Anatomy of a Seance: A History of Spirit Communication in Central Canada

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 2004 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 259 pages
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MacKenzie King did it, so did Susanna Moody. In fact, many have consulted the spirits as part of a religious experience, to seek guidance for themselves and others, and to attempt to learn what lies beyond the grave. Some came to the seance room to hear ancient wisdom while others came to understand the nature of psychic phenomena. Like the mechanisms that produced the flashing lights, cool breezes, and whirling trumpets that materialized in the presence of the medium, their beliefs and experiences have been mostly hidden, until now. In this first full-length study of Canadian spirit communication, Stan McMullin has drawn upon seance notes, letters, diaries, and special collections to create a fascinating picture of how educated people were drawn to spiritualism and psychic research. Anatomy of a Seance shows that for many attempting to sort out their religious beliefs and find an acceptable marriage between religion and science the seance room provided an alternative to formal religious dogma. Despite the opposition of mainline churches, spiritualism offered the possibility of a "scientific" religion that could prove the existence of heaven.

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Carleton University

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