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SPIRITUALISM – A BRIEF HISTORY

“There is nothing new under the sun.” – Shakespeare

Records from as far back as 3260 BCE show that the Egyptians knew of life in the world of spirit. So did the Greeks, Hebrews, Asians, Native Americans, and many other cultures of that time. Over the centuries, many people have been found to be sensitive to spirit communication. These people were known as shamans, witch doctors, medicine men, priests, and prophets, and through various methods they were able to communicate with the spirit world.

Modern Spiritualism began on March 31, 1848, when the Fox Sisters, two young daughters of a rural blacksmith from upstate New York, established communication with an identifiable spirit entity. This event proved two important facts. First, that communication with the spirit world was possible, and second, that this communication was available to everyone. Spirit communication was no longer limited to just the “select few” priests, prophets, shamans, etc. Almost overnight Spiritualism became extremely popular. For example, in 1853, only five years later, Massachusetts had twenty-six Spiritualist churches.

Unfortunately the growth of Spiritualism was seen as a threat by mainstream clergy who saw their parishioners leaving in flocks to join the ranks of the Spiritualists. So they did what they could to discredit Spiritualism. The clergy, along with other skeptics subjected many mediums, especially the Fox Sisters, to scorn and ridicule. When they were invited to investigate the phenomena themselves, they subjected the mediums to agonizing and degrading “experiments” in an attempt to discredit their mediumship. Yet in spite of all their efforts, Spiritualism continued growing and thriving. Today there are hundreds of Spiritualist churches in the United States, and thousands worldwide.