What would Beyoncé think of your Halloween costume? What does Beyoncé think you should have for dinner? What would Beyoncé say the meaning of life is? The answer to those questions, of course, is unknowable: Beyoncé is an intensely private person, and her inner life is inscrutable except in the very specific ways she’s chosen to allow us to access to it.
Or, at least, the answer to those questions was unknowable. This Halloween, you can channel her innermost thoughts in spooky fashion by visiting Beyonseance.com, a website where a digital Ouija board offers users the chance to commune with Queen Bey’s essence from the comfort of their browser.
New York-based artist Fati Jafri embarked on the project for the season, and she took the notion of channeling Beyoncé seriously. “Some of it is making the quality of the site really good, and making it beautiful and seamless, and not putting up something tacky and joke-ish,” she says. “Our goal is to make it something that would live up to her taste and her expectations—although, of course, nothing in this world can live up to her tastes and expectations.”
Visitors to Beyonseance encounter purple-tinted candles and the star’s glowing face when they first land on the page. Upon typing a question, they receive a customized Beyoncé Ouija board (with responses like “Yeah,” “Hell Nah,” and “Boy Bye” on the side, along with the standard alphabet). Jafri says she and her team of collaborators—co-creator April Pascua, developer Danielle Clemons, and sound designer Toga Cox—analyzed the lyrics to every Beyoncé song to find the answers that felt authentic to her voice, and then did their best.
Those things are sometimes predictable, and sometimes random. Ask “Did Jay-Z really cheat on you?” and Bey’s spirit is impatient—that’s a good way to get yourself a “Boy Bye.” Ask her, “What should I have for dinner?” and she’ll take your ass to Red Lobster. Ask “Would we be friends in real life?” and Beyoncé’s ghost, playfully, will toss you back a “Keep Praying.”
“When people immediately see it, unless you’re a huge Beyoncé fan, you just want to ask it something funny,” Jafri says. “But we were getting a lot of existentialist questions—’Who am I?’ ‘Why are we here?’ ‘What is the meaning of life?'” Those questions, too, get an answer from the spirit that feels true to Beyoncé’s voice.
All of which has been an interesting experience for Jafri, who’s long adored Beyoncé’s music. After summoning her essence for an art project, she admits to feeling closer to her than ever. “I feel like this is the project I’ve always needed,” she says. “I actually put together eight Beyoncé Lemonade costumes for Halloween last year. I feel like Spooky Beyoncé has just been my personal theme. In a theoretical world where she saw this, we hope she would like it and feel like we understand her.” As Beyonceseance would say, keep praying.