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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New OrleansThe Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey$
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Melissa Daggett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810083

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810083.001.0001

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Echoes from Another World

Echoes from Another World

(p.19) Chapter 2 Echoes from Another World
Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans

Melissa Daggett

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter chronicles the beginning of Modern American Spiritualism in the Burned-over District. In 1848 the young Fox sisters declare their ability to communicate with the dead through a system of raps and a type of telegraphic code. The success of the sisters in a series of public and private séances developed into a flourishing Spiritualist movement that spread from New York throughout the North, and to a much lesser extent the South. The chapter examines antecedents to the mid-nineteenth century Spiritualism such as mesmerism, A.J. Davis’s Harmonial philosophy, and Emanuel Swedenborg’s cosmos cartography. On the local level, Joseph Barthet in the 1840s provided leadership in mesmerism and later transformed into an ardent supporter of Spiritualism and published Le Spiritualiste. In 1858, the Banner of Light, a Boston spiritualist periodical, sent their two editors, Thomas Gaines Foster and J. Rollin Squire, to New Orleans to expand the reach of Spiritualism.

Keywords:   Burned-over District, Swedenborg, Barthet, Banner of Light, Fox sisters

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