The History of Mediumship
The history of mediumship did not begin in the nineteenth century with the manifestations of Hydesville. The chronology of the people teaches us that man from his primitive origins to our days has an inherent intuition of the invisible world.
It is impossible to date the origin of mediumistic exchange manifestations because communications and spiritual phenomena have always existed since man incarnated on Earth, such events respond to absolute natural laws.
The most basic form that fascinated man in the belief in a superior force was exteriorized in the force of Nature, and they wished to dominate it in such a way that they could manipulate events at their whim.
There are numerous verbal stories, which pass from generation to generation, and which express some relationship between the living and the dead. However, the oldest religious code that speaks of the existence of the spirits known is the Veda Code, written in ancient India.
Time later the societies still primitive created the talismans, objects or acts used and worshipped to try to contain the force of Nature.
Closely linked to this concept is the idea of taboo, an object or circumstance considered dangerous or mysterious that designates morally unacceptable conduct by society, for an unjustified reason, based on prejudices.
Progressing a little more in human evolution and removing the veil that covers part of the history of ancient man, we discovered that our ancestors were commonly imbued with fear of everything that escaped their understanding, attributing to spiritual phenomena, whose origin they ignored, a completely supernatural and wonderful character, treating them later like prodigies or miracles.
The next stage was animism. The powerful force is visualized in the form of personal spirits. The spirits of Nature have human form and inhabit trees, stones or lakes, the people accepted them as an integral part of their society. In this period the ancestors are spirits with limited knowledge, power, and presence. They should maintain a favourable relationship with them so they do not suffer their anger.
The attempts at reliable intercommunication revealed by the findings of remote periods reveal the numerous practices of the exteriorization of worship and the cult of the unknown. The pictorial signs of distant ages discovered in rocks, so exciting for the history that they entail and at the same time so enigmatic, as well as the primary sculptures that show the offerings and rites to heaven, prove that those events were part of the daily life of these societies. Cultures such as the Babylonian, the Chinese, the African, the Indian, the Aztec, the Mayan and the Inca are examples of this.
With evolution, the notion of vital force developed a force that was detached from the body at the moment of death. A hierarchy of deities was conceived that gave rise to the idea of a God in the heavens. The next stage is polytheism, cultures progress by holding the belief in finite spirits and the worship of gods. From this stage evolves to henotheism, which is the belief in many gods with the worship of one, advancing to monotheism, or the worship of one God. Humanity gradually developed the intuition of the existence of a single superior power gradually and proportional to their degree of knowledge.
The teachings that make up the medium Doctrine in the history of mediumship could be divided into periods:
This period is characterized by the philosophers who introduced new concepts into the thinking of Humanity, among the most outstanding we quote Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle who defended in their time innovative ideas.
Socrates captained the idea of the eternal existence of the soul; Man would be made up of a material body and an immaterial soul. This would have the capacity to exercise ethical behaviour and be endowed with intelligence, freedom, meaning, and will. He stipulated the principle of the specificity of the soul, which means that the soul is indivisible, endowed with movement and knowledge.
The philosopher who defended the existence of two worlds was Plato, a disciple of Socrates. In his perception, the soul is the divine that man possesses, tied to reincarnation. He also defended in his speech that the being who works for the good on Earth can follow after death in the spiritual world in a position of well-being.
Platonic man is the union of the soul and the body. Being the soul the essence of the body and where the nature of ideas is, it is the principle of movement and life, therefore immortal. The concept that defends mediumship is: the immortal soul is the embodied spirit. To progress in the material world, the spirit is temporarily united to the body, under all the limitations imposed by matter.
Another popularizer of the theory of the immortality of the soul was Aristotle, who divided it into two parts, the irrational part and the rational part, the latter being divided into two: intellectual virtue and moral virtue. Mediumship explains that we must develop intellectually and morally, little by little with the innumerable incarnations for which we will be temporarily subjected to putting ourselves to the test.
In this way, these philosophers prepared the way for the great revelations of mediumship and they exhibited the first reflections in the history of mediumship.
Later, in the historical line of the evolution of man, we observed in the medieval European era a prohibitive character that reached any mediumistic practice due to the great religious intolerance. Approaching a little more in the horizon of human experiences, we verify that in this period the mediumistic exchange was reprehensible, simply by keeping the minds in the ignorance that imprisons under the abuse of the power of some.
There is a time not very remote in the eighteenth century that is characterized by the preparation of the advent of mediumship, the Third Revelation promised by Jesus, a period considered as a forerunner of spiritualism.
At that time the Swede Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), considered an eminent doctrinal precursor in the history of mediumship. He was a man of brilliant and erudite mind, who stands out for his enormous scientific knowledge in different areas.
There is a moment in his life when he completely abandoned scientific studies because his restlessness and purpose had changed completely. He wanted to make men discover a rational spirituality focusing entirely on theological, psychological and philosophical research. His natural development and psychic potential were evident when he showed his mediumistic faculties, such as distance clairvoyance.
Mediumship is an innate faculty of the spirit, regardless of the religion to which it may belong, or of the moral conduct it develops. It is not a privilege but a tool for the exercise of charity and the spiritual evolution of the medium and the society that surrounds it.
Swedenborg defended and revealed in the book of his authorship “Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell”, the plurality of the inhabited worlds, as well as predicted the basic principles of the Spiritist Doctrine.
Equally outstanding is the investigation of the spiritualist manifestations of the Scottish Edward Irving (1792-1834) between the years 1830 and 1833, being of considerable importance in the study of the human psyche, which undoubtedly classifies him within the antecedents of spiritualism.
In this period, many men, like Irving, mired in deep reflections on the return of Jesus, studied meticulously in sessions of several weeks, discussing and comparing theories. As a Protestant pastor, he developed studies aimed at spiritual manifestations. There are accounts of psychic experiences carried out by him and the members of his church, where there was a mediumistic development in which the adepts manifested the mediumship of xenoglossy, speaking in different languages.
Another name that requires our dedicated study in the history of mediumship is that of Andrew Jackson Davis (1826-1910), who a century later contributed admirably as a follower of the work of Swedenborg, who was, in fact, one of his spiritual mentors. Davis is considered a forerunner of spiritualism in America and presents himself as a powerful mediumistic link that maintains the unity of the doctrinal process in the history of mediumship, starring in various unfolding phenomena and fostering the publication of a set of books known as Harmonic Philosophy. He was the one who, in the nineteenth century, led a spiritualist movement in the United States. In the book Principles of Nature, he also foresaw the advent of spiritualism as a doctrine and mediumistic practice.
Sensitive medium, he possessed clairvoyance and claudioudience using his faculty in the diagnosis of diseases in favour of the neighbour. He has been considered as the prophet of the New Revelation and father of the new knowledge of spiritualistic phenomena.
Hydesville was in the mid-nineteenth century a small town typical of New York State, which consisted of a few modest wooden houses and a humble population, but whose people had a spirit free of prejudice and favourable to new ideas. In one of them occurred the phenomena that, in the opinion of many, have been the most important thing with which America contributed to the common spiritual world. The protagonists of these events were two Canadian sisters, Margareth, and Catherine Fox.
This phenomenon occurred in the year 1848 in the town of Hydesville in New York. There lived a family of farmers, the Fox family, of Methodist religion, with their two small daughters, Margareth, of 14 years and Catherine of 11. They had rented the house in December of 1947 and in a short time, they began to hear noises. Other previous tenants had also heard them. It was as if someone knocked on the door beating, but there was no one. The inexplicable noises increased. On the night of March 31, 1848, they began to sound much louder.
The two girls began to develop a language of “touches” with the spirits, which over time began to answer the questions that the little ones asked them. Fans and followers of the paranormal, as well as sceptics, witnessed innumerable times the conversations that the girls had with the spirits that, they said, inhabited the home.
The legend of the house of Hydesville soon began to become popular, and the girls began to organize gatherings more and more crowded. In one of the most recognized later, the spirits that inhabited the home admitted that they were the product of a murder that had occurred in that same home, although they were not able to specify when and where it had happened. Sometime later schoolchildren playing in the Hydesville house found the body. It was Carlos B. Rosma, confirming the veracity of what happened.
Today you can see a plaque in memory of the family in front of the house. Spiritualism since then developed in the United States, France, Italy, Germany, and England.
Almost simultaneously with the Fox sisters, another mediumistic phenomenon aroused the attention of the masses. It was the phenomena of the medium Daniel Douglas Home, who was known worldwide for the paranormal effects he produced around him. We could say that Daniel Dunglas Home is one of the main psychic mediums of the 19th century
It is not an exaggeration to say that almost all the great figures of the 19th century ended up accepting the psyche.
Among them, Sir William Crookes.
He was one of the pioneers in the investigation of psychic phenomena in the history of mediumship, specifically in the area of materialization. He studied in depth and with rigour the great physical mediums of the time, such as Kate Fox, Eusapia Palladino, and Florence Cook.
With this fact it is established that the new era should be inaugurated by means of an extraordinary discovery of both material and moral value.
After the events of 1848, shock phenomena spread through the United States and Europe. However, the system of questions and answers by means of beating where each quantity corresponded to a letter of the alphabet was a method that took a long time. What prompted the appearance of the rotating tables.
Towards 1855 the question of the manifestations of the talking or revolving tables was in vogue. It was widespread entertainment in high society.
The phenomenon of the rotating tables, stirred up Europe captivating the ballrooms of that time. The revolving table was small and round, with three legs, around which people gathered to provoke manifestations of supernatural forces. People asked and the table answered. (People thought that the table spoke, it was a fun, a hobby for the attendees).
The famous French pedagogue Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail, was invited by a friend to attend a meeting of the rotating tables. For his intellectual preparation, he believed that there should be an intelligent force in this phenomenon since the tables have no brain to think and respond. The fact that aroused the attention of the remarkable professor, who began to investigate the phenomenon applying the experimental method, learned with Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.
Hippolyte-León-Denizard Rivail decides to adopt a pseudonym suggested by his spiritual guide for this research and chooses that of Allan Kardec. Name that he used in a previous incarnation as a druid.
He observed, compared, interrogated, annotated and always ordered a large amount of information with rational logic.
For 14 years, from 1855 to 1869, Allan Kardec devoted himself body and soul to the study and practice of the phenomenon. His effort and study, as well as the intense dissemination, resulted in new science, philosophy, and morals, the reason why he is known as the codifier of spiritualism.
On April 18, 1857, at the Dentu bookstore, located at the Palais Royal in Paris, he launched the first of them, The Book of Spirits, officially beginning the codification of the Spiritist Doctrine, a very important date in the history of mediumship.
Today there are still many researchers who develop their studies in this field. Such as Dr. Peter Fenwick, Dr. Sam Parnia, Dr. Edith Fiore, Dr. Ian Stevenson, Dr. Pim Van Lommel, but there are many others. Nowadays there are millions of people who have found in mediumship the reasoned answer to transcendent questions of life. The history of mediumship is still written, there are a lot of researchers that try to understand this phenomenon.