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The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement

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Author Topic: The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement  (Read 2109 times)
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 01:09:09 am »

Mesmerism was another aspect which crept into spiritualism since mesmerism, or hypnotism, according to its proponents, enabled one spiritually to divest the body of its material elements. While in a trance, one was in touch with the spiritual nature which inhabits the body free of the corporeal matter of one's physical being. Thus this spiritual nature can be in touch with other spiritual natures in the universe, even spirits of the past. As a result, the spirits of the past were soon offering sermons, a favorite intellectual form for many individuals who had been converted to spiritualism. It seems that among those wishing to be heard were Emanuel Swedenborg, the Swedish mystic; George Fox, the Quaker leader of the seventeenth century; and even George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, deists who were not normally given to offering sermons.

By 1857, sixty-seven spiritualist journals were on the market and making money. Camp meetings, such as were previously used by revivalists, were occurring among spiritualists from the Atlantic to the Ohio. It is estimated that there were one to two million believers in spiritualism by 1855. After the disappointment over the failure of the Millennium to arrive on time some dozen years previously, this communication with the dead was more sensational and perhaps even more satisfying than the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ. Interestingly, there were twice as many adherents to spiritualism in New York State than elsewhere, and the movement flourished in stable communities rather than in isolated areas of recent settlement.
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