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SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism

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Author Topic: SPIRITUALISM and Spiritism  (Read 2307 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2007, 07:03:39 am »







Physical manifestations and fraud

In the years following the sensation that greeted the Fox sisters, demonstrations of mediumship (sťances and automatic writing, for example) proved to be a profitable venture, and soon became popular forms of entertainment and spiritual catharsis. The Foxes were to earn a living this way and others would follow their lead.[3] Showmanship became an increasingly important part of Spiritualism, and the visible, audible, and tangible evidence of spirits escalated as mediums competed for paying audiences. Fraud was certainly widespread, as independent investigating commissions repeatedly established, most notably the 1887 report of the Seybert Commission [6].

Prominent investigators who exposed cases of fraud came from a variety of backgrounds, including professional researchers such as Frank Podmore of the Society for Psychical Research or Harry Price of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, and professional conjurers such as John Nevil Maskelyne. Maskelyne exposed the Davenport Brothers by appearing in the audience during their shows and loudly explaining how the trick was done. During the 1920s, professional magician Harry Houdini undertook a well-publicised crusade against fraudulent mediums. Throughout his crusade, Houdini was adamant that he did not oppose the religion of Spiritualism itself, but rather the practice of deliberate fraud and trickery for monetary gain that was carried out in the name of that religion.[7]

But despite widespread fraud, the appeal of Spiritualism was strong. First and foremost, the movement appealed to those grieving the death of a loved one: the resurgence of interest in Spiritualism during and after the First World War was a direct response to the massive number of casualties.[8] Secondly, the movement appealed to reformers, who found that the spirits were in favor of such causes du jour as equal rights.[4] Finally, the movement appealed to those who had a materialist orientation and had rejected organized religion. The influential socialist and atheist Robert Owen embraced religion following his experiences in Spiritualist circles. Many scientific men who bothered to investigate the phenomena also ended up being converted. These include the chemist William Crookes, the evolutionary biologist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913),[9] and the physician and author Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930).[10]
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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