Visit the Library in the AFTERLIFE

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

THEMUSEUM explores death and what comes next in the exhibit AFTERLIFE | A séance experience featuring The Ghost of Thomas Lacey.

reel boxes with writing on the back

Some of the boxes containing audio reels of séances, with notes describing what took place.

In the forthcoming podcast The Ghost of Thomas Lacey, Erin MacIndoe Sproule and Rebecca Swabey delve into some audio reels of séances conducted in the 1960s. The catalyst for the exhibit, the documentary explores what the tapes can teach us about contact with the spirit world.

The 154 audio reels, which were donated to the Library in 2015 and can be found in the spiritualism and theosophy collections of University of Waterloo Library's Special Collections & Archives, record the events that occurred in the Spooker Room of local insurance company owner Otto Smith's Kitchener home.

The séances happened on a weekly basis at the Frederick Street home for over 30 years, the last six of which were recorded. Spirits that came through during the séances included Thomas Edison, Willian Lyon MacKenzie King, and Marie Currie.

The exhibit features a replica of the sitting room in the Frederick Street home, and an interactive séance experience featuring clips from the original audio reels.

living room

In THEMUSEUM's reproduction of the Spooker Room, you can view art by My Pet Skeleton, talk on the phone to Thomas Edison and learn more about the organ music that accompanied the séances.

On display are other related items on loan from Special Collections & Archives, including photographs and audio reel boxes, and a spirit trumpet, loaned by the First Spiritualist Church of Galt, used to amplify the voices of visiting spirits. AFTERLIFE also features the work of a number of Canadian artists exploring the theme of death, and loans from a local funeral home, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Cabinet of Curiosities.

items on loan

A selection of items on loan to THEMUSEUM from Special Collections & Archives spiritualism and theosophy collections.

photograph of ectoplasm

Ectoplasm visible during a séance. From the Maines Pinock Family Fonds, Special Collections & Archives, University of Waterloo Library.

paper art

Portrayal of a séance in an interactive art installation by Montreal duo Mere Phantoms.

Keep an eye on our event listings for more AFTERLIFE-related events throughout the exhibit, which runs from September 2019 until January 2020.

 a seance experience

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