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Messages From Beyond : Spiritualism and Spiritualists in Melbourne's Golden Age 1870-1890 - Gabay, Al

Messages From Beyond

Spiritualism and Spiritualists in Melbourne's Golden Age 1870-1890

By: Gabay, Al

Paperback Published: 11th March 1997
ISBN: 9780522849103
Number Of Pages: 256

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The Spiritualist movement had its beginnings in the United States in the late 1840s and within a few years had spread to Australia. With its seances, mediums, trances, 'magnetisers', table-tilting and other mysterious psychic phenomena, it attracted media frenzy and public furore, but also many deeply serious converts-often highly intelligent and talented people who rejected orthodox religion in favour of scientific rationalism, but were still vitally concerned with moral debates. One of them was the young Alfred Deakin, later to become Prime Minister.Spiritualists sought 'rational, discoverable answers' to life's mysteries. They sought to 'prove' empirically the continued existence of the human personality after death, while maintaining-somewhat paradoxically-that the movement was a genuine religion. In Messages from Beyond , however, Al Gabay shows that for most believers the seance was not a 'scientific' enterprise but a religious and highly ritualised event.In this fascinating history, Gabay explores the origins of the Spiritualist movement and relates its rise and fall to the wider intellectual and religious currents in colonial Australian society. He argues that the atmosphere of Freethought and Secularism in colonial Melbourne, as well as the passionate debates of the time on the authority of the Bible and Evolution, were fundamental to the success of the movement, and that it was a cultural product of its time.

Introduction: A New Dispensation?p. 1
The Organization of the Causep. 14
A Rational Religionp. 43
Mediums, Speakers and Prophetsp. 71
William H. Terry and the Harbinger of Lightp. 92
Schismatics, Secularists and Sabbatariansp. 130
The Seance as Ritual Eventp. 175
Conclusion: A Spiritual Sciencep. 206
Appendixp. 218
Notesp. 220
Bibliographyp. 234
Indexp. 242
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780522849103
ISBN-10: 0522849105
Series: Sustainability & the Environment
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 11th March 1997
Publisher: Melbourne University Press
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.3 x 14.0  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1
Edition Type: Annotated