Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge -- V -- SEANCES, MEDIUMS, AND SOCIETIES


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.

A/N:  I was going to do Visualization, but this was much more fun.

Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me.  I found them on Google.

23 comments:

  1. I love reading about the Victorian Age's obsession with seances and the occult. It's always interesting to hear about all the famous people who got involved, from Arthur Conan Doyle, as you said, to Harry Houdini.

    Wonder why we don't have people claiming to do the ectoplasm trick these days. ;)

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    1. I read an article from some reputable source although I'm blanking out right now. Too cynical and too easily disproven now. Sigh.

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  2. This was also a neat post. All these kinds of things you mention are so interesting, and actually one of the A to Z hosts is doing stuff on supernatural versus paranormal. If you haven't been to visit, maybe it would interest you? http://authorstephentremp.blogspot.com/ -- Jeri from storytellingmatters.wordpress.com

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    1. Will definitely check it out. Thanks for visiting!

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  3. The Victorian's age obsession with the occult is fascinating. They're always portrayed as prim and proper, it seems weird to me they'd get all gung-ho about that.

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    1. There was the scientific upheaval of Darwin, the socioeconomic development of the Industrial Age and science explosions like electricity along with all those archeological digs happening and the empires expansion into places like India. Plus the upper ten thousand were always bored.

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  4. Even today there are remnants of the Victorian era obsession with the paranormal. Most people think ghost busters was just a silly movie, but there are people run businesses claiming to rid of ghosts in haunted houses.

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    1. Used to live in a house that had -- let's say some unusual occuranxes -- that happened periodically. So I have a pretty open mind about ghosts.

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  5. Bless the Victorians and their revival of the occult. It gave rise to some fantastic literature. The Victorian era is, in my opinion, extremely interesting in general.

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    1. So true. The rise of science and technology clashing with held beliefs.

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  6. I wonder could hypnosis cure amnesia or tinnitus?

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  7. Very interesting post! I have friends that are in groups like this and they spend crazy money on their scientific equipment. They take their hobby seriously.

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    1. Thank you.

      I can imagine. Thermal cameras are not cheap. But better to see ghost with my dear.

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  8. Interesting how this developed alongside the big scientific advances of the time. They weren't mutually exclusive, quite the opposite.

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    1. I know. It sounds strange but true.

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  9. LOVE this--one of my favorite topics ♥

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  10. Ghost hunt sounds like a fun show!
    I have one ghost/haunt story that I tell around Halloween, but it is from the 1920s and has to do with Egyptian curses (obviously). I was drawn to it as an archaeologist, since we usually disturb so many graves...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. It's one of my favorite animes. I would love to read the light novels it is based on, but they are in Japanese still. What sucks more is that the manga is out of print too.

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  11. It almost seems like a contradiction that a period that was so uptight about some things would embrace things like spiritualism isn't it. Great post :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. It does but with all the archeological stuff they were doing and the expansion of the empire into mystic India and places like that. I could see how that would bring about some of it.

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  12. Those Victorians were hell raisers! LOL! I've never been to a séances but I'd love to attend one. Not to connect with anyone, but just to watch...ya know?

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