Spiritualism

By 1853, when the popular song Spirit Rappings was published, spiritualism was an object of intense curiosity.

Spiritualism is a belief that spirits of the dead have both the ability and the inclination to communicate with the living. The afterlife, or "spirit world", is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits continue to evolve. These two beliefs: that contact with spirits is possible, and that spirits are more advanced than humans, leads spiritualists to a third belief, that spirits are capable of providing useful knowledge about moral and ethical issues, as well as about the nature of God. Thus, many spiritualists will speak of their "spirit guides" — specific spirits, often contacted, who are relied upon for spiritual guidance.[1][2] Spiritism, a branch of spiritualism developed by Allan Kardec and today found mostly in Continental Europe and Latin America, especially Brazil, emphasizes reincarnation.

Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-speaking countries.[2][3] By 1897, spiritualism was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe,[4] mostly drawn from the middle class and upper classes.

Spiritualism flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion through periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent spiritualists were women, and like most spiritualists, supported causes such as the

  • "American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural" - An hour-long history public radio program exploring American spiritualism.
  • Open Directory Project page for "Spiritualism"
  • Video and Images of the original Fox Family historic home site.
  • "Investigating Spirit Communications" - Joe Nickell
  • "Spiritualism Exposed: Margaret Fox Kane Confesses Fraud" - Skeptic Report

External links

  • Clodd, Edward. (1917). The Question: A Brief History and Examination of Modern Spiritualism. Grant Richards, London.
  • Kurtz, Paul. (1985). Spiritualists, Mediums and Psychics: Some Evidence of Fraud. In Paul Kurtz (ed.). A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. pp. 177-223. ISBN 0-87975-300-5
  • Mann, Walter. (1919). The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism. Rationalist Association. London: Watts & Co.
  • McCabe, Joseph. (1920). Is Spiritualism Based On Fraud? The Evidence Given By Sir A. C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London: Watts & Co.
  • Mercier, Charles Arthur. (1917). Spiritualism and Sir Oliver Lodge. London: Mental Culture Enterprise.
  • Podmore, Frank. (1911). The Newer Spiritualism. Henry Holt and Company.
  • Rinn, Joseph. (1950). Sixty Years Of Psychical Research: Houdini And I Among The Spiritualists. Truth Seeker.

Further reading

  • Chapin, David. Exploring Other Worlds: Margaret Fox, Elisha Kent Kane, and the Antebellum Culture of Curiosity, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004.
  • Harrison, W.H. 1880. Psychic Facts, a Selection from Various Authors. London: Ballantyne Press.
  • Podmore, Frank, Mediums of the 19th Century, 2 vols., University Books, 1963.
  • Salter, William H., Zoar; or the Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival, Sidgwick, 1961.
  • Telegrams from the Dead (a PBS television documentary in the "American Experience" series, first aired October 19, 1994).

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Noor Muhammad Kalachvi 1999: Irfan
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind, Andrew Jackson Davis, 1847.
  12. ^
  13. ^ a b Telegrams from the Dead (a PBS television documentary in the "American Experience" series, first aired October 19, 1994).
  14. ^ Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania, The Seybert Commission, 1887. 2004-04-01.
  15. ^ Williams, Montagu Stephen. 1891. Later Leaves: Being the Further Reminiscences of Montagu Williams. Macmillan. See chapter 8.
  16. ^ a b Arthur Conan Doyle, The History of Spiritualism Vol I, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1926.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Anna Hurwic, Pierre Curie, translated by Lilananda Dasa and Joseph Cudnik, Paris, Flammarion, 1995, pp. 65, 66, 68, 247-48.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Underwood, Peter (1978) "Dictionary of the Supernatural", Harrap Ltd., ISBN 0-245-52784-2, Page 144
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ A Magician Among the Spirits, Harry Houdini, Arno Press (June 1987), ISBN 0-405-02801-6
  24. ^ Hereward Carrington. (1907). The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism. Herbert B. Turner & Co.
  25. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism based on Fraud?: The Evidence Given by Sir A.C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London: Watts & Co.
  26. ^ Chung Ling Soo. (1898). Spirit Slate Writing and Kindred Phenomena. Munn & Company. Henry Evans. (1897). Hours With the Ghosts Or Nineteenth Century Witchcraft. Kessinger Publishing. Julien Proskauer. (1932). Spook crooks! Exposing the secrets of the prophet-eers who conduct our wickedest industry. New York, A. L. Burt.
  27. ^ Fulton Oursler. (1930). Spirit Mediums Exposed. New York: Macfadden Publications. Joseph Dunninger. (1935). Inside the Medium's Cabinet. New York, D. Kemp and Company. Joseph Rinn. (1950). Sixty Years Of Psychical Research: Houdini And I Among The Spiritualists. Truth Seeker.
  28. ^ The Light: A Journal Devoted to the Highest Interests of Humanity, both Here and Hereafter, Vol I, January to December 1881, London Spiritualist Alliance, Eclectic Publishing Company: London, 1882.
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^ (Harrison 1880: 6)
  32. ^ (Alvarado, Biondi, and Kramer 2006: 61–63)
  33. ^ Charles Wyllys Elliott, Mysteries, or Glimpses of the Supernatural, Harper & Bros: New York, 1852.
  34. ^ Catherine Crowe, The Night Side of Nature, or Ghosts and Ghost-seers, Redfield: New York, 1853.
  35. ^ "Dreadful Tale of a Haunted Man in Newton County, Missouri", Chicago Daily Tribune, January 4, 1891.
  36. ^
  37. ^ Montague Summers. (2010). Physical Phenomena of Mysticism. Kessinger Publishing. p. 114. ISBN 978-1161363654. Also see Barry Wiley. (2012). The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 978-0786464708
  38. ^ Simeon Edmunds. (1966). Spiritualism: A Critical Survey. Aquarian Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0850300130 "1876 also saw the first of several exposures of another physical medium, William Eglington, in whose trunk a false beard and a quantity of muslin were found by Archdeacon Colley. He was exposed again in 1880, after which he turned to slate-writing. In this he was exposed by Richard Hodgson and S. J. Davey of the SPR in 1885. Davey a clever conjuror, was able to duplicate all Eglington's phenomena so perfectly that some spiritualists, notably Alfred Russel Wallace, insisted that he too was really a genuine medium."
  39. ^ Frank Podmore. (1902). Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism. Volume 2. Methuen & Company. pp. 283-287 "It seems reasonable to conclude that all the marvels reported at [Moses] seances were, in fact, produced by the medium's own hands: that it was he who tilted the table and produced the raps, that the scents, the seed pearls, and the Parian statuettes were brought into the room in his pockets: and that the spirit lights were, in fact, nothing more than bottles of phosphorised oil. Nor would the feats described have required any special skill on the medium's part."
  40. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Spiritualism: A Popular History From 1847. Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 151-173
  41. ^ Joseph Jastrow. (1918). The Psychology of Conviction. Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 101-127
  42. ^ Walter Mann. (1919). The Follies and Frauds of Spiritualism. Rationalist Association. London: Watts & Co. pp. 115-130
  43. ^ Brian Righi. (2008). Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists: An Exploration of the Supernatural through History. Llewellyn Publications. p. 52. ISBN 978-0738713632 "One medium of the 1920s, Mina Crandon, became famous for producing ectoplasm during her sittings. At the height of the séance, she was even able to produce a tiny ectoplasmic hand from her navel, which waved about in the darkness. Her career ended when Harvard biologists were able to examine the tiny hand and found it to be nothing more than a carved piece of animal liver."
  44. ^ C. E. M. Hansel. (1989). The Search for Psychic Power: ESP and Parapsychology Revisited. Prometheus Books. p. 245. ISBN 978-0879755331
  45. ^ Joseph McCabe. (1920). Is Spiritualism based on Fraud?: The Evidence Given by Sir A.C. Doyle and Others Drastically Examined. London: Watts & Co. p. 126
  46. ^ Malcolm Gaskill. (2001). Hellish Nell: Last of Britain's Witches. Fourth Estate. p. 100. ISBN 978-1841151090
  47. ^ Jason Karl. (2007). An Illustrated History of the Haunted World. New Holland Publishers. p. 79. ISBN 978-1845376871
  48. ^ Simeon Edmunds. (1966). Spiritualism: A Critical Survey. Aquarian Press. pp. 137-144.ISBN 978-0850300130
  49. ^ Paul Kurtz. (1985). A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. p. 599. ISBN 0-87975-300-5
  50. ^ Janet Oppenheim, The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850–1914, 1988, p. 267
  51. ^ a b Janet Oppenheim, The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England, 1850–1914, 1988, p. 270
  52. ^ G. Baseden Butt, Madame Blavatsky, p. 120
  53. ^ Gerald Massey, Concerning evolution, p. 55
  54. ^ Gerald Massey, Concerning evolution, pp. 60–61
  55. ^ Frank Podmore, Bob Gilbert, Modern spiritualism: a history and a criticism: Volume 2, 2001, pp. 135–136
  56. ^ Debora Hammond, The Science of Synthesis: Exploring the Social Implications of General Systems Theory, 2003, p. 39
  57. ^
  58. ^ Martin Fichman, An elusive Victorian: the evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace, 2004, p. 159
  59. ^ Edward Clodd, Question: A Brief History and Examination of Modern Spiritualism, p. 300
  60. ^ Peter J. Bowler, Science for all: the popularization of science in early twentieth-century, 2009, p. 44
  61. ^ Ray Hyman. (1985). A Critical Historical Overview of Parapsychology. In Paul Kurtz. A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. pp. 3-96. ISBN 0-87975-300-5
  62. ^ Rosemary Guiley. (1994). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits. Guinness Publishing. p. 311. ISBN 978-0851127484

Notes

See also

Already as early as 1882, with the founding of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), parapsychologists emerged to investigate spiritualist claims.[61] The SPR's investigations into spiritualism exposed many fraudulent mediums which contributed to the decline of interest in physical mediumship.[62]

Psychical research

The practice of organized spiritualism today resembles that of any other religion, having discarded most showmanship, particularly those elements resembling the conjurer's art. There is thus a much greater emphasis on "mental" mediumship and an almost complete avoidance of the apparently miraculous "materializing" mediumship that so fascinated early believers such as Arthur Conan Doyle.[30] The first spiritualist church in Australia was the United Stanmore & Enmore Spiritualist Church established in 1913. In 1921 Doyle gave a farewell to Australia speech there.

Diversity of belief among organized spiritualists has led to a few schisms, the most notable occurring in the U.K. in 1957 between those who held the movement to be a religion sui generis (of its own with unique characteristics), and a minority who held it to be a denomination within Christianity. In the United States, this distinction can be seen between the less Christian National Spiritualist Association of Churches and the more Christian spiritual church movement.

Formal education in spiritualist practice emerged in 1920s, with organizations like the William T. Stead Center in Chicago, Illinois, and continue today with the Arthur Findlay College at Stansted Hall in England, and the Morris Pratt Institute in Wisconsin, United States.

The second direction taken has been to adopt formal organization, patterned after Christian denominations, with established liturgies and a set of seven principles, and training requirements for mediums. In the United States the spiritualist churches are primarily affiliated either with the Spiritualists' National Union, founded in 1890.

Spiritualist church

The first of these continued the tradition of individual practitioners, organised in circles centered on a medium and clients, without any hierarchy or dogma. Already by the late 19th century spiritualism had become increasingly theosophy with its inclusion of Eastern religion, astrology, ritual magic and reincarnation is an example of a closer precursor of the 20th century new age movement.[10] Today's syncretic spiritualists are quite heterogeneous in their beliefs regarding issues such as reincarnation or the existence of God. Some appropriate new age and neo-pagan beliefs, while others call themselves "Christian spiritualists", continuing with the tradition of cautiously incorporating spiritualist experiences into their Christian faith.

Syncretism

After the 1920s, spiritualism evolved in three different directions, all of which exist today.

After the 1920s

Oliver Lodge also promoted a version of spiritual evolution in his books Man and the Universe (1908), Making of Man (1924) and Evolution and Creation (1926). The spiritualist element in the synthesis was most prominent in Lodge's 1916 book Raymond, or Life and Death which revived a large interest for public in the paranormal.[60]

[57] Wallace argued in his 1911 book World of Life for a spiritual approach to evolution and described evolution as "creative power, directive mind and ultimate purpose". Wallace believed natural selection could not explain intelligence or morality in the human being so suggested that non-material spiritual forces accounted for these. Wallace believed the spiritual nature of humanity could not have come about by natural selection alone, the origins of the spiritual nature must originate "in the unseen universe of spirit".[58][59]

A famous medium who rejected evolution was Cora L. V. Scott, she dismissed evolution in her lectures and instead supported a type of pantheistic spiritualism.[55]

Spiritualists believed that without spiritualism "the doctrine of Darwin is a broken link". Gerald Massey said "Spiritualism will accept evolution, and carry it out and make both ends meet in the perfect circle".[54]

The theory contains only one half the explanation of man's origins and needs spiritualism to carry it through and complete it. For while this ascent on the physical side has been progressing through myriads of ages, the Divine descent has also been going on – man being spiritually an incarnation from the Divine as well as a human development from the animal creation. The cause of the development is spiritual. Mr. Darwin's theory does not in the least militate against ours – we think it necessitates it; he simply does not deal with our side of the subject. He can not go lower than the dust of the earth for the matter of life; and for us, the main interest of our origin must lie in the spiritual domain.[53]

The spiritualist Gerald Massey, claimed that Darwin's theory of evolution was incomplete:

Theosophy is in opposition to the spiritualist interpretation of evolution. Theosophy teaches a metaphysical theory of evolution mixed with human devolution. Spiritualists do not accept the devolution of the theosophists. To theosophy humanity starts in a state of perfection (see Golden age) and falls into a process of progressive materialization (devolution), developing the mind and losing the spiritual consciousness. After the gathering of experience and growth through repeated reincarnations humanity will regain the original spiritual state, which is now one of self-conscious perfection. Theosophy and spiritualism were both very popular metaphysical schools of thought especially in the early 20th century and thus were always clashing in their different beliefs. Madame Blavatsky was critical of spiritualism; she distanced theosophy from spiritualism as far as she could and allied herself with eastern occultism.[52]

In a talk at the London Spiritualist Alliance, John Page Hopps (1834–1911) supported both evolution and spiritualism. Hopps claimed humanity had started off imperfect "out of the animal's darkness" but would rise into the "angel's marvellous light". Hopps claimed humans were not fallen but rising creatures and that after death they would evolve on a number of spheres of existence to perfection.[51]

The spiritualists' view of evolution did not stop at death. Spiritualism taught that after death spirits progressed to spiritual states in new spheres of existence. According to spiritualists evolution occurred in the spirit world "at a rate more rapid and under conditions more favourable to growth" than encountered on earth.[51]

Spiritualists reacted with an uncertainty to the theories of evolution in the late 19th and early 20th century. Broadly speaking the concept of evolution fitted the spiritualist thought of the progressive development of humanity. At the same time however, the belief in the animal origins of humanity threatened the foundation of the immortality of the spirit, for if humans had not been created by God, it was scarcely plausible that they would be specially endowed with spirits. This led to spiritualists embracing spiritual evolution.[50]

Evolution

Another well known medium was the Scottish materialization medium Helen Duncan. In 1928 the photographer Harvey Metcalfe attended a series of séances at the house of Duncan. During a séance he took various flash photographs of Duncan and her alleged "materialization" spirits including her spirit guide "Peggy".[46] The photographs that were taken reveal the "spirits" to be fraudulently produced, such as a doll made from a painted papier-mâché mask draped in an old sheet.[47] Duncan was later tested by Harry Price at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Photographs of Duncan in his laboratory revealed her ectoplasm to be made from cheesecloth, rubber gloves and cut-out heads from magazine covers.[48][49]

The American voice medium Etta Wriedt was exposed as a fraud by the physicist Kristian Birkeland when he discovered the noises produced by her trumpet were caused by chemical explosions induced by potassium and water and in other cases by lycopodium powder.[45]

Mina Crandon a spiritualist medium in the 1920s was known for producing an ectoplasm hand during her séances. The hand was later exposed as a trick when biologists found it to be made from a piece of carved animal liver.[43] In 1934, the psychical researcher Walter Franklin Prince described the Crandon case as "the most ingenious, persistent, and fantastic complex of fraud in the history of psychic research."[44]

Adelma Vay (1840–1925), Hungarian (by origin) spiritistic medium, homeopath and clairvoyant, authored many books about spiritism, written in German and translated into English.

[42][41], and materializing spirits. On investigation, all these things were found to be products of trickery.apports (1854–1918) was an Italian spiritualist medium from the slums of Naples who made a career touring Italy, France, Germany, Britain, the United States, Russia and Poland. Palladino was said by believers to perform spiritualist phenomena in the dark: levitating tables, producing Eusapia Palladino London-born

William Stainton Moses (1839–92) was an Anglican clergyman who, in the period from 1872 to 1883, filled 24 notebooks with automatic writing, much of which was said to describe conditions