Dating for spiritualists
Such links with reform movements, often radically socialist, had already been prepared in the 1840s, as the example of Andrew Jackson Davis shows.After 1848, many socialists became ardent spiritualists or occultists. For the spiritualist doctrine of Allan Kardec, see Spiritism.For the general concept of spiritual experiences, see Spirituality.Davis was a practising Mesmerist, faith healer and clairvoyant from Blooming Grove, New York.
Then, “in 1741, he also began to have a series of intense mystical experiences, dreams, and visions, claiming that he had been called by God to reform Christianity and introduce a new church." Mesmer did not contribute religious beliefs, but he brought a technique, later known as hypnotism, that it was claimed could induce trances and cause subjects to report contact with supernatural beings.Spiritualists believe in the possibility of communication with the spirits of dead people, whom they regard as "discarnate humans".They believe that spirit mediums are gifted to carry on such communication, but that anyone may become a medium through study and practice.Amy and Isaac Post, Hicksite Quakers from Rochester, New York, had long been acquainted with the Fox family, and took the two girls into their home in the late spring of 1848.Immediately convinced of the veracity of the sisters' communications, they became early converts and introduced the young mediums to their circle of radical Quaker friends.
The evidence of the senses appealed to practically-minded Americans, and the Fox sisters became a sensation.