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Part documentary, part ghost story

Foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters and fourth-generation Spiritualist

Spiritualism is an American-born religion that believes we can communicate with spirits of the dead. I first became aware of Spiritualism as a teenager, after my cousin received a message from a medium who revealed a startling detail about my grandfather's death that proved to be true. In 2001, I began photographing in the town where my grandfather's message was received: Lily Dale, New York, home to the world's largest Spiritualist community. I soon expanded the project and travelled to 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.
SÉANCE will present hundreds of original photographs, as well as historical imagery that attempts to capture spirits on film. Spiritualism's photographic past contains some of the most bizarre, absurd and uniquely unsettling images in the history of photography. SÉANCE is the next chapter.
With essays by Erik Davis, Constance DeJong and Tony Oursler.
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N.B. If you live in the United States, choosing a pledge level "With Postage to the USA" will ensure lower shipping rates.

Each generation produces a very small number of artists, researchers and seekers who bring great integrity and critical realism to study of the occult and paranormal. Shannon is one of the very few in our time. As a photographer and critically sympathetic researcher, Shannon demonstrates the most rare of traits: ability to think beyond given categories and never, ever to sacrifice intellectual integrity for drama or hasty conclusions. Shannon would be a stellar researcher in any field; but in this one, so fraught with pitfalls and blind alleys, she is a worldwide resource.

Mitch Horowitz, PEN Award-winning author of Occult America 

SHANNON TAGGART is a photographer and independent researcher based in Brooklyn, New York. Her photographs have been exhibited and featured internationally, including within the publications TIME, New York Times Magazine, Discover and Newsweek. Her work has been recognised by Nikon, Magnum Photos and the Inge Morath Foundation, American Photography, the International Photography Awards and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace. From 2014 to 2016, she was Scholar and Artist-in-Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in New York. Shannon lectures internationally on her work.

Table-Tipping Workshop at Rev. Jane’s House, Erie, Pennsylvania, 2014
First Photo Anomaly—Dorothy Pries with a purple orb that she interprets as her deceased husband Bob’s presence, Lily Dale, New York, 2001
Fifth generation Spiritualist medium Gretchen Clark laughs as her deceased brother interrupts a client reading to tell her a joke, Lily Dale, New York, 2001
Inspiration Stump, a sacred spot in Lily Dale where mediums have given messages since 1879, and the place where my grandfather’s message was received, Lily Dale, New York, 2012
Rev. Jean heals Jennifer, the Healing Temple, Lily Dale, New York, 2003
Planchette for automatic writing, Arthur Findlay College, Stansted, England, 2012
Séance trumpets with celebrity spirit guides, hand painted by medium Sylvia Howarth, Reeth, England, 2013
Orb Hunting, Sette Fratelli Mountains, Sardinia, Italy, 2015
Medium Kevin Lawrenson in Trance, Montcabirol Centre for Physical Mediumship, Mirepoix, France, 2014
Smoke scrying experiment with medium Susan Barnes, Arthur Findlay College, Stansted, England, 2016
Medium Kai Muegge with ectoplasm, Cassadaga, NY, 2013

SÉANCE @ San José Foto, Uruguay!

Monday, 16 April 2018

Update 0001

Hello SÉANCE Supporters,

I wanted to share some installation photos of a recent exhibition of SÉANCE, shown at San José Foto in Uruguay at the invitation of curator Nicolas Janowski. All photos are by me except for my favorite one — #4 by Patricio Pidal — showing school children recreating the table image. The photographs were hung on and around the Cathedral of San José de Mayo on April 6, with…

Spring Update + London Event: April 27th, 2018

Tuesday, 3 April 2018


Hello SÉANCE Supporters,

Happy spring!  SÉANCE  is getting very close to being 50% funded!  Thank you so much for your support and patience.  I've received a few questions concerning the funding process and schedule for the book. I am hoping to pick up some momentum now and reach 100% funding as soon as possible. I will continue to send updates, but am also happy to take questions here on…

SÉANCE New Year Update

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Dear SÉANCE Supporters,

A belated Happy New Year to you all!  I am excited to share a few updates concerning SÉANCE.

In January, I traveled to Basel, Switzerland in order to photograph the controversial German medium Kai Muegge.  Kai has been conducting Victorian-style materialization séances, something that has not occurred in Spiritualism for over 30 years. His activities have been heavily…

Dan Aykroyd, Tony Oursler and Constance DeJong in SÉANCE!

Sunday, 29 October 2017


Dear SÉANCE Supporters,

Dan Aykroyd – creator of Ghostbusters – will be contributing the foreword to SÉANCE! As a fourth-generation Spiritualist and the person responsible for introducing the term ‘ectoplasm’ into popular culture, Dan has a truly unique perspective on the topic of Spiritualism. It’s such an honor to have his contribution.

And, there's more exciting news. Artists Tony Oursler…

SÉANCE Book Sample + Recent Press

Friday, 31 March 2017

Hello SÉANCE Supporters,

I'm happy to share a book update today on the anniversary of Spiritualism's very first séance, conducted by the Fox sisters in Hydesville, New York on March 31,1848.

Here's a sneak peek at some sample layouts from the book:

And, some recent interviews have appeared in Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, Feature Shoot and on The Big Séance

Thank you for being patrons…

Boris Balkan
Boris Balkan asked:

Regarding the Gravestone Rubbing edition: You should check on the state and local laws about gravestone rubbing. In many areas gravestone and monument rubbing is illegal. Even where it is legal it is still considered controversial, as it can lead to the deterioration of the marker over time. You may want to consider if this is something you want to promote.

Shannon Taggart
Shannon Taggart replied:

Hi Boris, Many thanks for your comments. I have been given full permission to do these grave stone rubbings. They will be executed with the greatest amount of care. Thanks again, Shannon

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