Blog Intelligence Spirituality

Medium As Performer

June 21, 2013

“‘Modern Spiritualism’ had, after all, started in the United States when the Fox sisters discovered in March 1848 that the spirit of a murdered man communicated with them through raps and taps (Wallace [1874] 1896:152-53). The movement spread quickly and reached England in the early 1850s in the shape of two female American mediums and Harriet Beecher Stowe (Britten 1883:129, 137; Owen 1989:19). In the United States the movement was allied with radical — individualistic, abolitionist, and feminist — critiques of society. Ann Braude has shown how, through the trance speaking medium — the definition of which depended on ‘female’ receptivity to possessing spirits — female opinion leaders could emerge who had previously been barred from speaking in public (Braude 1989).”

— From Pels, Peter “Spirits of Modernity.” Magic and Modernity. Ed. Peter Pels, Ed. Birgit Meyer. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 2003. 251. Print.

Florence Cook.

Florence Cook manifesting the spirit of Katie King, circa 1870.

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