VICTORIAN AGE -- The Victorian Age saw one of the strongest revivals of occultism, supernatural experimentation, and spiritualism. Mesmerism, séances, psychical research, and much more exploded through all ranks of society during this period.
The famous Fox sisters of Hyndeville, New York were one of the first to begin the American occult revival in 1848. They claimed that they could speak with ghosts through knocks. Soon mediums were as popular as wine as entertainment and soon Gothic elements entered mainstream books. Charles Dickens, for example, had this book with ghosts. A Christmas Carol, haven't heard of it, right?
Many famous people like Conan Doyle were more interested in mesmerism (or in today's language, hypnosis). Franz Anton Mesmer created the theory of animal magnetism in 1766 and used mesmerism to heal. The term hypnosis (coming from the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos) did not come about until 1843 and was coined by the English scientist James Braid.
Books like Aradia or the Gospel of the Witches by Charles G. Leland and The Veil of Isis came out. The Veil of Isis or Mysteries of the Druids by W. Winwood Reade, published in 1861. Aradia was one of the first neo-pagan books to be written It was published in 1899. You can read it on the Sacred Text website.
Societies dedicated to magic, esotericism, occultism, and spiritualism flourished.
A group was founded to study paranormal activity. The Society of Psychical Research (or for you Ghost Hunt fans B.S.P.R.) was founded in 1882. They were the first society to study supernatural phenomenon using scientific methods.
Bonus points: Is E. Tisane a real person? I cannot find mention of him anywhere. Supposedly he was a French policeman who created the criteria for poltergeists. I'm wondering if he was a made up person by the writer of Ghost Hunt.
Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me. I found them on Google.