Not for the faint of heart

Gerri Ratigan screamed, as many mothers would, when she walked into the kitchen to find her 18-year old son with a length of thread sewn through his throat. It was one of many tricks the self-taught magician had picked up during his studies over the summer.

Nick Borden, 18, of Brunswick will be putting his newfound skills to the test over two weekends in October as he joins his brother, Lee Borden, 15, and mother in hosting a haunted Victorian-era sEance at the Sanctuary in Halfmoon.

I don't claim to be able to reach the beyond, said Borden, who has practiced magic since he was 7. "I just came across the idea and purchased a large number of books. This is an adaptation of those ideas."

His research began in July. Borden delved deep into the world of Victorian-era fraudulent sEances. He learned the tricks and polished his routine, eventually selling his brother and mother on the idea of putting together an authentic Victorian era sEance.

His mother and brother are confident in his abilities, and will be the first to confirm his promise that "contact" with the other side will be made during the Haunted SEance.

"We are perfecting different stuff. It's been getting really big and exciting. It will scare people, absolutely," said Ratigan, a self-described "sort of assistant" during the sEance.

Just to be safe, the mother/sons illusionist team is only allowing ages 13 and older into the sEance room.

Her two sons have always drawn spirits to them, said Ratigan. She said she has seen them herself.

Ratigan conducts a "course in miracles" at The Sanctuary in Halfmoon. The Victorian-era brick building just off of Route 9 overlooks the Mohawk River and has become known as a hotbed of sorts for occult and spiritual activity. It has been billed as "a home of joy, a haven of peace" and "a place of love." It is also haunted, said Ratigan.

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