1848 (March 31): The Fox Sisters claimed to have communicated with the spirit of a dead man, via a system of raps and knocks, at their home in Hydesville, New York.
1849-1850s: The Fox Sisters traveled throughout upstate New York, New England, and Southern Ontario giving public demonstrations of their alleged ability to communicate with spirits. Numerous other women “mediums” also began to demonstrate their ability to communicate with the dead through “trance speaking.”
1850s: Christian leaders began to warn their congregations about the evils of Spiritualism, which were considered to be blasphemous.
1852: The first issue of the Spiritualist weekly paper The Spiritual Telegraph (1852–1860) was released in New York.
1855: Emma Hardinge Britten moved from London to New York where she discovered Spiritualism and became a well-known medium.
1857: The first issue of the Spiritualist paper Banner of Light (1857–1907) was released in Boston.
1859: Spiritualist medium Amanda Britt Spence delivered a speech in Boston that explicitly supported equality of the sexes and challenged traditional gender roles. Spiritualist Eliza W. Farnham delivered her first lecture in San Francisco, marking Spiritualism’s move westward.
1864: Emma Hardinge Britten lectured in San Francisco for the first time.
1865: Mrs. Laura Cuppy, suffragist and Spiritualist, moved to San Francisco where she contributed to a growing Spiritualist movement on the West Coast.
1865: Dr. Juliet Stillman spoke of women’s health and dress reform at a Spiritualist convention in Chicago.
1867: San Francisco’s first Spiritualist paper The Banner of Progress (1867–1869) was founded.
1868: Elizabeth Stuart Phelps published The Gates Ajar, her first in a series of Spiritualist novels.
1870: Emma Hardinge Britten published Modern American Spiritualism.
1870s: Mediumship proliferated, giving rise to multiple kinds of mediumistic activity, such as physical mediumship, slate writing, automatic writing, and trance-speaking.
1874: Dr. Frederick R. Marvin published The Pathology and Treatment of Mediomania, pathologizing female mediumship. The Spiritualist Amanda Slocum and her husband started Common Sense (1874–1878), a pro-women’s suffrage Spiritualist journal in San Francisco.
1875: Spiritualist Victoria Woodhull of New York ran for President of the United States.
1880s: Spiritualist séances grew less “spiritual” and more theatrical. Older and more established mediums began to distance themselves from flamboyant demonstrations and gimmicky séances.
1884: Emma Hardinge Britten published Nineteenth Century Miracles. The Seybert Commission at the University of Pennsylvania began “scientific” investigations of mediums along with the phenomena they produced during a séance.
1885: Leah Fox Underhill, the eldest of the Fox sisters, published her autobiography The Missing Link in Modern Spiritualism.
1887: The Seybert Report was published, discrediting and debunking mediumship and denouncing Spiritualism.
1888: The two younger Fox Sisters, Kate and Maggie, declared that their spirit communications had a been a hoax.
1890: Spiritualism’s credibility plummeted further as new scandals involving fraudulent mediums came to light.
1891: Nettie Colburn Maynard published her memoir Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist?
1893: The National Spiritualist Association of Churches was founded at the World’s Parliament of Religions at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
1896: Emma Hardinge Britten published Faith, Facts, and Frauds of Religious History.
1899: Emma Hardinge Britten died and her autobiography, The Autobiography of Emma Hardinge Britten, was published posthumously.
1901: Leonora Piper claimed that mediumship was impossible, suggesting instead that she was endowed with telepathic powers.
1909: The famous Italian medium, Eusapia Palladino came to America.
1917 (April 6): The United States entered World War I
1918: Margery “Mina” Crandon submitted to multiple investigations of her Spiritualist abilities.
1920 (August 26): American women gained universal suffrage, and Spiritualism’s popularity continued its precipitous decline.
Social expectations for women in the nineteenth century were specific: above all, women were to be modest and pious, and to sacrifice their own needs for those of their families. Women were admonished to refrain from expressing opinions, especially in public. The Victorian-era ideal of “True Womanhood” decreed that women were to live according to four principles: piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity (Johnson 2002:4–5). But savvy women were able to use some of those principles (for example, the assumption of a natural proclivity toward spirituality and submissiveness) to argue for taking up new social roles as spirit mediums. As such, women turned to Spiritualism not only to fulfill their spiritual needs, but also as a means by which to claim some degree of independence, particularly with respect to public speaking before mixed audiences.
Spiritualism was a religion based on the premise that the living could communicate with spirits of the dead within the context of a séance. Practitioners of Spiritualism would typically attend séances with a medium as their “guide.” The medium would pass on messages from the spirit world. Many women used Spiritualism in a therapeutic way, to communicate with deceased family members, especially young children. But Spiritualism was also used to champion civil rights, particularly when the medium channeled the spirits of Native Americans (Troy 2017:55).
Once the Fox Sisters’ [Image at right] demonstrations of their ostensive psychic abilities gained renown in 1849, the number of women who dared to enter the public sphere to lecture or to offer spiritual guidance to others, increased. With Spiritualism, women who claimed to be psychic mediums had found a way to circumvent the prohibition against public speaking; that is, it was acceptable for a woman to speak in public if she had fallen into a trance and was deemed to be delivering messages from a male spirit entity or “control.” In this manner, mediums could avoid some criticism because Spiritualist principles allowed women to maintain submissive and passive roles, while simultaneously entering the public sphere. Further, women were not held responsible for their behavior once they went into a trance (Braude 1989:82). Trance speakers often traveled on the lecture circuit and gave talks, usually on spiritual matters. Once a medium had established a name for herself, she could hold smaller more intimate séances for well-heeled clients. These trance speakers of the 1850s and 1860s would eventually make way for the female speakers and activists of the 1870s (Braude 1989:87). Important Spiritualist women practicing during this time included Cora L. V. Scott (1840–1923), Ascha W. Sprague (1827–1861), Frances Ann Conant (1831–1875), Nettie Colburn Maynard (1840–1892), Charlotte Beebe Wilbour (1833–1914), and Emma Hardinge Britten (1823–1899).
In the 1850s and 1860s, the Spiritualist movement became increasingly associated with women’s suffrage. For example, in 1859, the Spiritualist medium Amanda Britt Spence delivered a speech in Boston that explicitly supported equality of the sexes and challenged traditional gender roles. In 1865, Dr. Juliet Stillman (1833–1919) spoke on women’s health and dress reform at a Spiritualist convention in Chicago (Braude 1989:83). During this period, Spiritualism also spread from New England and upstate New York to the Midwest and then to California. Spiritualist Eliza W. Farnham (1815–1864) delivered her first lecture in San Francisco, marking Spiritualism’s move westward, and Mrs. Laura Cuppy Smith, suffragist and Spiritualist, moved to San Francisco where she contributed to a growing Spiritualist movement on the West Coast. Spiritualism quickly became a stronghold for the California women’s suffrage movement, including within its ranks the trance mediums Laura de Force Gordon (1838–1907) and Elizabeth Lowe Watson (1842– c. 1921) (Braude 1989:194).
American women who were spirit mediums tended to fit a particular social profile: typically they were young, white, Protestant, and unmarried. They tended to come from New York or New England, and held progressive views on civil rights issues. For instance, many Spiritualists opposed slavery and supported women’s rights. Spiritualists frequently held progressive views with respect to sex and religion, too as they often challenged patriarchal values based in Christianity and the Bible (Braude 1989:42–43). In this respect, acting as a spirit medium could often be empowering for the otherwise housebound middle-class nineteenth-century woman. Working as a medium offered women the opportunity to travel and to be financially independent, to express opinions about politics and religion, and to enact alternative social roles for themselves through their spirit controls. Further, in smaller and more intimate séances, Spiritualist mediums were able to circumvent rules surrounding intimate contact and courtship as—while one was under the “control” of a spirit—otherwise rigid social boundaries and constraints softened. Because of this, perhaps, female mediums’ morals were often questioned, and many of these women were vilified (Tromp 2009:85). Spiritualism’s critics framed mediums as being duplicitous seductresses intent upon separating foolish and credulous men from their fortunes. These women, then, held a complicated role in the public sphere. On one hand they enacted progressive social values, and often engaged in social and political activism for equal rights. On the other hand, they frequently became targets for slander and abuse.
Moreover, while successful mediums (those with a strong client base) could make a good living, others lived hand to mouth. The medium was usually of a lower socioeconomic class than her clientele and she was heavily reliant upon their patronage for sustenance (McGarry 2008:29). That said, some mediums did manage to establish positions of social power for themselves within these arrangements, crossing class boundaries and influencing well-connected people. An example of this sort of relationship is that described by Nettie Colburn Maynard, a medium who claimed to have been a confidante of the Lincoln family during the Civil War (1861–1865) (Maynard 1891:2). In her memoir Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist? Maynard discussed having become an employee of sorts at the White House following Mary Todd Lincoln’s turn to Spiritualism after the death of her young son in 1850. Although there is no historical documentation to support Maynard’s account, she allegedly enjoyed a sterling reputation and worked with Washington, D.C.’s elite. In her autobiography, she also described channeling the spirits of generals to assist President Lincoln with military strategy in defeating the Confederates.
As Spiritualism became ever more popular in the years following the Civil War, mediums’ abilities grew increasingly diverse, and the types of mediumship they demonstrated proliferated. There were “physical” mediums and “mental” mediums. Physical mediums could allegedly move furniture, while mental mediums simply entered a trance state whereupon they channeled the voice of another conscious being.
By the 1870s, not only were there different kinds of trance mediums, there were also mediums who specialized in conveying spirit messages via music and art—and of course mediums who, like the Fox Sisters, relayed messages via raps and knocks. In the 1880s, mediums began to produce what were known as “full-form” materializations, meaning they would apparently manifest an entire spirit entity who could physically interact with séance sitters (Tromp 2009:157). These full-form materializations were difficult to perform, and made mediums all the more vulnerable to criticism and allegations of fraud. Nonetheless, the event that became known as the true “Death Blow to Spiritualism” occurred in 1888, when the two younger Fox Sisters, Kate and Maggie, appeared at the New York Academy of Music to declare publicly that their alleged spirit communications had a been a hoax (Davenport 1888:76).
But Spiritualist séances had already greatly declined in popularity as manifestations grew less “spiritual” and more flamboyant, and an increasing number of mediums were discredited by teams of investigators and debunkers. However, it is also possible that Spiritualism had declined in popularity because women had won more social freedom and simply did not need to subvert the status quo to the same extent as they once had. By the 1880s, women had more or less managed to enter the public sphere where they spoke (while fully conscious) to mixed audiences (Braude 1989:176–77).
Nonetheless, even though the golden age of Spiritualism and séances seemed to be drawing to a close, some mediums gained a platform in the late nineteenth century, and remained famous into the early twentieth century. This new generation of mediums included Leonora Piper (1857–1950), Margery “Mina” Crandon (1888–1941), and the Italian-born Eusapia Palladino (1854–1918)—all of whom attracted some of the last university-sponsored investigations into “psychical research.” Finally, although by the late nineteenth century Spiritualism seemed to have lost its political clout and theatrical value, the Spiritualist movement was obviously still important to those who took it seriously as a religion, and, in 1893, a core group of Spiritualists founded the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, which still exists today.
DOCTRINES/BELIEFS THAT SHAPE THE ISSUE
As the Spiritualist movement grew between the 1850s and 1870s, more and more women joined its ranks, partly because of the opportunities it afforded them to be financially independent, to travel and to speak in public, and partly because of a prevailing nineteenth-century belief that they were biologically suited to mediumship. Considered to be empty vessels who were naturally weak-willed, women were ideal candidates to be “controlled” by spirit entities (Braude 1989:23–24). But Spiritualism was also attractive to women because it called for equality of the sexes and rejected the Christian doctrine of Original Sin, which patriarchal Christian theologians and preachers typically blamed on Eve’s sin and temptation of her husband Adam, with all women sharing in Eve’s guilt. Spiritualist beliefs about life after death were especially appealing to the bereaved who wanted to believe that their loved ones lived on in a better world. Since Spiritualism generally supported the idea of social equality, the Spiritualist movement became a useful counter to a patriarchal order that required women to remain silent and did not allow them spiritual autonomy or authority. Because Spiritualism challenged the social status quo while also allowing for women to retain their “submissiveness” through trance, the Spiritualist movement became a viable platform from which to campaign for women’s suffrage (Braude 1989:77–81).
While some mediums attempted to build a strong connection between Spiritualism and Christianity and claimed that Jesus himself was a medium, many Spiritualists, including Emma Hardinge Britten, [Image at right] were critical of Christianity. In her autobiography, as well as in other publications, Britten railed against the hypocrisy and corruption of the church, criticizing church officials for taking advantage of the poor, oppressing women, and offering forgiveness for heinous moral transgressions. Most egregious of all, Christianity was used to support slavery and other social ills. Britten argued that while Christianity bred superstition, ignorance, and passivity, Spiritualism challenged these attitudes and asked people to take control of their own spiritual communications to advance progressive causes (Britten 1900:240). Many Spiritualists, particularly those of the Civil War era, echoed Britten’s sentiments, citing the South’s use of the Bible to defend slavery as an example of Christianity’s corruption. This was one of the many reasons that Spiritualism did not flourish in the South, and was in fact outlawed in several Southern states.
The séance was the primary ritual and “practice” of the Spiritualist movement and was used as a forum in which one could receive advice, comfort, guidance, and sometimes entertainment. The séance typically consisted of anywhere between three and twelve people. A good balance between men and women was believed to help to create optimal conditions. Séance sitters either held hands or sat with their hands spread out on a tabletop with their fingers touching those of their neighbors. Held in a dark room, the séance often began with a hymn sung to cultivate a reverent atmosphere. Eventually, if séance attendees were lucky, the medium would channel a spirit “control” who would ostensibly use the medium to disseminate messages to members of the group.
However, as faith in the scientific method grew, séance goers demanded more tangible proof that they were experiencing a communion with the spirit world. This led first to the phenomenon of “apports” (objects delivered from the spirit world). Apports typically included flowers or fruit (those that were out of season were considered to be the most convincing), but could also include handkerchiefs, jewelry, and other trinkets. A particularly dramatic séance described by the Seybert Commission involved the introduction of a terrapin (Seybert 1887:100).
As competition between mediums became ever more fierce, toward the end of the 1870s, some mediums began to produce what came to be known as “ectoplasm,” a white substance that would emerge from their noses and mouths. Interestingly, while both male and female mediums produced apports, the production of ectoplasm appeared to be an almost exclusively feminine accomplishment. Eventually, some mediums claimed to be able to produce ectoplasm that would begin to take partial form; that is, a ghostly hand, arm, or foot might materialize in the darkness of the séance room before fading away.
By the 1870s, these partial materializations had given way to what were known as “full-form materializations,” which meant that an entire spirit being could allegedly be summoned from beyond the grave to circulate among the séance sitters (Tromp 2009:4). Full-form materializations could touch and be touched, and the element of physical contact with one of these beings seemed to make the séance all the more alluring. Full-form materializations were often produced with the assistance of a “spirit cabinet,” that is, an enclosure (sometimes a sophisticated wooden compartment, other times a hastily assembled combination of rope and blanket) (McGarry 2008:103). The cabinet was the source of much speculation and controversy. Spiritualism’s critics believed that the cabinet was used in various different ways to produce fraudulent manifestations. A common theory as to how these full-form materializations were achieved, included the appearance of an accomplice (or perhaps even the medium herself) in a dim room wearing white. Other mediums merely used arrangements of fabric to suggest human forms. Some used phosphorus so that the gauzy fabric would glow in the dark, or they painted cardboard cut-outs with phosphorescent paint.
For people who wanted to believe, the effect was mesmerizing and often profoundly moving, but for those who were not so easily convinced the artifice was all too apparent (Seybert 1887:158). Some séance sitters began to demand that the medium be tied up inside the spirit cabinet to prove that she was not the same person as the alleged spirit who entered the séance circle. Hence, full-form materializations fomented increasing skepticism among the general public, and debunkers worked ever harder to prove that various mediums were fraudulent. In some cases, being unmasked could ruin a medium, but in other cases, if she produced a good spectacle, no one seemed to mind much about her authenticity. Finally, a rift arose between a new generation of mediums who trucked in spectacle and the original older generation who claimed to attend only to the serious business of communicating with spirits.
Although there was no official leadership to speak of within early American Spiritualism, Emma Hardinge Britten, among others, quickly became a central figure within the Spiritualist movement. A prolific writer and frequent contributor to prominent Spiritualist journals such as The Banner of Light, Britten delivered numerous speeches espousing the virtues of Spiritualism and also published a number of books on the subject. Britten spoke out publicly against slavery, worked on the campaign to reelect Abraham Lincoln as President, and spoke on the importance of labor movements. Britten’s impassioned speeches and her forthright manner were particularly appealing to women, who “thanked God that one of their own sex, at last could echo the fervent prayers and blessings they had silently put up for him to Heaven” (Britten 1865:10)
In her writings, Britten named other women whom she felt were leaders in the Spiritualist movement including the Fox Sisters and Cora L. V. Scott, who achieved extraordinary fame as a trance lecturer and author. Between 1851 and 1852, Scott discovered that she could go into a trance and receive messages. By 1855, when she was only fifteen years old, she had become a significant figure on the trance lecture circuit. Scott married four times and so her writings appear under various names: Hatch, Daniels, Tappan, and Richmond (Britten 1879:156). She was very attractive and was allegedly the inspiration for the medium Ada T. P. Foat in Henry James’ novel, The Bostonians. In 1893, Cora Scott helped to represent Spiritualism at the World’s Parliament of Religions meeting in conjunction with the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She was also the first vice-president of the National Spiritualist Association, which was founded that same year (Melton 2007:270).
On the other hand, highly visible women Spiritualists of whom Britten did not approve included Tennessee Claflin (1844–1923), Victoria Woodhull (1838–1927), and Lois Waisbrooker (1826–1909). Tennessee Claflin and Victoria Woodhull [Image at right] were sisters who had led an unusual and itinerant childhood. (Woodhull eventually became famous for being the first woman ever to run for president, in 1875). The sisters settled in New York City where they began a brokerage firm on Wall Street. During that time, the two were rumored to have acted as spiritual advisors to the steel magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. In 1870, they launched a newspaper entitled the Woodhull and Claflin Weekly (1870–76), which espoused the virtues of Spiritualism, women’s suffrage, and vegetarianism. As a Spiritualist, Woodhull explicitly championed the highly controversial “free love” movement, which held that women should have reproductive freedom, as well as the freedom to take lovers, and the freedom to divorce and marry whomever they chose. Many older more established mediums (such as Emma Hardinge Britten) distanced themselves from Woodhull because they found Woodhull‘s politics on free love to be disturbing and embarrassing.
Lois Waisbrooker faced similar criticism: that the values she chose to promote in the name of the Spiritualist movement were unseemly. Waisbrooker, an author and women’s rights advocate, had begun to work as a Spiritualist trance speaker in the 1850s. In 1863, she became a journalist and activist. Waisbrooker was the founder and editor of three periodicals that championed freethought and, along with numerous writings promoting the notion of free love and women’s rights, she wrote fiction. Notably, in 1893, she published A Sex Revolution, a novel on a “feminist utopia.” Along with Victoria Woodhull, she is often considered to be one of the most radical mediums of the nineteenth century (Braude 1989:138–39).
Women Spiritualists coped with a great deal of prejudice, partly because they were women who dared to speak in public, and partly because Spiritualism was widely disapproved of in many Christian communities. Female mediums were jeered at and booed while onstage, and often risked sexual assault in the boarding houses and hotels where they stayed. This made the lecture circuit quite risky.
The press reveled in scandals associated with Spiritualism and the “free love” advocated by women such as Victoria Woodhull. The New York newspapers also published much salacious information on the career of a medium named Ann O’Delia Diss Debar (c. 1849–1909). [Image at right] Dubbed by the New York press as being “the wickedest woman in the world,” Diss Debar made her mark as a world-class swindler, duping clients with her alleged prowess as a medium capable of producing spirit paintings by the old masters (Buescher 2014:322). Diss Debar obviously preferred working with very small groups of people (preferably elderly and rich ones) at her own apartment, eventually swindling Manhattan lawyer Luther Marsh out of thousands of dollars. Although Marsh did not accuse Diss Debar of wrongdoing, his friends, many of whom were well-connected in the legal community, sued Diss Debar and put her in prison for fraud.
In addition to being jailed, women mediums often risked being confined to mental institutions. Many women who claimed to have experienced otherworldly communications were thought to be suffering from some form of hysteria, and were placed in treatment (Tromp 2009:175). Physicians such as Frederick R. Marvin, who claimed to specialize in a disease he referred to as “mediomania,” helped to pathologize Spiritualist women. In his book, the Philosophy of Spiritualism, Marvin asserted that the medium
becomes possessed by the idea that she has some startling mission in the world. She forsakes her home, her children, and her duty, to mount the rostrum and proclaim the peculiar virtues of free-love, elective affinity, or the reincarnation of souls. Allow the disorder to advance and it becomes a chronic malady, and, alas! The once intelligent, cultivated and pure woman, sinks through a series of strange-isms (1874:47).
Marvin’s use of the word “pure” here is significant as he meant sexual purity, which was one of the four pillars of “ideal womanhood.” At that time, speaking in public was believed to compromise a woman’s sexual purity.
SIGNIFICANCE TO THE STUDY OF WOMEN IN RELIGIONS
Spiritualism was valuable to American women in the nineteenth century because women were strongly discouraged from speaking in public. In general, mainstream Christianity prohibited women from preaching, and if they were to take on tasks that involved public exposure, they required the church’s approval (Grammer 2002:4). Part of Spiritualism’s popularity may well have been due to its comparative openness. However, the notion of being permitted to speak in public on spiritual matters and to cultivate spiritual autonomy and authority is not unique to American women. With respect to religious traditions around the world, the “channeling” of spirit controls, or “possession shamanism” has long been a means by which women expressed themselves in public within patriarchal cultures that would otherwise have disallowed it (Wessinger 2014:81). Further, Spiritualist women were not the only nineteenth-century women to find a voice through spiritual means. Women were empowered to speak by the Holy Spirit in Wesleyan/Holiness movements and also in Pentecostalism (Stanley 2002:141; Wessinger 2014:84). Religious traditions such as Spiritualism, Wesleyan/Holiness movements, and Pentecostalism became attractive to women who—feeling that they were spiritual authorities in their own right—wished to have a public platform without requiring permission from men in charge (Stanley 2002:142). Therefore, in terms of spiritual authority, women in new religious movements often enjoyed unprecedented freedom—empowered either by spirits of the deceased (as in Spiritualism) or by the Holy Spirit (as in Wesleyan Holiness and Pentecostalism). Women’s influence and presence within these movements helped to create a counternarrative to assumptions that women were unable to fill leadership roles in the realms of advocacy and spirituality (Wessinger 2014:89). For Spiritualist women, in particular, channeling the spirits of the deceased (particularly the spirits of deceased Native Americans and influential women) helped them to advance a growing civil rights movement and to imagine new social roles for themselves (Troy 2017:55). In many cases, Spiritualist practice could present Americans with a worldview that departed from strictly patriarchal values to consider other subject positions.
Image #1: The Fox Sisters. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Image #2: Emma Hardinge Britten, 1884. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Image #3: Victoria Woodhull, c. 1860. By Bradley & Rulofson, San Francisco. Harvard Art Museum/Fogg Museum, Historical Photographs and Special Visual Collections Department, Fine Arts Library. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Image #4: Ann Odelia Diss Debar. United States Library of Congress. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Braude, Ann. 1989. Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Britten, Emma Hardinge.  Autobiography of Emma Hardinge Britten. (First published 1900 by Mrs. M. Wilkinson). Stansted, England: SNU Publications.
Britten, Emma Hardinge. 1865. Miss Emma Hardinge’s Political Campaign, in Favour of the Union Party of America, on the occasion of the Last Presidential Election of 1864. London: Thomas Scott. Accessed from http://digital.slv.vic.gov.au/view/action/singleViewer.do?dvs=1526607436206~616&locale=en_US&metadata_object_ratio=10&show_metadata=true&VIEWER_URL=/view/action/singleViewer.do?&preferred_usage_type=VIEW_MAIN&DELIVERY_RULE_ID=10&frameId=1&usePid1=true&usePid2=true on 20 June 2018.
Britten, Emma Hardinge. 1870. Modern American Spiritualism: A Twenty Year’s Record of the Communion Between Earth and the World of Spirits. New York: W. Britten Press. Accessed from the Hathi Trust Digital Library, https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000582031 on 20 JUne 2018.
Buescher, John Benedict. 2014. The Empress of Swindle: The Life of Ann Odelia Diss Debar. Createspace Publishing.
Davenport, Reuben Briggs. 1888. The Death-Blow to Spiritualism: Being the True Story of the Fox Sisters, As Revealed by Authority of Margaret Fox Kane and Catherine Fox Jencken. New York: G. W. Dillingham.
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Johnson, Nan. 2002. Gender and Rhetorical Space in American Life 1866-1910. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Marvin, Frederick R. Marvin. 1874. The Philosophy of Spiritualism and the Pathology and Treatment of Mediomania: Two Lectures. New York: Asa K. Butts & Co. Accessed from https://archive.org/details/philosophyofspir00marv on 20 June 2018.
Maynard, Nettie Colburn. 1891. Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist? Or Curious Revelations from the Life of a Trance Medium. Philadelphia: Rufus Hartranft. Accessed from https://archive.org/details/wasabraham00mayn on 20 June 2018.
McGarry, Molly. 2008. Ghosts of Futures Past: Spiritualism and the Cultural Politics of Nineteenth-Century America. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Stanley, Susie Cunningham. 2002. Holy Boldness: Women Preachers’ Autobiographies and the Sanctified Self. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
Tromp, Marlene. 2009. Altered States: Sex, Nation, Drugs, and Self-Transformation in Victorian Spiritualism. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Troy, Kathryn. 2017. The Specter of the Indian: Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Séances 1848-1890. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Wessinger, Catherine. 2014. “Charismatic Leaders in New Religions.” Pp. 80-96 in The Cambridge Companion to New Religious Movements, edited by Olav Hammer and Mikael Rothstein. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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