“The people at the Holistic Studies Institute were incredibly friendly and a lot of fun.  
They hold weekly séances (Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm) and I have
every intention of visiting them for one of those sooner rather than later.” – Rebecca “
Moveable Feast: HSI” 10/02/06

Well sooner just happened.  On Friday January 19, 2007 I headed back to the Holistic
Studies Institute in Albany, NY to attend one of their séances.  My husband Jim, who has
gone with me on every Magical Buffet field trip, was unable to go with me on this one.  
As a testament to how cool Jim is, it took 3 members of the Northern NY Paranormal
Research Society and one of their friends to compensate for his absence!   That’s right,
I brought together two great groups that go great together, the Holistic Studies Institute
and the Northern NY Paranormal Research Society.  If you know the NNYPRS, you know
they never turn down a chance to check out any paranormal experience!

Just like my first visit to HSI, things were not as anticipated in a very good way.  It looked
like the renovations on their offices were either complete or very close to it.  The space
is a wonderful mix of metaphysically homey and professionally officey, is it any wonder
why I like these guys?  Things there were bustling as people were leaving from the
healing circle that just got done and people were showing up for the evening’s séance.  
In that bustle, Dave (NNYPRS Albany Team Leader), Dan (Team Member), Misty (Team
Member), her friend, and myself made our way into the sacred space set up at the back
of their offices.

The lights were dimmed and relaxing music was being played.  A large group of people
started coming in and grabbing chairs that lined the walls of the room.  In the center of
the room was a small table with two Spirit Trumpets sitting on it, and later a chair was
positioned near it so spirits could take a seat there if they chose to.  The room is
wonderfully multi-functional.  That evening it was being used for a séance, but other
times it serves as a church, and others a classroom.

Charlene Robbins was leading the séance.  The first thing she did was split up our
motley group, which might seem a bit odd, but it was done for a reason.  Since we all
knew each other we could be sharing the same energies, which could confuse the
mediums from being able to determine exactly who certain messages were intended.  So
after we all split up, the séance began.

Charlene first gave us all a little information about HSI and their séances.  Someone
came around to collect donations.  We were all told to put ourselves in an open position,
which meant arms down and feet on the floor, a difficult task for a leg crosser like
myself!  Then all of the lights were turned off and the music was turned up.

We started out with what I will describe as a group guided meditation.  Charlene guided
all of us to an open and relaxed state.  I have to confess, I am notoriously bad at
relaxation and meditation, so I was not as relaxed as I probably should have been at the
end of the opening.  After that, Charlene began getting in contact with spirits.

For obvious reasons, I agreed not to write about messages relayed to people at the
séance.  These can be of a personal nature, and although I’m not naming everyone
there, most people would probably not like me airing their spiritual laundry in a public
forum.  Here is what I will share with you.

Charlene was the lead medium, but HSI helps people get in touch with their psychic
abilities and there were other HSI people there that also acted as mediums.  They were
encouraged to share impressions they were getting with others.  In fact, if anyone felt
they were seeing or experiencing anything of note they were encouraged to share with
the group.  It made for a séance, but also an educational experience for those
interested in exploring their possible inclinations towards mediumship.

I wish I could say that I saw some mind blowing physical manifestations, but alas none
were to be had.  That’s okay though, the Holistic Studies Institute does not endorse the
use of any of the tricks that gave Spiritualists of the past a bad name.  This means that
sometimes there are no big surprises, but what it also means is that if something
happens….something actually happens.  Also, not being that psychically aware, there
could have been spirits forming a cheerleading pyramid in the middle of the room and
more than likely I would have been oblivious!

The séance lasted about an hour and a half, and was worth the time for the relaxation
practices alone!  Just like the last time, the folks at the Albany, NY Holistic Studies
Institute were friendly, kind, and just gosh darned likeable!  

Just like I mentioned the last time I wrote about HSI, they hold weekly séances (Fridays
at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 6:00 pm), except on the weekends they hold their psychic
fairs.  To learn more about the whens and wheres I encourage you to visit:
A Movable Feast: HSI Seance
The Magical Buffet
Rebecca's first person view of the
seance in progress. (Artist's rendering)