Spiritualism is as old as mankind. It has been called the oldest religion in the world. Neolithic peoples built elaborate burial chambers to house the remains of their dead. The construction of a single cairn took considerable time and effort - something that would suggest that the dead, or ancestors, of each community were very important in their daily lives. Whether we can class this reverence of the dead as a form of ancestor worship is unclear. By comparison with tribal societies across the world today, we can surmise that they had knowledge of ways of contacting the spirits of the dead. In the Bible, (1 Samuel 28 v. 3-25), King Saul (1079 - 1007 BC) consulted the medium at Endor and asked her to call up the spirit of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, which she is reported to have done. The ancient Greeks had their oracles for consulting the gods and foretelling the future, and, nearby, psychomanteums for contacting the spirits of the dead. Roman literature talks about necromancy and shows that there were occasionally attempts made to contact the spirits of the dead. In tribal societies, shamen had ways of inducing out of body experiences, (OBEs), when the spirits of the dead could be met and consulted. They also induced trance states for this purpose. These practices continue to this day where tribal societies are found.

Spiritualism in its modern form began in Hydesville, New York State, in 1848. On the 31st March, the Fox Sisters made a break through contacting the spirit entity who had been disturbing the family with strange sounds and activities. The spirit entity communicated by a system of raps to spell out the letters of the alphabet and give intelligible messages. The following year, 1849, Margareta Fox gave the first public demonstration of mediumship in the Corinthian Hall, New York. Leah Fox is credited with having produced full-form materialisation of human spirits in natural light.
Spiritualism spread quickly throught North America, where soon many people discovered that they had mediumistic gifts.

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