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The word seance comes from the French se`ance, 'seat on'.  In French as in English the word came to be used specifically for a meeting of people to receive spiritualistic messages.
The history of seance communication can be traced back to the third century.  Often a seance was connected to occult practices bringing fear to those who attended or heard about them.  To many people, spirits communicating with use seemed impossible and was perceived as black magic and to be feared.
It was during the 1800's that the seance became popular mainly due to the Fox sisters who began a spiritualist movement.  This movement was a mode of communicating in which spirits lift and tilt a table during a seance to produce rapping sounds.  In organized seances a number of people would sit around a table, hold hands, concentrate and ask questions of the spirits.  The spirits would then answer their questions through a series of raps or knocks, similar to someone knocking on a door.  In order to question the spirits, a number of knocks would be designated to signify yeas or no.  In another method, called alphabet typology, letters of the alphabet were recited and when a letter that the spirit wanted to draw attention to was called, a rap could be heard, thus spelling out words.  Using this method lengthy, detailed conversations could be held.
The first recorded spirit rapping began in America in 1848 with the playful efforts of Margaretta and Kate Fox to communicate with the spirits of the dead.  Much to their astonishment they succeeded in establishing a ghostly dialog with the spirit of Charles Haynes.  Using rapping noises as a means of communication, Hayne's spirit conveyed the message that he had been killed and buried in the basement of their home.  When bones where discoverd in their basement, what had begun as innocent fun became a sensation.
As the spiritualism movement got underway in America and Europe, the well documented manifestations of spirit communication such as spirit rapping and seance channeling were regarded as weird and unexplained events.  The great majority of Americans viewed it as nothing more than a bizarre form of entertainment.  For those who took the spirit communication serious, it quickly became apparent that something more was happening.
The seances in the 19th century tended to be filled with theatrics.  These seances usually took place in darkened parlors with a round table that sometimes moved.
We live in an age when many people are wanting to connect with those on the other side.  This can be accomplished through the use of amedium or on their own through dream time.  Seances do not have to be negative, scary or spooky.
You really don't have to do spooky stuff to communicate with spirits.  They are around us all the time and are generally ready to communicate if someone is able to tap into their frequency.  A group of people mentally calling to spirits will create a stronger energy field than one person. 

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