Every once in awhile, you get something in your inbox that is a little different. When I saw an invite to a Victorian-Style Séance, I couldn’t refuse. Maybe it is an interest in the unknown, a life-long love of horror flicks or maybe, the skeptic in me wanted to be able to come out and say that it was a fake. I went to The Beverley Street Séance and it turned out to be one of the most unique experiences that I’ve had this year. I don’t want to go into too much detail; that would spoil your fun. It was thrilling and chilling, all at the same time. The one thing that I took away from this experience is never say never.
Jaymes White was our host for the evening and he did not disappoint. Equal parts realist and believer with a touch of expertise on human behaviour, he struck the right balance of calm and gravitas needed for something that could go from kitschy to scary really fast. We had a chance to speak with Jaymes and get his take on everything from mind-reading to the art of hosting a séance in the heart of the 6ix.
You have been known as a mind-reader, illusionist and mind-controller. What is the difference between the three arts?
I find all 3 to be quite similar. I think most people do not know what any of them mean. I honestly have always had trouble explaining what I do. I am, essentially, an expert of human behaviour but I do not really say that as a title because it sounds weird. I use psychological principles in order to read someone. I have been doing it for 25 years now; I started when I was six years old. These are skills anyone can obtain if they put the time in it.
You had mentioned before in interviews that part of your talent comes from your ability to observe people. What are some things that are easy for you to read very quickly?
A lot of the times I can guess someone’s profession just from how they act or appear. You are just looking for patterns on people. For example, if you noticed they had callouses on their fingers, they probably play a stringed instrument. A way to tell if someone is right or left handed is to look for the watch. A watch is mainly worn on your non-dominant hand. If the breast pocket is open, mostly it’s the opposite of the non dominant hand. Other things to look for include belts. If it’s buckled toward the right they are right handed and if it’s towards left they are left handed. Also, because you use your more dominant hand most of the time, the shoulder of your dominant hand is just a bit lower when you’re standing up.
What triggered your interest in the paranormal? Have you ever had a paranormal experience?
I have always been fascinated with the paranormal. There are some things in life that science cannot explain. I think the reason why my séances do well and sell so fast, is because I go into it with an open mind and let you decide. I do not lean on the skeptical side and also do not lean towards the believer side. I let you experience it for yourself and try not to be biased. Honestly, in my séances, my audiences have had a lot of weird experiences. I get hundreds of emails from people who have attended who believe they have had a paranormal experience. The great thing about séances and life, is that you can come up with your own view and conclusions. Two people can see the same thing, yet have different interpretations of it.
How do you pick a location for the séance?
A great person on my team, Marivi, scouts all the locations and helps me decide. She sends me all the info and then contacts the locations. We found the George Brown Mansion through a few fans from the last séance. They kept recommending the George Brown Mansion, so after doing our research we realized this mansion was our number 1 choice for séances in Toronto. We were lucky to get this location. The Ontario Heritage Trust basically allowed us to do the séance here and honestly they are amazing, one of the best groups of people I have worked with. They are so passionate in maintaining the history of a location.
How would you describe The Beverley Street Séance to the average person?
We are doing an authentic Victorian séance at the famously haunted George Brown Mansion. We are using techniques that have been around for hundreds of years to try to summon the spirits within the house. Each séance is different, there is no jump scares or anything like that. It is extremely psychological and kind of feels like being in a horror movie. There is nothing like this experience in Canada and we change locations every year to find the next haunted place. I think there is a reason why every séance has been sold out since I started. You won’t have this experience anywhere else.
What makes this different from your other séance events?
Every séance I do is different. Each location has a different history and different feel. Also what is important is the audience. Every night is different because it really does matter what YOU bring into the séance. The George Brown Mansion brings this kind of majestic feel, the history is insane, you can tell this place it haunted. We have heard so many stories and have had so many people experience weird things in this house – it is the perfect location.
Is it true that people with heart conditions shouldn’t go?
I have had people faint, cry and have to leave early. I am not kidding when I say at least one person a session is crying. I get so many messages from people saying that they had to sleep with their TV on or lights on or that after the séance they felt weird and it took them around a week or so until they felt normal again. I would say if you have a heart condition just take your time and try not to panic. I will get you through it, but luckily its all psychological.
Why do you think people enjoy the fear and the anticipation of the unknown in going to one of your events so much?
I truly think people want to believe and want there to be something in the afterlife. I am lucky that people get to connect at my séances and hopefully have a great, unique night. Some of the experiences I have had with some of the groups are things we will never forget. I also think people want something unique to do around Halloween and I know the séance provides that.
Is there anything that frightens you?
I have always been scared of not following my dreams and giving up or settling. That is my biggest fear. I have always wanted to do what I want and follow my heart and I am lucky enough to say I have. Even when times and things are tough, I always keep fighting and I believe that my work ethic is why I am where I am. There is no substitution for hard work. I really do think you can accomplish anything.
You mentioned in the past that the séances take a toll on your body, yet you keep doing them. Can we expect another one next year?
I get messages daily from people asking me where the next séance will be. As long as there is a following I will try my best to continue. I always tell people to email us locations that they think are haunted for future location. These séances do take a huge toll on my mind and body so I try to train very hard so I am ready for them, but sometimes it can take me a month to recover after doing so many. As long as people continue to message me and attend I will continue and try my best to deliver.
The Beverley Street Séance runs until November 30. For tickets and information, visit Jaymes White’s website.