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Before the Ouija board: William Rossetti’s diary gives an insight into Victorian séances


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Death and disease are no strangers to the streets of Britain. By the late 19th century, tens of thousands of people had contracted fatal infections, such as cholera, smallpox and scarlatina, beginning with the first cholera epidemic of 1832, when detailed records first started being kept.

Wave after wave of typhoid also swept over the population where cause, diagnosis and cure were all equally uncertain – and social class provided no protection. In his novel Bleak House, Charles Dickens recorded “fever” deaths in the slums of London. But the most prominent flesh-and-bone victim was Queen Victoria’s own husband, Prince Albert. He was diagnosed with typhoid and died in December 1861.

Meanwhile, a bizarre form of comfort was at hand. In 1848 in Rochester, New York, two sisters claimed to have received messages from the spirit of a long-dead inhabitant of their house, and their conversation with him fired the imagination of America. Soon “table-rapping” swept the American continent, modern spiritualism was born and in the early 1850s it crossed the Atlantic. Séances began to take place in the parlours and dining rooms of France, Germany, Italy and Britain. All communication with the spirits was done through letters of the alphabet, similar to ouija boards.

https://theconversation.com/before-the-ouija-board-william-rossettis-diary-gives-an-insight-into-victorian-seances-154297

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That period was a turning point into modern psychical research and understanding. I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that true paranormal activity does often occur in these cases and it was verified by serious conservative researchers.

However the insights gathered from these careful studies has to compete with those who prefer a materialist explanation for all such phenomena. That attitude has produced almost a second Dark Age in human history. The first Dark Age was produced by religion and this second Dark Age is being produced by materialist science.

In the end, truth always wins.

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It was very interesting I have to say I’m actually glad I read it. It’s like anything else in the world you take from it what you want.

Edited by Freez1
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In the 1930's Groucho Marx attended a seance. Toward the end, the participants were allowed to ask the spirit one question. Groucho asked the spirit,
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8 hours ago, Uberic said:

In the 1930's Groucho Marx attended a seance. Toward the end, the participants were allowed to ask the spirit one question. Groucho asked the spirit,

what? what did he ask the spirit?

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The article is particularly vague. Like saying there was this detailed diary of the seances , yet very little detail of what actually happened or what was said is mentioned. Like when the last seance was mentioned , it said they asked about the nature of Jesus and the manifestations and yet very little (actually nothing ) , is said about it. Lest one tries to read that cursive writing that is rather difficult to read on the note from the article. Maybe its in there . i dont know. It's mostly like a history lesson in the particular characters.

Edited by razman
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6 hours ago, Poncho_Peanatus said:

what? what did he ask the spirit?

That great comic Groucho Marx once reluctantly agreed to his wife’s request to attend a seance given by a fashionable Los Angeles clairvoyant.

The seance was held in the darkened parlour of a wealthy believer. The other guests were speaking in hushed tones when the medium — an elderly lady — began to chant unintelligibly, before emitting a strange humming sound.

She then went into a trance. ‘I am in touch, I am in touch with the Other Side,’ she said. ‘Does anyone have a question?’

Groucho put up his hand. ‘Yes, I do,’ he said. ‘What is the capital of North Dakota?’

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