Spiritualism in the Victorian era
Just as special effects and ghost photography gained popularity, the spiritualism movement was emerging. Spiritualism had a deep-seeded belief that the living could communicate with the dead, particularly through a spiritual medium. Mediums were the ‘portal’ to communicate with the dead. In the 1840s, Katie and Maggie Fox famously claimed to speak to a spirit called Mr. Splitfoot through a series of knockings and taps. The Fox sisters became a sensation after public demonstrations of their afterlife communication skills. It appeased the minds and hearts of those who were mourning someone, a child, a parent, a sibling, a lost love, and ushered them into the spiritualism movement. The New Yorker estimates between four million to eleven million people just in the United States claimed to be Spiritualists. They clung to hope that their loved ones lived on after death, breaking down the barrier between this life and the afterlife.