Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, a new belief system that would come to be known as Spiritualism would sweep across the English-speaking world. Jump-started by the infamous Fox sisters and their supposed contact with spirits, the movement posited that certain people known as mediums had the ability to communicate with loved ones who had passed away. Many of these contacts were supposedly made at spooky séances, at which folks would sit in the dark, join hands, and have all sorts of supposedly paranormal shenanigans occur, such as tables tilting to and fro, glowing musical instruments appearing out of thin air, disembodied voices, and sometimes mediums emitting a luminous fluid called ectoplasm from their noses and mouths (eww). On this eerie and spiritual installment, join Tom and Jenny as they delve into the mysterious history of the Spiritualist movement and the tricks and tropes of the séance, including the method in which some fraudulent mediums accomplished their purportedly supernatural feats. It’s ghostly and ghastly all up in the parlor on this fun and phantasmic episode 306.
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Channel art and audio & video editing by Jenny Ashford. Music & sound effects courtesy of freesound.org users jamespotterboy, corsica-s, enjoypa, capturedlv, luffy, kiddpark, and justkiddink. Video clips courtesy of Videezy & Videvo.