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The term Spiritualism as used today refers to Modern Spiritualism, founded in America in 1848, distinctive from Ancient Spiritualism, which is as old as intelligent man and the origin of every religion. In ancient times Spiritualism was commonly practiced by all cultures of the Earth and was considered essential in the affairs of daily life, matters of state and in religions observances.

From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, when the Church of Rome had complete power and control, the practice of psychic arts was forbidden and many a poor soul paid the penalty. The ban was relaxed when the British Parliament passed the Witchcraft Act of 1735, repealing the law, and ending the period of the witch trials. This new freedom paved the way for the advent of Modern Spiritualism, a movement founded upon psychic contact between spirits of the spiritual world and mortals of the physical world.

Modern Spiritualism began in the tiny hamlet of Hydesville, in Western New York State, with the psychic phenomena of mysterious knocking sounds. This single event ushered in a movement 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 played by women and lay people. It was not seen as a separate religious movement, but as a way of providing evidence to support religious belief in the existence of the soul and in life after death.

Spiritualism's popularity grew during the Victorian Age and gained credibility with the support of distinguished people including: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes) the scientists Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crooks, Sir William Barrett and the journalist Hannen Swaffer. The movement became fashionable across all social classes and in the 1850s acquired the name, 'Spiritualism'. Its popularity culminated during World War I, reaching a zenith due to the loss of so many young men. Grieving families turned to spiritualist mediums for succor and many found solace that their loved one killed in battle far from disappearing into oblivion had transitioned to a higher plane of existence, and that, contact with them was possible. In the 1920s, the celebrated magician, Harry Houdini succeeded in his campaign to expose fraudulent mediums, which vanquished Spiritualism in America to this very day. Spiritualism was brought to Britain throughout the 1850s by American medium migrants; however, it is noted as officially being established in England in 1853, by David Richmond, a spiritualist returning from America to Keighley, Yorkshire.

Britain today has the greatest concentration of Spiritualism in the world. Spiritualism does not have a Bible or universally accepted doctrine, however, it does have The Seven Principles that are widely recognized. Within Spiritualism, there are diverse beliefs, as in any religion, and I have to believe that Padgett's writings were sent for Spiritualism to complete its philosophy at the height of its popularity at the turn of the last century. After, thirty-four years studying Spiritualism, its mediums and its philosophy, I believe that the little known channelled writings of the Washington, D.C. lawyer, James E. Padgett, originate from higher realms and go beyond any other spirit communications that I have examined. Therefore, the philosophical portions of this site are based on the knowledge contained in his writings.

Alan Ross