I have imagined that the commands from the top not long after the start of the First War (‘cease this unseemly obsession with death’, and ‘stop parading bereavement’) had a lot to do with the huge popularity of these back room sessions. Folks yearned for some kind of contact with those who died – being denied any outward display of grief, and (with soldiers killed abroad) even a funeral.
My wonderful grandmother (born 1879) regularly thrilled us with stories spun out in rapid joined up writing, or a glass skimming around the tabletop in the firelight. Popular arts at the time, it seemed.
Very true to Spiritualism’s early roots and beliefs. Radio was invented around the time of Spiritualism’s heyday, and enthusiasts listened to the crackle of static for the voices of the dead to come through.
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