Welcome to

Austin, Texas


Texas Spirit Gathering

February 2-3, 2024

Welcome to the Texas Spirit Gathering 2024

The Texas Spirit Gathering brings together leading experts on the occult and Spiritualist history. Lecture topics include 19th century spiritualist practice, talking boards, exorcisms and more. The Texas Spirit Gathering also includes a variety of workshops, plus a magic lantern presentation of historic spirit photographs. The Texas Spirit Gathering will be held at the historic First Spiritualist Church of Austin. Space is limited.

February 2 & 3, 2024

Presenters & Facilitators

Joseph Laycock, Ph.D.

Brandon Hodge

Joshua Paddison, Ph.D.

Spiritualism & the Civil War

Two Cases that Inspired the Exorcist

Talking Board History

Magic Lantern Presentation

Wanda Garcia

Jake Cordero

Albert Lucio

Spiritualist Church



Brittany Shelbon & Megan Keith

Weird ATX

Eric Labrado & Alexis Arredondo

City Alchemist


**Friday, February 2

6:00 p.m.

Early Check in & Reception

6:45 p.m.

Live Interview with Church President Wanda Garcia

7:30 p.m.

Talking Board Workshop & Spirit Communication

**Saturday, February 3

10:00 a.m.

Check in & Gathering Invocation

Spiritualism and the Civil War, with Dr. Joshua Paddison

10:30 a.m.

11:45 a.m.

Mini Talk — Austin’s City Alchemist: More Learning Opportunities

12:00 Noon

Lunch Break*

Psychometry (Object Divination) Workshop

1:45 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Two Cases that Inspired the Exorcist, with Dr. Joseph Laycock

4:45 p.m.

Mini Talk — Weird ATX: New Perspectives on the Paranormal

5:30 p.m.

Dinner Break*

7:00 p.m.

Talking Board History with Brandon Hodge

Magic Lantern Exhibition with Historic Spirit Photographs

8:00 p.m.

8:30 p.m.

Séance Workshop with The Austin Séance

End of Gathering

10:00 p.m.

*Meals will not be provided by the event. Attendees may bring a meal or visit a local restaurant.

** Schedule is subject to change.

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Space is limited

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DiscountS Available. Click HERE TO JOIN.


  • Exorcism History
  • Talking Board History and Spirit Photography
  • Spiritualism & The Civil War


  • Talking Board
  • Psychometry
  • Séance


Spiritualism & the Civil War

Joshua Paddison, Ph.D.

The research of Dr. Joshua Paddison, a Texas State University history professor, focuses on race, ethnicity, and religion in nineteenth-century America. His book “Unholy Sensations: Sex, Scandal, and California's First Cult Scare” explores an international 1890s sex scandal that surrounded the Brotherhood of the New Life, a multi-racial spiritualist community in northern California. He has twice been selected as a participant in symposiums sponsored by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University: "Civil War Wests" (2013-2014) and "Religion in the North American West" (2022-2023).

Two Cases that Inspired “the Exorcist”

Joseph Laycock, Ph.D.

Joseph Laycock is an associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University. He is the author of several books, including The Exorcist Effect: Religion, Horror, and Demonic Belief (Oxford University Press, 2023).

Talking Board History

Magic Lantern Presentation

Brandon Hodge - Mysteriousplanchette.com

Brandon Hodge is an author, collector, and historian specializing in the history of writing planchettes, talking boards, and other spirit communication devices. Long fascinated by the world of tipping tables, séances, Spiritualism, and ghostly encounters, Brandon is a leading scholar in the occult field whose expertise is consulted by museums and institutions worldwide. Brandon has served as on-air talent for dozens of popular radio and television programs, and his research and his séance artifact collection were featured on both Science Channel’s hit show Oddities and the Travel Channel's Ouija-related "Patience Worth" episode of Mysteries at the Museum. Brandon’s research on Spiritualism history has appeared in the pages of the Smithsonian Magazine, and his popular Ghosts in the Machines column appears every quarter in the pages of the Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research. Brandon owns the world's finest collection of writing planchettes and other séance-related devices, all featured on his popular website, MysteriousPlanchette.com.

Mini Talks

More Learning Opportunities

Eric Labrado &Alexis Arredondo

Eric Labrado and Alexis Arredondo are the proprietors of Austin’s popular City Alchemist apothecary, an esoteric purveyor of occult merchandise. At its brick-and-mortar store in East Austin, City Alchemist sells occult books, candles and other esoteric products for the curious or advanced practitioner.

New Perspective on the Paranormal

Megan Keith

Megan is an autodidact with a strong interest in Germanic and Norse history. With a focus on runic mysteries, she looks for ways to integrate historic folk practices into modern methods of spirit communication. She is a member of the Rune Gild.

New Perspectives on the Paranormal

Brittany Shelbon

Brittany joined an Austin based ghost hunting team in 2016 as a hardcore skeptic and has since learned that life is more interesting when you believe in magic. She now dabbles in everything from tarot to occult ritual to parapsychological experiments and tries to incorporate a spectrum of ideas and practices into her paranormal investigation toolkit.


Spiritualist Church

Wanda Garcia is the board president of the First Spiritualist Church of Austin, located at 4200 Avenue D . The nearly 100-year-old congregation holds services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Church Services are also conducted via Zoom.

Presenters & Workshops

Founded by Albert Lucio and Jake Cordero in 2016, The Austin Seance conducts séance sessions and workshops throughout the state with the aim of preserving the history of American séances and American Spiritualism. The Austin Séance also publishes The Austin Séance Quarterly Journal.


City Alchemist is an esoteric purveyor of occult merchandise. At its brick-and-mortar store in East Austin, City Alchemist sells occult books, candles and other esoteric products for the curious or advanced practitioner. City Alchemist also offers readings, cleansings and apothecary goods.


The First Spiritualist Church of Austin

Simle Border Frame

The First Spiritualist Church of Austin opened its doors in 1926 and joined the National Spiritualists Association of Churches in 1928. It was founded by the Reverend August Cervin who had immigrated to America from Sweden with his wife, Jennie, a clairvoyant medium, healer, and a reverend in her own right. Initially Austin Spiritualists met at the old Labor Temple at 10th and Brazos. Sometimes services were held at the Driskill Hotel. When Reverend Cervin died in 1940, it was his daughter Rev. Alma Cervin Johnson who took over from her father and led the Church until her death in 1965. The current location in Hyde Park was purchased in 1941, giving the congregation a permanent home.

The church was founded in 1928

The First Spiritualist Church of Austin, 4200 Avenue D in Austin, holds services on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 10:00 a.m. Central Time. Church Services are also conducted via Zoom.

For more info, email: FSCOAustin@gmail.com.

Nearby Eats

New World Deli

4101 Guadalupe St

Deli/cafe serving a variety of sandwiches, in a coffeehouse-like space.

Espresso and pastries, yogurt and granola, fruit.

Hyde Park Grill

4206 Duval St

Comfort food & American standards in a casual dining room, plus a bar & regular weekend specials.

Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery

411 E. 43rd. Street

Pastries and coffee

The Parlor Pizza

4301 Guadalupe


Julio’s Cafe

4230 Duval

Mexican eats from breakfast tacos to popular roasted chicken in a colorful, casual setting.

Traditional Interior Mexican favorites, plus vegan options.

Contact Us

The Austin Séance

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