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Spiritualism is the organised study of the afterlife. As the term is used today refers to Modern Spiritualism founded in America in 1848, distinctive from Ancient Spiritualism. Interest in what happens after physical death is as old as civilisation and the origin of many religions. In ancient times Spiritualism was commonly practised by all cultures and was considered essential in the affairs of daily life, matters of state and religions observances.

From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, when the Church of Rome had complete power and control over the masses, the practice of any psychic art was forbidden and many a poor soul paid an unjust penalty. The ban was relaxed when the British Parliament passed the Witchcraft Act of 1735, ending the period of the witch trials. This new freedom paved the way for the advent of Modern Spiritualism, a movement founded on contact between spirits and mortals.

Modern Spiritualism began in the tiny hamlet of Hydesville, in Western New York State, with the psychic phenomena of mysterious knocking noises. This single event ushered in an era of spiritual freethinking that was new to the world and closely allied with the two great causes of the day—the abolishment of slavery and woman's suffrage. Spiritualism was socially different from other religions of the time, particularly in the significant role women and lay people played.

Spiritualism's popularity grew rapidly during the Victorian Age and gained credibility with the support of distinguished people including author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, scientists Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crooks, Sir William Barrett, publisher Lord Northcliffe and journalist Hannen Swaffer. The movement became fashionable to the upper social classes and in the 1850s acquired its name, 'Spiritualism'. Its popularity reached a zenith after World War I, due to the loss of so many young men. Grieving families turned to spiritualist mediums for succour and many found solace that their loved one killed in battle far from disappearing into oblivion had transitioned to a higher plane of existence. In the 1920s, the celebrated magician, Harry Houdini succeeded in his campaign to expose fraudulent mediums, which vanquished Spiritualism in America but not in Britain.

Britain today has the greatest concentration of Spiritualism in the world. Spiritualism was brought to Britain from America by Mrs Maria Hayden in 1852, who was persecuted and insulted by the press and the pulpit. In 1853 the first Spiritualist Church was established in the British Isles by David Richmond at Keighley in Yorkshire, and the first spiritualist newspaper, The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph, was published in 1855. Spiritualism does not have a Bible or universally accepted doctrine but does have The Seven Principles that are widely recognised. Within Spiritualism, there are diverse beliefs, like any movement, however, I am convinced that the spirit writings of James E. Padgett that were sent at the height of its popularity are the most accurate that I have examined. These little known communication complete Spiritualisms’ philosophy originating from the highest realms of the spirit world and go beyond all others. For this reason, the philosophical portions of this site are based on the knowledge contained in these particular writings.

Alan Ross