Monday, February 7, 2011

Servants of the Supernatural by Antonio Melechi.

Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian MindServants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind by Antonio Melechi

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"The sight of a spectral arm in an audience of three thousand persons will appeal to more hearts, make a deeper impression, and convert more people to the belief in the hereafter, in ten minutes, than a whole regiment of preachers, no matter how eloquent, could in five years." - P.B. Randall.

Servants of the Supernatural provides an indepth consideration of the development of the Victorian Spiritualist Movement, beginning with the Animal Magnetism and Mesmerism (the pre-cursor to Hypnotherapy), to the advent of spirit communication in the form of table-tapping and mediumship.

This is not a book that details the belief systems of Spiritualism. Instead it provides a detailed timeline of the events and phenomena that appeared during the Victorian era, the increase in its popularity, and the determination of those persons who set out to prove it all a massive fraud.

Although I enjoyed this book immensely for its significant historical detail, I felt it focused too heavily on Animal Magnetism and Mesmerism, and failed to establish the link between these phenomenon and the forms of spirit communication that appeared later.
Recommended for those interested in the Victorian Era moreso than those interested in Spiritualism.

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