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History of Spiritualism

Post n°13 pubblicato il 01 Giugno 2007 da supergiuggiola

Modern belief in Spiritualism came about in 1848. This practice was founded on the belief that life existed after death and that the spirit existed beyond the body. But these ideas are shared also by others religions: the difference is that spiritualists believed that these spirits could (and did) communicate with the living through a “medium”: sensitive people who were in touch with the next world while in a trance. These mediums could pass along messages from the other side: these phenomena included strange noises, rappings, lights, the levitation of objects, disembodied voices and even apparitions, all happening with no known cause. All this was produced during what were called “séances” or sittings. The room where the séance took place often contained a large table that the attenders could sit around. Most sittings had one thing in common: they were always held in dark rooms, which concealed the practice of fraud!

Spiritualism was born thanks to two sisters, called Margaret and Kate Fox. They had just moved in a new house, when banging and rattling sounds began to pound loudly each night. Kate woke up screaming one night, saying that a cold hand had touched her on the face. Her father, John Fox, was not a superstitious man, and was perplexed, but he could find no explanation for the weird noises, while his superstitious wife was already convinced that the house had a ghost.

One day Kate spoke up, addressing the unseen presence. She called out: “ Here, Mr. Splitfoot. Do as I do!”, then she clapped her hands together twice and, seconds later, two knocks came in reply. Mrs. Fox tried asking aloud questions of facts, such as the ages of her daughters. To her surprise, each reply was correct.

They also invented a form of alphabet using a series of knocks. The two toe-cracking teens who claimed to be spiritualists were both purported to have the special power to communicate with the spirits and the news (of unearthly communications with the spirit) quickly spread. By November 1849 they were both giving public performances of their skills and the Spiritualist movement was born. Just like the Fox sisters, also other discovered they were able to communicate with the rapping spirits.

By 1888 the Fox sisters renounced their claims of special powers: Kate admitted they had fooled everyone by simply cracking their toes to mimic rapping sounds from the dead. A year later they retracted that confession (because they needed to earn money helding sittings), making the whole deal even more confusing. Other mediums forced them to retract the confession: in fact the phenomena had spread from the United States to France and the rest of Europe, where for several years it became a popular, even fashionable form of entertainment. Skeptics now claim the sisters were frauds who made a living out of pretending to talk to the spirits of the dead. Believers still maintain the truth of the sisters' original story and Spiritualism continues to have hundreds of thousands of followers.

In fact it’s so easy to fool thousands of people who were looking for a miracle and many mediums began lining their pockets with the money of naive clients. Of course, that’s not to say that all mediums were dishonest, but until now we have no scientific proof of the possibility of communicating with spirits, since every time a medium is checked by someone competent, who might recognise tricks, he is found out to be a fraudster. In fact there’s a sort of rule that says: If controls are 0, phenomena are 100, if controls are 100, phenomena are 0.



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Nickname: supergiuggiola
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