When I arrive at the space today it’s like being in the woods when a new season is starting. At first you don’t notice the small changes but as you keep looking you realise things are not quite the same as before…
Chairs have travelled across the space and made new formations. Scattered cushions cover a large rug and wait patiently for bottoms. The once golden temple-for-one has been turned inside out and become white in the process.
People are milling around clutching items to be read by the Spirit Medium.
Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. The program for this evening begins with Medium Eva Slootemakar who will create a connection to the spirit world using objects that belonged to deceased and living people. The items are placed on a table aglow with candles. Eva rubs her hands together, chooses an object and closes her eyes. What happens next is unclear. Having never spoken with the spirit world myself, I’m not sure exactly how such an exchange works but it goes something like this:
The Medium makes a connection to the world of spirits by holding an object belonging to someone in the audience. She then begins talking in a kind of stream of consciousness. Someone else’s that is. She picks up feelings or images that relate to the spirit world (I’m getting a car accident, a lady with grey hair in rollers, chest pains, an uncle…), or that relate to the person who owns the object (I’m getting indecision, you’re not very happy, you’re going through a transition…).
Eva can act as a kind of spirit world messaging service (your grandma wants you to know such-and-such, your friend wants to tell you this-or-that). She can become a personal motivation coach (you need to be proactive, you need to give yourself what you deserve, you need to take care of your health) and fortune teller-counsellor (your money worries will take a while to sort out, you’ll find a job you love in a year, your next big relationship is around the corner-be open to it).
Sometimes a connection to the spirit world can get a crossed-line and other spirits interrupt to give a message to the Medium. It’s like a conference call with the supernatural. Apparently, when you get a connection to the other side, everyone there wants get on the line for a chat and they are not willing to wait their turn.
Earlier in the week there had been some talk amongst staff and Mediummatic program coordinators Melanie Bonajo and Kinga Kielczynska about the controversial nature of the night. People might be too sceptical. People could get upset. People might not come…
But people do come and arrive with open minds. There are no cocked eye brows or crossed arms. There are no tears before bedtime. There are so many people that the Eva generously stays longer than the allotted time and so does everyone else.
Audience member Habbo Beem had never been to a Medium before and doesn’t consider himself ‘that kind of guy’ but thought he’d come along to see what happens. Afterwards, Habbo said of the experience, ‘It’s pretty amazing. You can be sceptical at first but then there a lot of things [Eva said] you can’t explain.’
Volunteer Sare Bakkers, who also had an object ‘channeled’ by the Medium agreed. ‘My feeling before was doubtful but you know, she was quite right about things so I’m surprised,’ said Sare.
Not everyone was as convinced. Another Mediummatic visitor, Katja Mater, told me she didn’t really believe in the power of Mediums and so when it was her turn she felt her guard go up. ‘But in a way I wish I was like that guy who was so into it. Just be able to turn off [my sceptisism]’, she explained.
Conversations about the event went long into the night and most people stayed for the slide show presentation and talk given by Kinga on the Catacombs of the Capuchins in Sicily. The catacombs contain thousands of corpses from the late 16th century to early 20th century displayed in coffins and on the walls like paintings. Preserved upon request by the Capuchin monks, some of the corpses appear to gossiping to their neighbour, or as Kinga described, ‘open mouthed and caught in an eternal scream.’
As it crept closer to midnight I felt the need to leave the site where so much other-worldly activity had taken place and wondered how soundly the guests of Sleep Inn would slumber that night…
In this world or the next, I wish you sweet dreams, sleep tight.