We’re back and we’re rapping. While we’re sure we could come up with some killer rhymes, we’re letting our toes do the talking today. There’s no reason why messages from beyond can’t come with a sick beat, and creaky toes are the body’s other beatbox. Victorian Spiritualism is proving much funkier than we ever suspected.
Main Topic: Victorian Spiritualism part 1
This is the first of our two-part look at the origins and evolution of Spiritualism in the gaslight era. We look at how Spiritualism grew out of Mesmerism, how it became a religion, some of the strange phenomena that mediums produced at the behest of the spirits. This will continue in the next episode, when we examine some of the key figures of the Victorian Spiritualism movement and how many of them were exposed as frauds.
Yes, frauds. It shouldn’t be controversial to talk about how Spiritualism is rooted in lies, but its growth into a religion might make this a touchy subject. As ever, we don’t aim to denigrate people’s deeply held beliefs, but we can’t shy away from the fact that the originators of Spiritualism were admitted hoaxsters who denounced their creation later in life.
These episodes also gloss over the details of séances. We aim to cover those in more detail in a later episode.
Things we mention in this episode include:
- Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances by Lisa Morton
- The Table-Rappers: The Victorians and the Occult by Ronald Pearsall
- Medical Meddlers, Mediums and Magicians: The Victorian Age of Credulity by Dr Keith Souter
- QAnon and Conspiracy Theories
- London Fortean Society
- Spirit trumpet
- The Changeling (1980)
- Automatic writing
- Henry Slade
- Nevil Maskelyne
- Harry Houdini
- James Randi
- Derren Brown
- Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
- Mrs Guppy
- Ghostbusters (1984)
- Spirit guides
- William Stainton Moses
- Shadows Over Scotland
- Cthulhu Britannica: London
- Spirit photography
- William H Mumler
- Spiritualist churches
- Spiritualists’ National Union
- “The Haunter of the Dark” by HP Lovecraft
- Kult: Divinity Lost
- MR James
- Ghosts episodes
- Pepper’s ghost
- V20 Rites of the Blood
- Vampire: the Masquerade 20th anniversary edition
- Franz Mesmer
- Animal magnetism
- Seven Forbidden Arts of Divination
- The Fox Sisters
- “The Rats in the Walls” by HP Lovecraft
- A Man Called Horse (1970)
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller
- Horace Greeley
The Blasphemous Tome issue 11
The next issue of The Blasphemous Tome will soon be entering layout, ready to creep its way across the globe in June. This is the fully licenced Call of Cthulhu fanzine we produce for Patreon backers of the podcast. Issue 11 features a gorgeous full-colour cover from John Sumrow and a brand-new Call of Cthulhu scenario from our own Scott Dorward.
Blasphemous Tome 5a Reissued
Speaking of The Blasphemous Tome, Patreon backers can now download the PDF of issue 5a. This was previously released as issue 5, back when it was a print-only publication. It features a modern-day Call of Cthulhu scenario by Matt Sanderson, entitled “Number 22”.
People backing us on Patreon at the $3 level or higher before the end of May 2023 will receive a discount voucher for a print-on-demand copy of issue 5a.
Scott and Paul on The Miskatonic Playhouse
Scott recently joined the “Cult and Culpability” Regency Cthulhu arc on the Miskatonic Playhouse podcast for a short run, giving voice to the villainous Lord Cosgrove. Newman has also recorded an interview with Paul which should be going out on the podcast feed soon.