If you were given the opportunity to attend a séance, would you go? It came up for me and honestly, I froze. I’ve always been fascinated with paranormal activity but a séance was always something that I steered well away from. I’m just not keen on waking any spirits. But I am amazed at the power of the mind. And quite frankly, it will probably take another kind of spirit to get me through what I’m about to experience when mentalist Jaymes White returns to Toronto with his hauntingly popular séances. This time, it’s called The Beverley Street Séance.
Jaymes’ interest in the unexplained has led him to conduct extensive research into accounts of paranormal activities, and his skills as a mentalist means he can create an atmosphere of fear, excitement, and curiosity. Jaymes has been running the biggest and most successful séances to completely sold-out audiences across Canada for 3 years, this year being his 4th at the largest and most storied location of George Brown House in downtown Toronto. The initial meeting spot for this experience? A former funeral home.
Scared? HELL Yeah!
So many questions were running through my mind when I first heard of Jaymes so when the opportunity to interview him came up, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
Why am I so curious but afraid to talk to you?
JW: I get that a lot. I feel a lot of people are intimidated by me but find me so fascinating at the same time. I guess there is something somewhat scary about being able to read someone’s mind. To read somebody I use science, psychology, my intense study of human nature, and my own intuition. Some of my closest friends have told me that at the beginning of our friendship, they kept questioning whether I was reading them or not. I definitely was reading them at the very beginning but honestly, once I get to know you, my ability to read you actually drops. It does not help my cause that I also teach a lot of detectives, police and people in sensitive areas interrogation techniques, how to tell if someone is lying and how to read someone. I also noticed that my séances have a particularly heavy psychological effect on people, which is really interesting to observe.
How do you shut off… or can you?
JW: When I am not training/performing I do try to shut it off, but my brain is naturally analytical and always analysing people so I try to avoid people when I need to clear my mind, LOL. If I distract my mind with something like learning a new skill, it allows me to focus on that and not over analyse everything. I also find that playing guitar has kind of been my therapy for this.
How far is too far?
JW: I think everyone has their own boundaries and their own limits. I think morally you know when it is too far. The answer for me depends on the person because everyone is different. I think you should always find ways to be grounded and enjoy life because I find a lot of people just focus on money and miss the opportunities to really enjoy life.
What freaks you out?
JW: My biggest fear growing up was to just settle. I never wanted to settle. I was definitely a weird kid that didn’t really fit in so I spent a lot of my younger years observing people. I wanted to always be able to follow my dreams and do things on my own terms (I am not the best with authority lol). I got pretty lucky where I can say I am a professional mindreader. It is such a weird but unique job. It is funny because when people ask me “what do you do for a living” I sometimes respond with “I do séances”, and it is like they do not believe me at all but then they look me up and go “wow”. So my goal in life is to never settle and to keep pushing forward and following my dreams; doing anything less, freaks me out.
Is there different energy with the smaller and more intimate group vs a larger scale audience?
JW: What is funny is my main audience is around 500 people; I grew up performing the big stage shows. However, when I created my séance, I decided that I wanted a more intimate group to explore the paranormal with. So we have a maximum of 18 people per séance experience to ensure that everyone gets as much attention as possible. I found that it is a different kind of energy – working with smaller groups. Like the big experiences in the theatres it is just like everyone becoming as one; participating in unison. For the séance/small scale audience it is almost like we are telling their story and I get to meet and learn about everyone; I think that is what makes it special. It feels like we are accomplishing a goal (a good and scary one) together. And I suspect that people remember it for a long time because some of the stuff that has happened at my séances is so unbelievable. The séance is different each night because it depends on the audience and which way they want to go.
Would you consider mindreading a gift or a skill set?
JW: I have gotten told almost daily that I have this gift and I am lucky that I have it. Honestly, I believe anyone can master it. It is more of a skill set; it just takes a lot of time to master. It is definitely a passion of mine. I started doing this when I was 6 years old and have probably been doing it around 8 hours a day for over 25 years now. So I do tell people yes you can have this “gift” if you like, but you would need to dedicate your whole life to it.
Do you play any brain games apps or others? If so, what?
JW: I see a lot of apps and random bracelet things saying they will improve your brain power or memory but I find most of it is honestly just the placebo effect. For the record the placebo effect really does work but that’s not what I rely on, and I don’t use apps to keep my mind fresh. I actually can give someone a better than photographic memory in around 3 months with 10 minutes a day of work. Most people believe you are born with a good memory but that is a lie – you can actually get a trained memory pretty easily and I teach about this at different universities. The cool thing about the memory technique is it helps prevent a lot of brain diseases since your brain is like a muscle so it keeps it active.
How do you mentally prepare yourself before a séance?
JW: I am actually very skeptical about the paranormal but I want to keep an open mind. So before my séances, I try to meditate on being open-minded. I cannot think about it too much because there are so many different things that can happen in a séance. I kind of guide the audience but let them decide what to do and what to investigate. I have this whole weird almost like ritual thing I do before every séance and have been doing it for 4 years since the séances started. I have to stick diligently to that routine because it is a way of grounding me mentally before any séance experience.
What is one thing you wish people knew about you?
JW: I have an obsession with wolves and cats and spend most of my time with them. Also, I once got kissed by a HYENA. Truly, that was the highlight of my life!
Jaymes White’s “Beverley Street Séance” runs September 13 to November 30, 2019 in Toronto. Tickets start at $66.66, of course. For more information and to reserve your spot, visit www.jaymeswhite.com