Britten is, perhaps, the most renowned and most respected advocate
and proponent in the early Modern Spiritualist Movement.
She was the
daughter of Captain Floyd Hardinge, whom writers call a seafaring
man. Early in her life, she had shown gifts as a musician, singer,
and speaker. In fact, at age 11 she was earning her living as a
with a theatrical company, she went to America in 1856 where, through
the mediumship of Miss Ada Hoyt (Mrs. Coan), she became converted
to the Spiritualist philosophy. There, she began developing her
own abilities as a medium and sat publicly for the Society for
the Diffusion of Spiritual Knowledge of New York (what a wonderful
As a young
medium, she furnished one of the best attested cases of early Spirit
return. A member of the crew of the mail steamer, Pacific, which
had sunk in the ocean, controlled young Emma and, in trance, disclosed
the facts of the tragedy. Because of the nature of the details given
through her mediumship, Emma Hardinge was threatened with prosecution
by the owners of the boat when the story was made public, but all
the details were found to be true and accurate.
gifts embraced automatic and inspirational writing, psychometry,
healing, prophecy, and inspirational speaking. She was best known
for her inspirational addresses, which were very eloquent, inspiring,
and informative. They were given completely extempore, and
the subject was generally chosen in the auditorium by a committee
from the audience.
agree that, as a propagandist for Spiritualism, she was unequaled
in her zeal, commitment, and enthusiasm. For years she traveled
all over the United States, Canada, England, Australia, and New
Zealand, expounding the truths of Spiritualism and related areas
Britten founded and edited for five years the Two Worlds
of Manchester. She was also among the founders of the Theosophical
Society in New York, in 1875. However, she soon severed her
connections with Madame Blavatsky.
was not alive to see this happen, her dream of establishing a proper
and formal "school of prophets" (training school for mediums) was
realized in 1900, with the founding of the Britten Memorial Institute
and Library, in Manchester, England.
Britten's writings include: Modern American Spiritualism,
New York, 1870; Nineteenth Century Miracles, New York, 1884;
Faith, Fact and Fraud of Religious History, Manchester, 1896;
Extemporaneous Addresses, London, 1866. She was editor of
the American periodical, The Western Star, 1872, and the
British The Unseen Universe, 1992-1893.
Modern American Spiritualism, is still considered the finest
and most complete analysis of the early American Movement. We remember
her as a true pioneer and dedicated advocate of Spiritualism.
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First Spiritual Temple
The Ayer Institute
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