How Séances Paved The Way of Liberty For All

Updated: May 9, 2019

In the midst of writing a scene for my upcoming novel, The Amber Within, I imagined the characters hosting a dinner party and catching themselves in the middle of a séance.

I saw all four main characters sitting around a table with a highly notable gentleman conducting it, while their dinner guests watched in amusement and awe.

This scene will prove to be a pivotal point in Clara’s, my heroine’s, character arch. However, I stopped myself and thought would that setting work?

A séance in the 1800s? In Puerto Rico? Surrounded by notable people?

Naturally my characters stopped and stared at me, as to say, why not? Just research it.

So, I did and what I discovered will not only drive some supernatural elements in my thriller novel but it will definitely give, Clara, a step towards liberation from the patriarchy.

19th Century photo of a seance

Don’t Call It A Comeback…

During the late 1800s a reform in spiritual beliefs occurred, one of which made people believe that they can commune with the dead, Spiritualism.

This philosophy has circled the Earth in many different countries for centuries but was often pushed into hiding by Christianity.

Many religions that derived from Christianity saw spiritualism as a great sin and the product of the devil. Therefore, anyone who was known to be a Spiritualist was accused of being Satan’s lil helper.

And we all know what happens when an accusation of that caliber makes its way into anyone’s garden.

Can You Hear Us Knocking?

So, what made Spiritualism make a comeback during the Victorian Era and stick around for nearly a century?

The late 1800s was bearing witness to turn of the century discoveries in medical science as well as engineering technology.

Therefore, inspiring society to think a bit freely than what they were restricted to.

Authors, Lewis and Melton wrote:

Through the entranced lips of mediums, mentors from the spirit realm spoke tirelessly and eloquently on behalf of abolition, prison reform, the rights of women and children, and the liberation of the working class from enslavement to capital” (p 62).

This free way of thinking broke the chains that some religions and societal structures shackled their constituents with.

One female medium, Laura De Force, toured the Northern United States with her spiritual abilities of communing with the dead and spoke on women's rights. She was also the founder of the California Woman's Suffrage Society.

It is thought that because spiritualism had gained a vast popularity among political and public figures, that it opened a doorway of communication for important topics like women's rights.

Which is how Laura was able to get her audiences' attention on such matters. She would say she's having a seance at prominent lecture halls and it would turn into a lecture on equality for women.

Spiritualism was not used as a religion to combat Christianity; it was a movement from rapping on tables to knocking down doors of oppression.

If you enjoy stories that involve spiritualism, seances, and Santeria you’ll love my book, The Amber Within, to be finished in March of 2020.

Check out my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter @SparrowsInkwell to follow my journey of researching, writing, editing, and publishing my novel.

To learn more about the societal benefits of Spiritualism in the Victorian era, give this book a good gander: Perspectives On The New Age by James R. Lewis & Gordon Melton., Suny Press

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