Sunday, 2 September 2007

Greetings from the other side

One doesn’t hear much about Spiritualism* these days; I suppose there are so many other, newer, crackpot ideas vying for attention that survivals from the nineteenth century can’t compete, though Hahnemann’s quaint concept from the late eighteenth century still has its adherents.

A few weeks ago the New Statesman reminded us of Spiritualism with an article by one Libby Clark, who is an "Officiant" of the Spiritualists National Union and who has been a working Spiritualist Medium for 30 years:

Spiritualism is not, as is commonly believed, a strange cult meeting in darkened rooms to 'call up the dead', but an officially recognised religious movement with its own churches and Ministers who possess the same rights and privileges as other religions.
The difference between Spiritualism and other religions is the ability through Mediumship to prove that the human spirit survives death. Our services are taken by Spiritualist Mediums, who are individuals able to communicate with those who have died, and provide conclusive evidence of their continued existence in the Spirit World to their families and loved ones here.

But, as Thurber observed, mediums don’t always get it quite right:

'I can't get in touch with your uncle, but there's a horse here that wants to say hello.'

* The present-day descendant of Spiritualism is the mishmash of preposterous beliefs called New Age.

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