(2367 words)
  • Bridget Kathleen Gwendoline Bennett (University of Leeds)

Historical Context Essay

“Spiritualism”, sometimes called “Modern Spiritualism”, refers to a set of connected practices all based on a central premise that the living are able to communicate with the spirit world through sensitive individuals called mediums. The origins of spiritualism are undoubtedly far more complex than they have sometimes been given credit for. The religion, or movement—precise designation is difficult as it takes so many forms—drew from the animist beliefs of Native Americans and others, as well as Africanist beliefs and practices, and amalgamated them with biblical ideas of spirit possession and prophecy and other ideas about the structure of the spirit world taken from the writings of the Swedish mystic Emmanuel Swedenborg a…

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Bennett, Bridget Kathleen Gwendoline. "Spiritualism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 November 2006
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1032, accessed 27 September 2016.]