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  Spiritualism was a kind of industrial-society equivalent of the belief common in all religions and at all periods that our spirits survive the death of the body, and pass into another world in which (with luck and the right rituals) they can be contacted. The spiritualist movement began in North America in the 1840s, and was rapidly taken up in Europe. ‘Experiments’ were set up in contacting spirits, at seances, through mediums, by such means as table-tapping and the Ouija board. Spiritualism became a favourite after-dinner pastime among the middle class, and mediums and other experts—for example the many ‘investigators’ who set up ‘scientific’ experiments to test spirits or record them on film or cylinder—made fortunes. Freud\'s and Jung\'s investigations of the unconscious gave spiritualism a boost in the 1920s, and the present writer can still remember going ‘ghost-hunting’ in the 1950s with a group of perfectly sane scientists (geologists, physicists and psychologists). The Society for Psychic Research, set up in Britain in 1880, still exists, and although spiritualism has nothing like the profile it did 100 years ago—its supporters deserted en masse to the various New Age and mystic cults of the 1960s—it still occasionally makes news. KMcL

Further reading Oliver J. Lodge, Raymond, or Life and Death, with Examples of the Evidence for the Survival of Memory and Affection after Death (1916).



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