Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:February 2012
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 fraudsters. Volume 2, focusing on English and American Spiritualism, sets the movement in its cultural and intellectual context and includes a discussion of the relationship of Spiritualism to science. The volume includes invaluable accounts of scientific investigations into materialisations, spirit photographs, clairvoyance, hallucinations and automatism. It contains a summary and conclusion for the two volumes. 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.