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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope

Sold out seance reenactment sparks religious protest

Community members gather around the Frank dinner table before the seance. Photo by Kosuke Yoshii / Antelope Staff

The G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture hosted a staged 1980s-style séance. Both nights of the event sold out of tickets in advance.

Andrew White, a Kearney community member, talked about the value of bringing history alive and connecting with members of the past to understand their values and practices.

“This is something that will bring enrichment to history and make it more active in a way where we can actually partake in it instead of just reading it in a book,” White said. “This is a recreation, and this house was built in 1889 during the Victorian era. Séances were amazingly prevalent during this time. They were a way of life and thousands of people were doing them.” 

A séance is a gathering where individuals, typically in the presence of a medium, attempt to communicate with the spirits of the deceased. Participants usually sit around a table, hold hands and engage in various rituals and incantations in hopes of making contact with the otherworldly. 

The museum’s director said séances similar to the historically accurate one at the event were popular in the 1890s.

“A huge explosion of immigration and urbanization took place at the turn of the century,” said April White, director of the G. W. Frank Museum. “The increase of population led to a rampant increase of disease and death, leading to a fascination from individuals to contact their departed ones in an attempt to understand their grief.”

Protesters were found outside the property on both nights that the event took place. 

“We are praying against the séance,” said Jim Douvas, a retiree who was holding a Crucifix and spraying Holy Water outside the premises before the event took place. “It was unnecessary to have one on public ground and we do not want to invite the devil into our city, into our Frank House and especially not around the Frank House dinner table.”

The museum hosted the event for a historical recreation. Several individuals, organizations and churches did not agree with the event taking place. 

“It is absolutely their right to disagree, and that’s fine,” Andrew White said. “Protests are what make this country great.”

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