense of course, but it does sound impressive and certainly gets the guests in the mood! One of my favourite techniques many of you will recognise as being straight out of the hypnotherapy room. The script goes like this: “As we stand/sit in this room, I want you all to close your eyes for a moment and allow yourself to relax. That’s right, just close your eyes and let your mind relax for a moment or two. Wonderful. Now I want you to imagine that you are sitting on a park bench. You’re sitting on a park bench in a wonderful park, perhaps surrounded by grass, trees, and birds singing. It is a lovely summer’s day and the sun is warm on your face. This is your park, you can fill in all the details. It can be a park that you know or you may prefer to simply make one up in your own mind. It doesn’t matter. Just be aware that this park is unique to you and you can fill in whatever details you want. So do that now. See all the colours around you, notice the noises, the smells, any animals and people. Fill in all those details now. See the pieces slotting together like a jigsaw.  Now I want you to imagine yourself standing up. There is a path that leads away from your bench and winds its way through the park. You are perfectly safe here, no harm can  befall you in this lovely park. I want you to start walking along the path. Start walking along the path that leads away from the bench. You will notice the scenery changing slightly as you walk along the path. You may notice that sometimes you are in the sunshine, other times you are walking in shadow. The details are all yours. Just notice how wonderful your park is as you walk along the path.  Now I want you to notice that at the end of the path is a small building. This building can  be as ornate or as plain as you wish, but just see that small building ahead. I want you to walk along the path and walk towards a door that leads into the building. Walk along the  path and come to a stop outside the door that leads into the small building.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini That’s right, you’re doing brilliantly. Now I want you to reach down, turn the handle, and open the door that leads into the building. The interior of the building is very tranquil, there’s nothing to fear in here, all is well. The lighting inside the building is subdued and very relaxing, but it is still bright enough for you to make out all the detail in the room. So do that now, fill in all the details of that room. Notice the colours, notice how the room is decorated. Fantastic, now I have something to tell you. Before we gathered here tonight I placed two objects within that room. I’m not going to tell you what they are, but I want you to have a look around the room and see if you can find these objects. One was an animal and one object was an everyday household object, something you might find in every home. Have a look around and see what those objects are. Once you have found the objects, I want you to remember them. Once you have found and remembered the objects, I want you to look around the room for one last time, then re-open the door and walk back out into the beautiful sunshine,  back in the park, that wonderful park that you created. Well done, and then slowly open your eyes and join us back here in the room. Fantastic.” Often the medium will ask people what objects they saw in the room, and these will be compared. The medium will tell the group what objects were in his/her mind, and the assembled group will see who picked up the same or similar objects. There’s no trick here; any similarities are seen as evidence of a particular person’s intuitive abilities, but the vast majority of items imagined by the group will not match. However interesting similarities do often pop up amongst the group, perhaps a few people imagined the same items, or people who are related picked up on similar objects. Any commonality is seized upon and, yes you guessed it, milked for all its worth. Of course you could quite easily gimmick this with the use of a swami or similar. Personally I prefer to do this routine “straight” - I do feel that this way your guests will see it as being “real” rather than a trick - but I’m sure many of you will prefer to have the guaranteed “kick” that a swami or similar can provide. A nice compromise would be to run the routine “straight”, see if any people’s objects match, seize on any that do and present them as evidence of intuition at work, but have your swami in your pocket just in case. If there are no matches and the whole thing is in danger of being a bit of a let down, you can whip out an envelope, open it up, and there’s a perfect match with somebody in the audience. Guaranteed evidence! The only advice I would give you is not to choose an animal that is too obvious. A match with someone who thought “dog” or “cat” is not going to impress anyone. Instead, my advice would be to choose either an owl or an elephant. Both are quite common, but don’t sound at though they would be overly common. Household object - try a pair of scissors or a knife, or a TV remote control. If you say “scissors” and someone else thought “knife“, that’s close enough and exclaim how interesting it is that you were


The Haunting of Paul Voodini thinking of scissors or two crossed knives, and your guest saw a single knife. You can  push it a bit and explain how what you really saw was a pair of industrial scissors like one might use for shearing sheep or cutting leather, more like two knives strapped together than the more usual household scissors, isn’t that interesting? Etc. A remote control is good because it will match, obviously, with anyone who thought remote control but can also be made to fit very easily with anyone who thought TV, radio, DVD player etc. How interesting, you might say, that you thought of a TV and I thought of a remote control - let’s see if we continue to work this well together during the night, I do sense some kind of intuitive connection between us, etc. I really enjoy this kind of work, almost making up the routine on the spot as things develop, as you never quite know which way things are going to go. Sometimes the routine almost writes itself, other times you have to work a little harder to make those connections. But if the thought of working this way frightens you a little bit, don’t worry. You can use a swami as a handy safety net, and if you feel the need you can end the routine on a guaranteed high.


The Haunting of Paul Voodini

IN SUMMARY The routines included in this book should be seen as building blocks or foundations upon which to create evenings of wonder for your guests. It is entirely possible to simply use the routines in this book one after the other, but I think they are far more powerful when combined with other routines that may already be in your repertoire. As I stated in the introduction, these routines could be used during an evening of séance theatre, or they could form a small part of a larger mentalism show or bizarre presentation. For example, many of the routines herein could be used as an entertaining way to select a volunteer or an engaging way to make all of your guests feel involved. And of course you don’t have to use all of the routines in this book. Cherry pick the ones you like and see how they could fit into your presentation style or existing routines. They are routines and ideas that I enjoy using on a regular basis. How you incorporate them and expand upon them is entirely down to you and your imagination. Best wishes and good luck as always!

Paul Voodini Sheffield, UK th

6  July 2010


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