Séance: Spiritualism, Photography and the Search for Ectoplasm

Shannon Taggart first learned of Spiritualism as a teenager after a medium revealed details about her grandfather’s death that proved to be true. In 2001, she began photographing in the town where that message was received: Lily Dale, New York, USA. Her project soon expanded to include séance rooms around the world in a quest to find and photograph ectoplasm – the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material. In this illustrated presentation, Shannon will share stories and pictures from twenty years of photographing mediumship, explaining how two decades of investigation developed into the book Séance. Spiritualism’s influence on art, technology, and politics, its relationship with celebrity spirits, and the religion’s intrinsic bond with photography will be part of the discussion.


Shannon Taggart is an artist and author based in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Her photographs have appeared in printed publications, including TIME, Newsweek, New York Times Magazine, Discover, Wall Street Journal, and Reader’s Digest. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles, the Photographic Resource Center in Boston, the Robert Mann Gallery in New York, and the Gallery of Everything in London. Her first monograph, Séance (Fulgur Press 2019, Atelier Éditions 2022), was named one of TIME Magazine’s ‘Best Photobooks of 2019.’ She is currently working on an illustrated book about The Society for Research on Rapport and Telekinesis (SORRAT), one of the strangest cases in the history of psychical research.

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Shannon Taggart’s Supernatural Mystery Symposium

Selections from the annual event on supernatural mystery and strange cultural history, curated by Shannon Taggart and hosted in Lily Dale, NY, USA—the town home to the world’s largest Spiritualist community.

What Is the Future of the Grave? by Allison Meier – 3 Mar

Dr. Raymond Buckland’s ‘Wide World of Spirit – Steven Intermill and Toni Rotonda – 24 Mar

Spiritual Spectacles: Mother’s Work and the Shaker Era of Manifestations – Maria Molteni – 11 Apr

Ted Serios: The Mind’s Eye, with Emily Hauver – 25 Apr

Séance: Spiritualism, Photography and the Search for Ectoplasm – Shannon Taggart – 2 May

Music from Elsewhere – Doug Skinner – 9 May

Publishing the Paranormal – Charles and Penelope Emmons – 16 May

Supernatural Mystery Symposium: Reclaiming Art – JF Martel – 23 May

The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle – Michael W Homer – 20 Jun

Fall 2024 8:00 pm - 09:30 pm - rescheduled date to be confirmed

£6 - £10 & By Donation

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