Conan Doyle vs. Kipling in the Question of Spiritualism

Experiencing History

Since the arrival of spiritualism in Britain people have been curious about it. Many went out of their way to prove it untrue, like Houdini, while others resolutely believed in it. (WikiCommons) In an anonymous letter to The Courier in 1919, the fashion for communicating with the dead was captured in a description of “mothers and friends of fallen soldiers resorting to table-rapping, creakings, automatic writing through the medium of the planchette, Ouija, heliograph etc. in the hope of once more communicating with their loved ones….”

The basic principle of spiritualism was the ability to communicate with those who had died. Through the skills of the medium, the spirits of lost loved ones could be talked to and sometimes, it was claimed, even touched.

The idea of communicating with the dead took hold in the UK with the arrival of medium Mrs Hayden from America in 1852. While the 1870s…

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