Movement Is Born
By Rev. Simeon
The ball was
now set rolling and the messages continued. On November 14, 1849,
the first meeting of a small group of Spiritualists was held in
the Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. The excitement over
the revelation grew and public investigation was demanded. Committee
after committee was formed to try and prove that the phenomena were
fraudulent. Public opinion was not at all in sympathy with the events,
and at one point the Fox sisters were nearly lynched. Nevertheless,
the movement known as Modern Spiritualism kept on growing.
that they, too, had mediumistic abilities, and mediums began springing
up here and there; spirit's message moved on. Public meetings were
soon held, attracting much interest as well as curiosity. On June
4, 1850, the message of Spiritualism was brought to New York City.
Horace Greeley, then editor of the New York Tribune,
showed great interest in the phenomena and established a committee
to investigate, with an open mind, the events. He subsequently reported
in the New York Tribune:
what time we could spare from our duties out of three days to
this subject, and it would be the basest cowardice not to say
that we are convinced beyond a doubt of their perfect integrity
and good faith in the premises. Whatever may be the origin or
cause of the 'rappings', the ladies in whose presence they occur
do not make them. We tested this thoroughly and to our entire
Why did the
events which took place in Hydesville, as well as those which followed,
have such an impact?
this question, we have to compare these communications with those
which took place through the instruments of Emanuel Swedenborg and
Andrew Jackson Davis.
at both of these prophets of the new revelation of Spiritualism,
we can see clearly that they were used to bring forth a very important
message from Spirit: survival of death. This was done specifically
through the vehicles of teaching, philosophy, and revelation. The
work of these two great men was, indeed, marvelous and very much
need; however, something vital was missing: the communication was
generally one way. At that time, people could not tangibly relate
to the messages coming from spirit. You must remember that communication
with the spirits was very much a cultural and theological shock
to the people of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; consequently,
it was very difficult for them to accept something of this nature
without having some form of direct involvement.
the communications which took place in Hydesville were by no means
as philosophical or as educational as were those given through Swedenborg
and Davis. Here was a man who had been murdered, trying to communicate
to a family who did not understand what was happening and may very
well not even have cared. But a very vital element was added in
these simple messages: the communications were two-way in nature.
People played an important role in these communications. Spirit
out of the body spoke to spirits in the body, and vice versa.
through the Hydesville events, two facts were established:
So, the events
which transpired on March 31, 1848, clearly represent the first stone
used to build the temple of Spiritualism upon the firm foundation
previously laid down by Emanuel Swedenborg and Andrew Jackson Davis.
communication can be a two-way experience.
- Spirit communication
can be used not only to teach, inspire, and give us philosophical
revelation; it can also be used to assist us in our daily lives
and to prove, or demonstrate, that there is personal and conscious
survival of death.
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