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Spiritualism: A Popular History from 1847

SPIRITUALISM

SPIRITUALISM

A POPULAR HISTORY FROM 1847


BY

JOSEPH McCABE

AUTHOR OF
"THE SOUL OF EUROPE," "GOETHE," "THE EVOLUTION OF MIND," ETC.



NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1920

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

PREFACE

Books about Spiritualism have been so numerous of late that the reader with little leisure probably finds it more difficult than ever to form an opinion. The only new work that can be of real use is a short and clear historical sketch of the entire movement. Those who make history, the living actors, rarely see its significance. The events of to-day take on swollen and gigantic forms, while the events of yesterday and the day before shrink into almost indistinguishable shapes on the dim horizon. It spoils one's perspective and sense of values. It obscures the real meaning of things. Life is a river rather than a procession. To understand it you must ascend the upper reaches, trace its tributaries, and gaze at the hills and dales which directed the waters into the river-bed. Most useful of all would it be to rise high above the earth and survey the entire course, from the hill-sides on which the first showers fall to the point where the waters merge into the sea.

That is to take an historical view of a human development, and no other view is quite so Instructive. Spiritualism lends itself to this kind of view, as it is little more than seventy years old. One can survey its entire course in a quite modest work without omitting anything that is essential for understanding it. There is, moreover, no such work available; indeed, histories of Spiritualism are curiously rare in the vast literature of the subject. Apart from a few works, such as those of Capron and Mrs. Hardinge, which give an enthusiastic account of the quite early years of the movement, we have in English only the large and learned work of Mr. Podmore, which is rather a store of material than an historical sketch, and a very scanty and almost useless work by Mr. Hill. There is, moreover, no work in a foreign tongue that one might profitably translate for English readers. De Vesme only reaches the threshold of his subject; Lehmann and Kiesewetter are even less helpful than Podmore to the man who wants a bird's-eye view of the development of Spiritualism. That is what I seek to give—a simple evolutionary interpretation of one of the most remarkable movements of modern times.

J. M.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER I
PAGE
The Preparation of the World 9
CHAPTER II
The First Raps 27
CHAPTER III
The Spread of the Movement 47
CHAPTER IV
The High-Water Mark 64
CHAPTER V
The Recantation-Movement 81
CHAPTER VI
The Invasion of Europe 98
CHAPTER VII
The Movement Established in England 115
CHAPTER VII
The Golden Age in England 133
CHAPTER IX
The Reaction in England 150
CHAPTER X
A Decade of Depression 170
CHAPTER XI
The New Spiritualism 184
CHAPTER XII
The Revival of the Older Spiritualism 204
CHAPTER XIII
The Recent Growth 230
Index 241