Home Circle

A home circle, also known as a home sitting, a home circle is a Séance held in a home, with or without the services of a professional Medium, for the purpose of achieving spirit communication.

Following the revelations of the Fox Sisters in 1848, people on both sides of the Atlantic began organizing sittings with their friends to see if any of those seated in the circle could reach the Other Side. The Spiritualist, a weekly magazine published in the 1870s in England, carried instructions for home circles each week, advising readers how to form spirit circles in their own homes, with no Spiritualist or professional medium present. At least one person possessing mediumistic talent could be found in any household. Powerful mediums were described as persons of impulsive, genial affectionate nature. Any individuals not getting along should not be seated in the same circle.

Usually the participants gathered around a table, either holding hands or placing all hands flat on the tabletop, but sisters could merely arrange their chairs in a circle. TRUMPET medium James M. Laughton recommended holding the circle in the same room each time, so that the spirits became comfortable with the surroundings and routine. (A trumpet medium enabled spirits to speak through trumpets.)

Clifford L. Bias, a voice and trumpet medium, felt that the circle should be composed of equal numbers of both sexes, arranged alternately in the circle. He started his circles at the same time each night, using the twilight for the first half and the darkened room for the latter. Further instructions in The Spiritualist recommended keeping the room comfortably cool.

Like religious ceremonies, meetings most likely began with hymn-singing and the recitation of prayers. Another trumpet medium, Mable A. Riffle, always commenced the sitting with the Lord’s Prayer and a hymn, believing such actions kept her desires on a spiritual plane. Although anyone could organize a circle, few did unless they had heard of Spiritualist phenomena. Home circles were at their most popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but are still used today.

See also :

  • Browning Circle

Further Reading:

  • Brandon, Ruth. The Spiritualists. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983.
  • Chaney, Rev. Robert G. Mediums and the Development of Mediumship. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1972.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007

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