Two curiously solid apparitions from the trenches of the Great War. “Lieut. Smith said that it was quite a common occurrence for men in the war zone to see the ghosts of their comrades who had been killed.”
An English Spiritualist performs a number of psychometric experiments in “Shell Mischief” with young ladies in darkened rooms. Of these experiments he wrote: “I draw the special attention of the medical profession to the serious physical injury many delicate persons receive, especially females; from the very common, very natural, and English-like custom of placing specimens of minerals, crystals, and shells upon the sitting-room tables and elsewhere.”
Samuel Guppy, husband to medium Agnes Nichol Guppy, was an ardent advocate of Spiritualism. When the famous American mediums Ira and William Davenport came to England to spread the truths of that religion, a session with Ira brought a naughty devil to Guppy’s door.
While Spiritualism was taken very seriously, as a kind of New Revelation, by many adherents, the press seized on its eccentricities as always good for a journalistic laugh. And, frankly, some Spiritualists made it all too easy to ridicule the faith. Here are some characteristic specimens of 19th-century Spiritualist humor.