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SNU Video on the History of Spiritualism

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SNU Video on the History of Spiritualism Empty SNU Video on the History of Spiritualism

Post by Admin Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:27 pm

Hi All,

So the SNU are releasing videos on Spiritualism topics. The idea is good but I am not sure of the effect this video has.

Unfortunately it follows the flawed history created from Leah Fox Underhills, especially the misrepresentaions in "The Missing Link" 1885 (and also in terms of what she told others prior to this). In this she edited the EE Lewis statement given by her Mother in early April 1848 to add in the rather romantic concept of Mr Splitfoot (unfortunately as it refers to the name given to Satan) which suddenly becomes added to Spiritualism's history incorrectly, by a lady who was not present (and who did not arrive at Hydesville until well after the events) and who the records show played around a lot with her personal history and age. Indeed the video has the ages of Kate and Margaretta from the same incorrect source. The Mothers statement and 1850 census records confirm they were 12 and 15.

It is sad that this, the most important part of the first Truth of Spiritualism has been misrecorded so often that the myth seems to be accepted as reality in the same way that the myth of Emma Hardinge Brittens presentaion of the & Principles from Robert Owen at Cleveland Hall has become accepted History too often (I believe that, unfortunately this may also have originated years back in the SNU).

Any way hopefully this will be put right in any future videos which I suspect could also be made in a more interesting manner. Any way overall the idea is good.


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Post by zerdini Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:58 am

Thanks for putting this information on your site Jim.

I have long maintained that the information given by the SNU regarding the origin of the 7 Principles and Modern Spiritualism generally is incorrect.

In addition the fact that the SNU also gave away valuable archive material without making it available to Spiritualists speaks for itself.

There is nothing to fear from the true facts of Spiritualism's beginnings but it would appear that the SNU prefer fantasy to reality.



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Post by Admin Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:56 am

Hi Z,

The video idea is good as is Stephen Uptons wife Stella's idea to write an accessible book to introduce children to Spiritualism. Unfortunately that book, reviewed recently in PN, is the start of a series where Mr Splitfoot is featured in all of the titles.

It does seem important that we face up to the fact that Mr Splitfoot was never part of the original story and was a feature added by Leah Fox Fish Brown Underhill along with items such as changing the ages of Kate and Margaretta.

Unfortunately so much of our "factual" history was based upon later materials as many early books and pamphlets were unavailable by the time the major Spiritualist organisations were founded.

Indeed but for the excellent work of the Psypioneer team of Paul Gaunt (the SNU Historian and Leslie Price Chairman of the SPR) we may still be in ignorance of it all.

I also agree that for those pamphlets to have been let go by the SNU and then sold by the SPR is almost blasphemous to our history unless the AFC library has duplicates. To scan them as a PDF file and create an elibrary archive should have been easily acheivable with volunteers.

The EE Lewis pamphlet may be found at


and Lis's Riddle of the Records Psypioneer article about the ages of the Fox Sisters at

It is interesting that I have also discovered some conflict on the date of the first Public Meeting and subsequent investigation at Corintian Hall Rochester (indeed the wording of some subsequent reports is open to interpretation). This may in part be because of an error in one of the 1940's Rochester History Almanacs which quotes this as saying it was Nov 1848. Unfortunately for people taking this as a new fact the same Almanac edition show that Corinthian Hall was not finished and opened until the middle of 1849. I believe that in 2008 Rochester Library may have inadvertanently promoted this earlier date too. Subsequent publications, in the 1940's, by the Rochester Historical Society put in the correct dates in Nov 1849.

It is an interesting time for research because progressively very much of the early material is becoming available for our perusal and enabling a correction of the later errors. To some extent it becomes clear that by the mid 1860's the material produced could contain misleading and incorrect information.



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