Mediums and Ouija Boards and Twain… Oh My!

You may notice a new theme here: The Mark Twain House. I swear it has nothing to do with our complete and total bias. It’s just a great place for cool, reasonably priced events in Hartford. Back when I lived an hour away I was constantly finding myself disappointed that I couldn’t attend the many cool events that happen in the middle of the week. Most recently, I went to “The Art of Mediumship” because I love all things spooky in October.

In the lobby there was what appeared to be a former hardcore kid named Calvin von Crush with a collection of ouija boards. From what I gather they were ouija boards of “historic significance” — whatever that means. I didn’t really stop to look because I wanted to get a good seat. 

Elaine Kuzmeskus was the medium of the day, and she explained to us what she does (sort of). There we pictures of “orbs” — which always just look like bad photography to me — and stories of guides and references to the Spiritualist Church. Eventually a girl in the front row picked seven tickets out of a bowl, and seven audience members got quick readings. That was all a little lack luster. Hit and miss. There was one moment I found kind of interesting though.

As they were picking tickets out of the hat and reading the numbers, the audience members lined up along the side of the auditorium. Kuzmeskus was saying something about how they would all confirm that they’d never met before. Then she stopped herself and said, “And if we have met before I’ll still read for you, but you just have to tell everyone we’ve met.” The last woman in line got up on the stage a few minutes later, and Kuzmeskus said, “We’ve never met before, correct?”

The woman said, “Actually I grew up in the Spiritualist Church, and I’ve been to your events before.”

“They told me I would know someone here,” Kuzmeskus said. To me this seemed like the most genuine moment. There was no pressure to be right, and communicated messages from “beyond.” Just a small moment of honesty, and possibly some clairvoyance.

After the readings, things got a bit uncomfortable. The question and answer portion started, and someone asked how Kuzmeskus feels about ouija boards. She said something about having to be careful of them, and then asked if the other presenter (the ouija board guy from the lobby) was around. He was.

“You must have some interesting stories!” she said.

“Not really,” he answered, rushing to the podium to grab the microphone. “Actually I’m a devout skeptic.” He then took the opportunity to ramble on about how he thought the best part of coming out that night was that we were supporting a historic landmark, and then there was something about “hope” and then he may as well have called Kuzmeskus a charlatan. Also he admitted to having the skull of a murdered prostitute in his house — which someone should probably tell the police about. All of this was pretty funny, though basically pretty rude.

Honestly I like to think of them duking it out behind the scenes. Him calling her a fraud. Her delivering a message from his dead grandmother, or whatever. But I didn’t pay $15 to listen to some dude — who looks like he used to bang around in the mosh pit with my high school friends — challenge the psychic I wanted to help get me in the Halloween spirit. And I’m the damn sure the true believers didn’t want to hear it. I like psychics — it’s kind of fun — but I also kind of think they’re scam artists. Any time they are charging for their services, I assume it’s bunk but if one approached me in a coffee shop and said, “Your grandfather says ‘Hi’ I’d probably weep. Mark Twain himself had a seance or two in the house, but also made fun of Spiritualists.

Anyway, there are plenty of fun spooktastic events going on at the Twain House this month. From  Poe to Dracula, there’s something for everyone — including the on-going ghost tours.