By Frank Podmore
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:August 2011
Original Publication Year:1902
Subjects: History of ideas and intellectual history
Frank Podmore (1856–1910) published Modern Spiritualism in two volumes in 1902. It was the first comprehensive history of the Spiritualist movement. Podmore traces the historical development of Spiritualism from its earliest origins in animal magnetism and alchemy, to its apogee in the early nineteenth century and through to its decline from 1870 onwards, which Podmore associated with the growth of professional psychics and an increase in fraud. Volume 1 covers the key figures of the movement: Paracelsus, Mesmer, Bertrand, Esdaile, and Andrew Jackson Davis. Book 1 focuses on French, English and German Spiritualism and Book 2 on American Spiritualism and its beginnings in Arcadia. The volume includes invaluable accounts of scientific investigations into possession, poltergeists, clairvoyance, and trances. Podmore was a leading member of the Victorian Society for Psychical Research and his work remains an indispensable source for the modern-day historian of nineteenth-century Spiritualism and occult practices.
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