Exploring the Spiritualism of Victorian Spiritualists

Early Victorian spiritualists turned to spiritualism as a way of understanding the world around them. This was due to the changes that were happening in society during that time period. People were moving from rural areas to cities, and there was a lot of change happening in terms of technology and industry. This led to a lot of spiritualists who were looking for new ways to understand the world.

The movement led to the development of psychical research. This was a field of study that looked at paranormal activity and attempted to provide scientific explanations for it. Many famous scientists, such as William Crookes and Oliver Lodge, were involved in this field of research.

The movement ultimately declined in popularity due to a number of factors. One of these was the rise of materialism and science during that time period. People increasingly turned to science to explain the world around them, and spiritualism became less popular as a result. Additionally, spiritualism was associated with some controversial practices, such as seances and communicating with the dead, which made it less acceptable to mainstream society.

Despite the decline of the movement, it still had a significant impact on the nineteenth century. It was a time when people were exploring new ways of understanding the world, and spiritualism played a role in that. Additionally, spiritualism led to the development of psychical research, which is a field of study that is still active today.

Famous Spiritualists

Emma Hardinge Britten

Emma Hardinge Britten was a very influential figure in the spiritualist circles. She wrote extensively about spiritualism and the era. Starting at a young age Emma began participating in magnetic and clairvoyant experiments with an occult group in London. Spiritualism seems to have been very popular with Victorian women.

When Hardinge moved to New York she would attend public séances to observe and write about the reactions of the Americans.

Emma was also involved in political activism, campaigning for the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. She was even presented the opportunity to lecture all across the United States from New York to San Francisco.

Additionally, Hardinge wrote and published, “Modern American Spiritualism” and “Nineteenth Century Miracles,” edited the book, “Art Magic or Mundane, Sub-Mundane and Super-Mundane Spiritism: A Treatise in Three parts and Twenty Three Sections,” started a magazine, “The Western Star,” and founded a spiritualist newspaper, “The Two Worlds.”

She’s also said to have created the seven principles of Spiritualism which are still used by the NSA in the United States and the the UK’s SNU.

William Crookes

William Crookes was a famous scientist who was involved in psychical research. He was particularly interested in studying paranormal activity, and he believed that there was a scientific explanation for it. Crookes conducted many experiments in this field, and he was considered to be one of the leading experts in the field.

Crookes, a proponent of Victorian science, even investigated famous medium Daniel Dunglas Home and endorsed him as being genuine.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a British author who is best known for writing the Sherlock Holmes series of novels. However, Doyle was also interested in spiritualism, and he attended a number of seances and experimented with psychic phenomena.

Doyle was a member of a number of groups involved with paranormal research and when a Harry Prince accused William Hope and his spirit photography of being fraudulent Doyle led 84 other members to leave the group that Prince belong to because it was anti-spiritualist.

The Fox Sisters

The Fox sisters were a group of three sisters who made early spiritualist claims. They participated in seances and other activities related to spiritualism. The two youngest, Maggie and Kate Fox tricked their neighbor and the older members of the Fox Family into believing there was a spirit rapping on the walls of their family home in New York. Later they were sent to live with their sister, Leah.

These American Sisters were some of the early female mediums in America participating in spiritual séance in lecture halls and capitalizing on the spiritualist craze.

Years later Maggie Fox and her sister Kate exposed themselves as frauds and even showed and told of how they were able to produce rapping sounds by cracking their bones or dropping heavy objects like apples on a string.

Spiritualist Movement

Spiritualist Practice

Automatic Writing

Automatic writing is a form of communication in which the writer’s hand is taken over by a spirit or other entity, and the words are written without the author’s conscious control. This type of writing was popular during the Victorian era, when spiritualism was at its peak.

Many people believed that automatic writing was one way mediums worked to communicate with the dead, and it was often used as a means of divination. Some mediums claimed to be able to use automatic writing to receive messages from the spirit world.

Despite its popularity, automatic writing has been met with skepticism by many scientists and skeptics. There is no evidence that this type of communication is anything more than a hoax perpetrated by those looking to exploit people’s beliefs.

Table Tipping

One of the most popular activities in the spiritualism movement was table tipping, sometimes referred to as table turning.

Table tipping is a process in which a group of people sit around a table and put their hands on it, with the aim of communicating with the dead. The table is then said to tip or move as a result of the spirits interacting with those present.

Seances and mediums were very popular during the spiritualist movement, and many people believed that they were able to communicate with the dead through this process. Table turning was seen as a way to prove that spiritualism was real, and many people claimed to have had success with it.

Early Ouija Boards

One of the ways that people communicated with the dead in the late nineteenth century was through talking boards. These were boards with letters and numbers on them, and people would use them to spell out messages.

Talking boards were first introduced in the United States in the late Victorian era and they became very popular. People would hold seances using these boards, and they claimed to be able to speak to the dead using them.

However, there was a lot of controversy surrounding talking boards. Many people believed that they were fraudulent, and there were numerous reports of people being scammed by those who used them.

Modern Ouija Boards

Despite this, talking boards remained popular throughout the nineteenth century.

The Ouija board was invented in 1890 in Maryland. Many people believe that it is dangerous and can be used to summon evil spirits. There are a number of stories about people who have used the Ouija board and have been haunted by dark entities as a result.

Despite the risks, the Ouija board remains popular and continues to be used by people all over the world.

Spiritualist churches are different from other religious denominations in that they believe in communication with the dead, as well as other supernatural phenomena such as ESP and psychokinesis. They also believe in the power of prayer and meditation, and that these activities can help people to connect with the spiritual realm.

The Spiritualist National Union in the United Kingdom

The Spiritualist National Union is one of the largest and most well-known spiritualist organizations in the world. It was founded in the late Victorian Era and is headquartered in London, England. The SNU promotes spiritualism and provides education and training for its members.

The National Spiritualist Association of Churches in the United States

The National Spiritualist Association of Churches is another large spiritualist organization, with over 500 member churches around the United States. The organization was founded in the late nineteenth century and is dedicated to promoting spiritualism and providing support to its members.

Modern Spiritualism

Spiritualism is still popular today, although it is not as popular as it was in the Victorian era. There are a number of churches dedicated to spiritualism around the world, and spiritualism is still practiced by many people. There are also a number of organizations dedicated to promoting spiritualism and providing support to its members.

Despite the fact that there are many people who still believe in spiritualism, there are also many skeptics who claim that it is nothing more than a hoax. Skeptics point to the fact that some of the most famous spiritualists, such as the Fox sisters, were exposed as frauds. They also claim that many of the phenomena associated with spiritualism can be explained by natural causes, such as psychology and physiology.

Whether you believe in spiritualism or not, it is undeniable that it was a significant part of the Victorian era. The beliefs and practices of spiritualism were a major part of the culture of the time, and many famous people, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, were involved in the movement. Spiritualism also had a significant impact on the development of psychic research and parapsychology. Even today, spiritualism is still practiced by many people around the world.

Spiritualism and the New Age Movement

The spiritualist movement of the 19th century was a precursor to the New Age movement of today. Both movements are based on the belief in the spiritual realm and the power of prayer and meditation to connect with it. Both movements also emphasize the importance of self-improvement and personal growth.

However, there are some significant differences between the spiritualism of the mid-nineteenth century and the belief system of today. One major difference is that spiritualism is based on Christian principles, while the current movement is not based on organized religion. Another difference is that spiritualism is more focused on tangible phenomena such as communication with the dead, while the present-day movement is more focused on intangible phenomena such as psychic abilities and energy healing.

Despite these differences, both movements share many common beliefs and practices. Both movements are based on the belief in the power of the mind to create change, and both focus on personal growth and self-improvement. Both movements also emphasize the importance of positive thinking and living a harmonious life.

Kasper Finn

What drives me is a desire to unravel the mysteries of life. Why do we believe what we believe? Are there creatures lurking in the shadows that science has yet to uncover? I want to know it all, and I firmly believe that there are no limits to what can be discovered.

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