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Ghost host: Mentalist leads a spooky seance for 13

Mind games: Mentalist Jason Suran will lead 13 guests through a Victorian séance in Williamsburg, each night from Friday the 13th until Halloween.
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Starting this Friday the 13th, a local magician will lead 13 strangers across the veil each night during a series of spooky seances leading up to Halloween. Those who suffer from triskaidekaphobia might want to avoid “The Other Side,” but those willing to face their fears — and shell out $13 times 10 — will find the Williamsburg event to be an intimate and powerful ritual unlike anything since the Victorian era, said its creator.

“It’s a chance to do something scary this Halloween that you can’t do anywhere else,” said magician and mentalist Jason Suran. “It’s fun and thrilling facing your fears in controlled environment, and it’s a wonderful experience — everyone walks out having a great time.”

The “microtheater” show will take its 13 guests on a quest to explore a 19th-century–style spirit-call.

“We will be attempting to recreate a Victorian seance and all the illusions and aesthetics used at that time,” said Suran.

Unlike the serious, spiritual ceromonies of previous eras, Victorian seances were focused on spectacle, said the expert on mind-reading.

“There’s a few different types of seances — there are religious ones, when they’re actively trying to speak with the dead, and then there are those that are more in a theatrical vein, and that’s what we’ll be doing,” he said. “We are trying to play with imaginations and psychology as opposed to getting religious.”

Each night will begin with a formal cocktail party, giving the guests an opportunity to interact and get to know each other — a bond that will help make for a more successful ceremony, said Suran.

Guests will then join Suran at a table to learn a bit about the history of the seance — and then the ritual will begin, with participants holding hands and trying to contact the spirit world. Attendees will be witness to a variety of spooky and otherworldly activity.

“Everyone will be looking at each other and watching really inextricable things happen at table,” said Suran — things that might include possession, moving objects, and visits from the chatty dead.

Depending on how it goes, the ordeal can be deliciously exciting, or disturbingly creepy, he said.

“It’s really a fine line because if it’s done wrong without proper caution, it can be a manipulative thing because you’re playing with people’s deepest vulnerabil­ities,” said Suran. “Whether you question if it’s real or not, it’s an opportunity to face your fears.”

“The Other Side” in a private location (near N. Seventh Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg, location revealed with ticket, www.facetheotherside.com). Oct. 13–31 at 7:30 pm. $130.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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