Religion Past and Present

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(479 words)

[German Version]

Spiritism (or spiritualism) denotes a movement whose adherents believe in the empirically demonstrable possibility of contact with the dead in the spirit world. It reached its peak in the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The roots of spiritism lie in the penumbra of Mesmerism (F.A. Mesmer, J. Kerner), especially Mesmer’s experiments in ascribing paranormal abilities like clairvoyance and automatic writing to “somnambulists.” Spiritism followed two parallel lines of development.

In the United States, the mesmerist Andrew Jackson…

Cite this page
Bergunder, Michael, “Spiritism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 16 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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