Spiritualism

Authored by: Cathy Gutierrez

The Occult World

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  December  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415695961
eBook ISBN: 9781315745916
Adobe ISBN: 9781317596769

10.4324/9781315745916.ch15

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Abstract

Spiritualism refers to the loosely affiliated religious movement begun in America in 1848 by the three Fox sisters, Leah (1814–90), Margaret (1833–93), and Kate (1837–92). Marked primarily by domestic séances in which a small group would attempt to contact the dead through the use of a medium, Spiritualism also had a more public face where the famous dead could be contacted for advice on contemporary matters like politics and philosophy via trance speakers in tent revivals or lecture halls. While trance speech and states of possession are by no means restricted to Spiritualist phenomena, 1848 is generally agreed upon by scholars because it is the turning point at which people could self-identify as Spiritualists, which carried, at least in the United States, associations with progressive politics as well as religious pluralism.

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