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Since its advent in the 1840s, modern spiritualism has been a topic of popular interest and critical scrutiny. Spiritualism gained increasing prominence in the second half of the nineteenth century, and developed as a religious movement with no defining creeds or formal doctrines, beyond the belief that the dead survived in spirit form and could communicate with the living. Scholars have noted its philosophical origins in the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg; considered its rise against the backdrop of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the accompanying crisis in faith; examined the fascination of celebrated believers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, William James, and Arthur Conan Doyle; explored its potential in the context of gender and sexuality; charted its investigation by the Society for Psychical Research; and identified key periods that mark a rise in spiritualist activity. The history of spiritualist belief and practice has been the subject of extensive debate (see, for example, Routledge’s eight-volume collection, The Rise of Victorian Spiritualism (2001) (978-0-415-23640-9), edited by Bob Gilbert). Similarly, considerable research has been devoted to the question of Spiritualism and gender (explored in the Routledge/Edition Synapse two-volume collection, Women, Spiritualism, and Madness (2003) (978-0-415-27633-7), edited by Bridget Bennett, Helen Nicholson, and Roy Porter).
Complementing those earlier collections, this new four-volume set demonstrates spiritualism’s hugely significant—but hitherto often neglected—contemporary engagement with questions of race, eugenics, and the body, and with anti-spiritualist critique. Moreover, as spiritualism is commonly identified as a predominantly Victorian—and western—phenomenon, little has been done better to understand spiritualism in its global and temporal contexts. Furthermore, while numerous studies of spiritualism in canonical Victorian literature exist, the movement’s own rich literary output and its relationship with the non-spiritualist gothic remain underexplored. Indeed, despite the explosion of scholarly interest in modern spiritualism across a wide range of disciplines, almost none of the movement’s key philosophical, literary, political, and medical texts are currently in print.
The learned editors of this collection have remedied these imbalances and Spiritualism, 1840–1930 offers access to a wide range of materials from an important period in spiritualism’s history, including previously unpublished material relating to Arthur Conan Doyle’s investment in spiritualism and transcriptions of the Henri Louis Rey séances in New Orleans (the only entirely African-American nineteenth-century spiritualist circle whose records have been preserved). The collection focuses on key topics and situates inaccessible primary sources alongside better-known works to posit their importance in the development of spiritualism as a social, cultural, and transatlantic phenomenon.
Making readily available materials which are currently very difficult for scholars, researchers, and students across the globe to locate and use, Spiritualism, 1840–1930 is a veritable treasure-trove. The gathered materials are reproduced in facsimile, giving users a strong sense of immediacy to texts and permitting citation to the original pagination. Each volume is also supplemented by a substantial introduction, newly written by the editors, which contextualizes the material and steers readers towards significant secondary sources. And with a full index and a detailed appendix providing data on the provenance of the gathered works, the collection is destined to be welcomed as a vital research and reference resource.
Volume I: Spiritualism: Health, Race, and Human Variation
edited and introduced by Christine Ferguson
1. Andrew Jackson, ‘What is Man Anatomically and Physiologically Considered’ and excerpt from ‘The Philosophy of Disease’, The Great Harmonia, Vol. 1 (Boston: Benjamin B. Mussey & Co., 1851), pp. 13–42, 128–41.
2. John Murray Spear and A. E. Newton, ‘Of Births’, ‘Practical Applications: "The Electric Motor"’, and ‘The Electrical Motor and its Uses’, The Educator: Being Suggestions, Theoretical and Practical, Designed to Promote Man-Culture and Integral Reform, With a View to the Ultimate Establishments of a Divine Social State on Earth (Boston: Office of Practical Spiritualists, 1857), pp. 236–57.
3. William H. Holcombe, ‘The Spiritual Philosophy of African Slavery’, Suggestions as to the Spiritual Philosophy of African Slavery (New York: Mason Brothers, 1861), pp. 3–11.
4. Andrew Jackson, ‘Amalgamation and Human Hybrids’, ‘Temperaments and Human Offspring’, ‘A Divine Law Against Polygamy’, and ‘Extinction of Red and Black Man’, Answers to the Ever-Recurring Questions from the People (New York: A. J. Davis & Co., 1862), pp. 277–9, 282–4, 289–97, 357–60.
5. ‘A Citizen of Ohio’, Interior Causes of the War: The Nation Demonized and the President a Spirit Rapper (New York: M. Doolady, 1863), pp. 1–9, 25–47.
6. Andrew Jackson, Lecture XIII: ‘Different Attractions of Different Temperaments; or, How to Avoid the Transient Union and Secure the Permanent Marriage’, The Great Harmonia, Vol. 4 (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1864).
7. Woodbury M. Fernald, ‘First Causes of Character’, ‘Intellectual and Moral Qualities Transmissable from Parents to Children’, ‘Connection of the Natural Birth with the Spiritual; Marriage, Etc.’, ‘Possibilities and Impossibilities of Human Perfection, As Based Upon the Law of Hereditary Descent’, and ‘Laws and Conditions of Sexual Intercourse, Parentage, Etc.’, A View at the Foundations: Or, First Causes of Character, As Operative Before Birth, from Hereditary and Spiritual Sources (Boston: William Spencer, 1865), pp. 9–18, 19–32, 47–64, 65–103, 117–45.
8. Paschal Beverly Randolph, excerpt from After Death; or, Disembodied Man [Being the Sequel to Dealings with the Dead], 2nd edn. (Boston: P. B. Randolph, 1868).
9. Viscount Adare, ‘Séance No. 14: Home Channels Eugenic Advice Under Control of Doctor Elliotson’, Experiences in Spiritualism (privately published, 1870).
10. Séance transcripts from the Henry Louis Rey Circle, New Orleans:
i. Mars 25, 1869, ‘Esclavage Physique et Moral’ par Lamenais (followed by translation of transcript by Grandjean);
ii. Du 5 Avril, 1869, ‘L’Esclavage Moral’ par Henri Rey (Signed Vincent De Paul) (translation of transcript by Grandjean);
iii. Du 14 Juillet, 1870, par Henry Clay (translation of transcript by Granjean);
iv. Le 28 Juillet, 1870, par De Brugs/De Burgs? (translation of transcript by C. Ferguson);
v. Du 26 Octobre, 1870, poem ‘Black in the Land of America’, signed ‘A Black Man’;
vi. Du 9 Novembre, 1870, message on racial integration of schools, signed ‘W. R. Meadows’;
vii. 4 Juillet, 1871, message from Washington on ‘Black Emancipation’;
viii. 8 February 1872, Grandjean translation of message from John Brown;
ix. 17 December 1872, Grandjean translation of spirit message from Indian spirit Poho;
x. 15 March 1873, message on the Spirit of Body, but Lamenais;
xi. 6 December 1873, message on the meaning of Deformites and the Appearance of the Post-Life Body signed ‘A Brother’;
xii. 4 September 1874, message from Abraham Lincoln.
11. Edward B. Tylor, ‘Survival in Culture’, Primitive Culture (London: John Murray, 1871), pp. 101–8, 120–44.
12. Gerald Massey, Man in Search of his Soul During Fifty Thousand Years, and How He Found It! (London: Villa Bordighiera, 1887).
13. Mrs J. H. Conant, ‘Appendix to Preface’ [Indian Spirit Poetry] and assorted messages on race and the spirit body, Flashes of Light from the Spirit Land (Boston: William White & Co, 1872), pp. 20–7, 68–72, 298–300, 321–3, 367.
14. P. B. Randolph, ‘Ravalette’, The Wonderful Story of Ravalette (Toledo, OH: Corson Randolph, 1876), pp. 126–43.
15. ‘On Indian Spirits’, excerpt from ‘On Spiritualism in the Slaveholding South’, and excerpt from ‘On Indian Spirits at St. Paul’s Cathedral’, Autobiography of Emma Hardinge Britten (Manchester: John Heywood, 1900), pp. 129–41, 142–50, 210–12.
16. Israel Zangwill, ‘The Choice of Parents’, Without Prejudice (London: 1902), pp. 194–207.
17. W. J. Colville, ‘The Ethics of Mental Healing’, Mental Healing and Bodily Welfare (London: The Power-Book Co., 1914), pp. 5–24.
Volume II: Spiritualism in Literature
edited and introduced by Patricia Pulham
Part 1: Spiritualism in Poetry
18. Robert Browning, ‘Mr Sludge "The Medium"’, Dramatis Personae (London: Chapman and Hall, 1864), pp. 171–236.
19. Gerald Massey, ‘A Tale of Eternity’, A Tale of Eternity and Other Poems (London: Strahan & Co., 1870), pp. 1–110.
Part 2: Spiritualism in the Novel
20. Frances Kingman, Intuition (Hartford: F. Kingman, 1870), pp. 9–20, 208–27, 238–58.
21. Henry James, The Bostonians (London and New York: Macmillan and Co., 1886), pp. 57–64.
22. Robert Hichens, Flames: A London Phantasy (London: William Heinemann, 1897), pp. 1–31, 57–61, 63–82, 124–44, 198–203, 227–41, 335–40, 352–72, 396–414.
Part 3: Communing Spirits
23. Josiah Hone, ‘The Loved Shade’, Tales of the Spirit World (London: C. H. Clarke, 1868), pp. 64–72.
24. Hugh Conway [F. J. Fargus], ‘The Daughter of the Stars: A Psychological Romance’ and ‘A Speculative Spirit’, Bound Together: Tales (London: Remington & Co., 1884), pp. 225–54, 314–28.
Part 4: Séances and Clairvoyance
25. Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘Playing with Fire’, Round the Fire Stories (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1908), pp. 129–48.
26. Lettice Galbraith, ‘In the Séance Room’, New Ghost Stories (London: Ward, Lock, Bowden and Co., 1893), pp. 67–88.
27. Elizabeth D’Espérance, ‘Psychic Stories: Introductory’ and ‘Pepi: Told by a Clairvoyante’, Northern Lights (London: George Redway, 1899), pp. 9–23, 120–38.
28. Florenace Marryat, There is No Death (New York: National Book Company, 1891), pp. 15–22, 73–86.
29. Arthur Conan Doyle, extracts from The Land of Mist (London: Hutchinson & Co. Ltd, 1926).
Part 5: Spirit Writings
30. Lizzie Doten, ‘"Love" by "Shakspeare" [sic]’, ‘"For A’ That" by "Burns"’, and ‘"Resurrexi" by "Poe"’, Poems from the Inner Life (Boston: William White and Company, 1864), pp. 92–6, 97–8, 104–8.
31. Thomas Power James, The Mystery of Edwin Drood: Complete (Brattleboro, Vermont: T. P. James, 1873), pp. 218–22.
32. W. B. Yeats, A Packet for Ezra Pound (Dublin: Cuala Press), pp. 1–37.
Part 6: Hauntings
33. Herman Melville, ‘The Apple-Tree Table; Or, Original Spiritual Manifestations’, The Apple-Tree Table and Other Sketches  (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1922), pp. 9–51.
34. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, ‘The Haunted and the Haunters, or The House and the Brain’, A Strange Story; The Haunted and the Haunters, or The House and the Brain; Zanoni  (London: Routledge, Warne & Routledge, 1864), pp. 325–43.
35. Josiah Hone, ‘Murder Will Out’ and ‘Haunted to Death’, Tales of the Spirit World (London: C. H. Clarke, 1868), pp. 3–19.
36. Margaret Oliphant, ‘Earthbound’, Fraser’s Magazine, Jan. 1880, 1, 18–44.
37. Vernon Lee, ‘Amour Dure: Passages from the Diary of Spiridion Trepka’, Hauntings: Fantastic Stories (London: William Heinemann, 1890), pp. 3–37.
Volume III: Spiritualism, Science, and Technology
edited and introduced by Rosario Arias
Part 1: Spiritualism and Science before Psychic Research
38. Henry Spicer, ‘Noted Media’, Sights and Sounds: The Mystery of the Day, Comprising an Entire History of the American "Spirit" Manifestations (London: Thomas Bosworth, 1853), pp. 55–85.
39. William Benjamin Carpenter, ‘Electrobiology and Mesmerism’, Quarterly Review, 1853, 93, 3, 501–57.
40. Robert Hare, ‘Plates 1, 2, 4’, Experimental Investigations of the Spirit Manifestations, Demonstrating the Existence of Spirits and Their Communion with Mortals (New York: Partridge & Brittan, 1855).
41. Robert Hare, ‘The Author’s Discovery of His Powers as a Medium’, Experimental Investigations of the Spirit Manifestations, Demonstrating the Existence of Spirits and Their Communion with Mortals (New York: Partridge & Brittan, 1855), pp. 167–8.
42. Alonzo E. Newton, extract from The Educator: Being Suggestions, Theoretical and Practical, Designed to Promote Man-Culture and Integral Reform, with a View to the Ultimate Establishment of a Divine Social State on earth Comprised in A Series of Revealments From Organized Associations In the Spirit-Life, through John Murray Spear (Boston: Office of Practical Spiritualists, 1857).
43. William Howitt, ‘The Case of Scientific Men, and Men of Modern Churches’, The Spiritual Times: A Weekly Organ Devoted to the Facts, Philosophy, and Practical Uses of Modern Spiritualism, 6 January 1866, pp. 1–2.
44. Alfred Russel Wallace, The Scientific Aspect of the Supernatural (London: F. Farrah, 1866), pp. 1–20.
45. Epes Sargent, Planchette, or the Despair of Science. Being a Full Account of Modern Spiritualism, Its Phenomena and the Various Theories Regarding It. With a Survey of French Spiritism. 1869. (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887), pp. iii–viii, 1–15.
46. James Burns, ‘About Scientific Spiritualism’, Medium and Daybreak, 1870, 1, 201–2.
47. Emma Hardinge, ‘The Scientific Investigation of Spiritualism’, The Spiritual Magazine, 1 Jan. 1871, 3–17.
48. Newton Crosland, Apparitions: An Essay Explanatory of Old Facts and a New Theory (1873), pp. 24–7.
49. Alfred Russel Wallace, A Defence of Modern Spiritualism (Boston: Colby & Rich, 1874), pp. 5–25.
50. William Crookes, ‘Spiritualism Viewed by the Light of Modern Science’, Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns, 1874), pp. 1–8.
51. William Crookes, ‘Experimental Investigation of a New Force’, Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns, 1874), pp. 9–19.
52. William Crookes, ‘Psychic Force and Modern Spiritualism’, Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns, 1874), pp. 45–72.
53. William Crookes, ‘Miss Florence Cook’s Mediumship’, Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns, 1874), pp. 102–7.
54. Cromwell F. Varley, ‘Electrical Experiments With Miss Cook While Entranced’, Spiritualist, 1874, 4, 134–5.
55. Charles Carleton Massey, ‘Spiritualism and Men of Science’, Spiritualist, 1876, 9, 21–2.
56. William Harrison, ‘Weighing A Medium During the Production of Spiritual Manifestations’, Spiritualist, 1878, 13, 3, 210–16.
57. William Harrison, ‘Variations in the Weight of a Medium during Manifestations’, Spiritualist, 17 May 1878, 13, 235.
Part 2: Spiritualism, Science, and Psychic Research
58. Edmund Gurney, Fredric W. H. Myers, and Frank Podmore, Introduction to Phantasms of the Living, Vol. 1 (London: Rooms of the Society for Psychical Research, 1886), pp. xxxv–lxxi.
59. ‘The Fallibility of Science’, Medium and Daybreak, 1893, 24, 199.
60. Oliver Lodge, ‘Experience of Unusual Physical Phenomena Occurring in the Presence of an Entranced Person (Eusapia Paladino)’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1893–4, 6, 306–60.
61. Isaac K. Funk, ‘Sir William Crookes’ Provisional Explanation of Telepathy—Harmony with Natural Law’, The Widow’s Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1904), pp. 518–20.
62. Isaac K. Funk, ‘The Finding of "The Widow’s Mite", and Similar Psychic Phenomena: The View of Leading Psychologists’, The Widow’s Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1904), pp. 155–84.
63. Isaac K. Funk, ‘Professor Hyslop Obtains What He Believes to be Strong Proof of Personal Identity’, The Widow’s Mite and Other Psychic Phenomena (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1904), pp. 486–7.
64. James H. Hyslop, ‘History of the Piper Case’, Science and a Future Life (Boston: Herbert B. Turner, 1905), pp. 113–33.
65. Cesare Lombroso, After Death-What: Spiritistic Phenomena and Their Interpretation (Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1909), pp. v–vii.
66. William Jackson Crawford, Experiments in Psychical Science: Levitation, ‘Contact’, and ‘the Direct Voice’ (London: John Watkins, 1919), pp. 1–17.
67. Houdini Exposes the Tricks Used by the Boston Medium ‘Margery’ to win the $2,500 Prized Offered by the Scientific American. Also a Complete Exposure of Argamasilla, the Famous Spaniard who Baffled Noted Scientists of Europe and America, with his Claim to X-ray Vision (New York: Adams Press, c. 1924), pp. 33–9.
Part 3: Spiritualism, Science, and Technology
68. William Crookes, ‘The Last of Katie King’, Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Reprinted from The Quarterly Journal of Science (London: J. Burns, 1874), pp. 108–12.
69. ‘Occult Telegraphy’, Light, 7 April 1888, 162–3.
70. J. Traill Taylor, ‘"Spirit Photography", with Remarks on Fluorescence’, in Andrew Glendinning (ed.), The Veil Lifted: Modern Developments of Spirit Photography (London: Whittaker, 1894), pp. 9–52.
71. The Veil Lifted: Modern Developments of Spirit Photography, ed. Andrew Glendinning (London: Whittaker, 1894), pp. v–viii.
72. ‘Miscellanea: The Beauty of Katie King Described’, in The Veil Lifted: Modern Developments of Spirit Photography, ed. Andrew Glendinning (London: Whittaker, 1894), pp. 122–3.
73. ‘Miscellanea: [Alfred Russel Wallace and Spirit Photography]’, in The Veil Lifted: Modern Developments of Spirit Photography, ed. Andrew Glendinning (London: Whittaker, 1894), pp. 124–6.
74. P. T. McGrath, ‘The Future of Wireless Telegraphy’, North American Review, August 1902, 175, 263–74.
75. James Coates, Photographing the Invisible: Practical Studies in Supernormal Photography, Script and Other Allied Phenomena (London: Fowler & Co. and Chicago: The Advanced Thought Publishing, 1911), pp. 1–15.
76. Everard Feilding, ‘An Experiment in Faking "Spirit" Photographs’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 20 Feb. 1922, 219–23.
77. C. E. Baddeley et al., ‘Correspondence: II. On "An Experiment in Faking ‘Spirit’ Photographs’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 20 April 1922, 259–66.
78. E. Ford, ‘A Case of Fraud with the Crewe Circle’, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, May 1922, 20, 271–83.
79. ‘Ghosts That Talk—By Radio’, Literary Digest, 21 Oct. 1922, 28–9.
Volume IV: Anti-Spiritualism
edited and introduced by Tatiana Kontou
80. Prof. Charles G. Page, ‘Table Tipping’, Psychomancy, Spirit Rappings and Table Tippings Exposed (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1853), pp. 73–96.
81. Anon, ‘The Spirits Come to Town’, Chambers Edinburgh Journal, May 1853, 321–4.
82. George Cruickshank, ‘Addenda’, A Discovery Concerning Ghosts; with a Rap at the ‘Spirit Rappers’ (London: Frederick Arnold, 1863), pp. 29–48.
83. Rev. John Gregory, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Spiritualists Pray to the Devil’, ‘Spiritualism Produces Insanity’, and ‘Spirit Demented’, An Expose of Spiritualism (Montpelier: Polland’s Steam Printing Establishment, 1872), pp. 33–8, 42–3, 47–9, 71–5.
84. Anon, ‘A Spiritualist Séance’, New Quarterly Magazine, Oct. 1873, 147–66.
85. William Alexander Hammond, Spiritualism and Allied Causes and Conditions of Nervous Derangement (New York: G. P. Putnams and Sons, 1876), pp. 93–117.
86. Anon, ‘At a Spiritual Séance’, Leisure Hour, 1877, 524–6.
87. L. S. Forbes Winslow, Spiritualist Madness (London: Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1877), pp. 3–34.
88. William B. Carpenter, ‘Table Turning and Table-Talking’ and ‘Spiritualism’ in Mesmerism, Spiritualism, &c., Historically & Scientifically Considered : Being Two Lectures Delivered at the London Institution, with Preface and Appendix (London: Longmans, Green, 1877), pp. 97–100, 101–16.
89. John Tyndall, ‘Science and the "Spirits"’, Fragments of Science: A Series of Detached Essays, Addresses and Reviews (London: Longmans, Green Co., 1879).
90. Henry Maudsley, ‘Hallucinations and Illusions’ and ‘Hallucinations and Illusions Continued’, Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings (London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1886), pp. 162–86, 187–219.
91. Reuben Briggs Davenport, ‘Origin of the Fraud’ and ‘A Scientific Jury’, The Death-Blow to Spiritualism: Being the True Story of the Fox Sisters, as Revealed by the Authority of Margaret Fox Kane and Catherine Fox Jencken (New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1888), pp. 81–93, 164–200.
92. Andrew Lang, ‘The Logic of Table Turning’ in Cock Lane and Common Sense (London: Longmans, Green, 1894), pp. 304–32.
93. David P. Abbot, ‘Test with Envelope’, Behind the Scenes with the Mediums (Chicago: The Open Court Press, 1909), pp. 14–19, 70–5.
94. Jane T. Stoddart, ‘Disturbers of the Dead’ and ‘Is There Danger from the Other Side?’, The Case Against Spiritualism (London and New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919), pp. 31–9, 107–8.
95. George Leo Wilkins, The Physical Phenomena of Spiritualism Revealed. Personal Experiences with Mediums, Séances and Ghosts (Chicago: The Bible Institute Coportage Association, 1922), pp. 41–7.
96. William Samuel Sadler, ‘The Psychic Phenomena of Spiritualism’, The Truth About Spiritualism (Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., 1923), pp. 121–66.
97. Harry Houdini, ‘How Mediums Obtain Information’ and ‘Magicians as Detectors of Fraud’, A Magician Amongst the Spirits (New York: Harper, 1924), pp. 217–28, 244–65.
98. James J. Walsh, ‘Scientists and Spiritualism’ and ‘Spiritualism and Hysteria’, Spiritualism: A Fake (Can We Communicate with the Dead?) (Boston: Stratford Company, 1925).
Co-published by Routledge and Edition Synapse, the Victorian Concepts series makes key archival source material readily available to scholars, researchers, and students. Selected and introduced by expert editors, the gathered materials are reproduced in facsimile, giving users a strong sense of immediacy to the texts and permitting citation to the original pagination.