The Modern Spiritualist Movement

A Brief History Of Spiritualism & The Kindred Spirits Spiritualist Fellowship

To understand more about who we are at the Kindred Spirits Spiritualist Fellowship, it is beneficial to have a little knowledge of the history of The Modern Spiritualist Movement. This is where the tradition of Spiritualism is considered to have officially began in history by many Spiritualists. 

The KSSF is closely associated with the Spiritual Science Fellowship of Canada. Both have roots in what is referred to as The Modern Spiritualist Movement. The founder and president of the Spiritual Science Fellowship, Rev. Dr. Marilyn Rossner, was originally ordained in the Spiritualist Church Of Montreal. After this she founded the Spiritual Science Fellowship, but that story is for another article. 

What Is Spiritualism

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Spiritualism is a system of understandings that we can communicate with those who have died. In general with this understanding in place one’s life can be affected in a positive manner. Spiritualists believe in the continuation of the soul and that life continues after the change called death. Spiritualists also understand that communication with those who have passed over from life is possible and proven by mediumship. As well, they believe that every one of us possess some sort of Mediumship ability. This Mediumship ability may be naturally heightened in some or it can be developed. Spiritualists also feel that life after the change called death brings us to a place in which the spirit can still continue to evolve.

Some say Spiritualism is a religious belief but many spiritualists may not believe in what would be commonly referred to as God. Rather many believe in a higher power, a creative source but, one which may be known and called by other names.

The Modern Spiritualist Movement  

The Movement officially came about as a result of an instance of spirit communication in 1848 involving two young girls, in what was Hydeville, New York, USA. What happened there has been regarded as the beginning of The Modern Spiritualist Movement. This is despite the fact that the existence of spirit communication has been observed in many shamanic traditions for thousands and thousands of years.

The Fox Sisters

In 1848 two young Hydeville girls, sisters Kate Fox age 12 and Margaret Fox age 15 had unusual experiences. The sisters had been noticing a rapping at night when they were trying to sleep. So they decided to see if they could establish a communication with what was causing these unexplained rappings. To do this the sisters began by asking the rapping to respond to yes and no questions. Through their methods they began what seemed to be a dialogue with a spirit.

Through the sister’s style of communication they discovered that it was a ghost of a peddler they were communicating with. It became understood that this was the spirit of a man who was murdered by the former resident of their home for his money. In making a long story short, after this is when the Fox sisters became famous. The news of what was happening with the sisters soon traveled sparking on an unexpected interest which spread. This resulted in the sisters traveling to demonstrate how they could communicate with spirit. Their fame took the sisters’ on many travels including to Europe.

Even though there were notable individuals who contributed to the birth of what is considered to be The Modern Spiritualist Movement, the Fox sisters seemed to set the stage for many other mediums and investigators into spiritualism to come.

Fraud An Issue Through Out Time  

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With the growing interest of the Modern Spiritualist Movement there were, of course, individuals who were interested in making fast money through using  fraudulent means. The need to investigate claims of paranormal activity became apparent as a result of such activities. There were several societies which were organized for such a purpose.

“The Ghost Society” began in 1851 at Cambridge University in England and was the forerunner for “The British Society For Psychical Research”. Also formed to investigate fraudulent activity were  “The London Dialectical Society” in 1867 and “The Psychological Society Of Great Britain” founded in 1875 by Sergeant Cox.

The British Society For Psychical Research was formed as a result of interest in spiritualism, paranormal activity and a need for investigation. This society was the first to investigate phenomena of Spiritualism in an orderly and scientific way. The initial driving force for the society was a professor of physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin, Sir William Barrett. The American Society For Psychical Research was founded after the British Society For Psychical Research. Again Sir William Barrett was successful in generating interest for the formation of the American society.

Growth Of Spiritualism

The Modern Spiritualist movement seemed to be strongest through the periods of the 1850s until the 1920s. Regardless, today it’s practices are becoming more and more common. It seems that the practices of Spiritualism are growing in popularity daily throughout the world, especially with the onset of the internet. 

The original movement was strengthened following both the Civil War and The First World War. This occurred as many lost loved ones as a result of the wars. This left many who wished to gain contact with the spirits of their departed loved ones. Many of which had no opportunity for closure and for goodbyes to those whom they loved. Many were and still are, comforted by the confirmation of the continuation of the soul after the change called death. This is the gift offered to humanity by spirit communication practiced in spiritualism through mediumship.

The Birth Of Spiritualist Churches 

image of a white church

The Modern Spiritualist Movement had its beginnings in 1848 and the happenings at that time marked the start of many Spiritualist Churches still prominent today. The events that started the movement may seem insignificant to many in today’s world. Regardless, in history, many times it can be a small discovery or event, which then seems to open man’s eyes to what may have seemed obvious to others for so long.

With the birth of Modern Spiritualism many Spiritualist churches were formed mostly in the United States, Canada and England but, they also spread throughout the world. Among some of these are “The Spiritualist Church Of Canada”, “The International Spiritualist Alliance” (Canadian), “First Spiritual Temple” and “The Spiritualists’ National Union.”

Notable Personalities Of The Modern Spiritualist Movement 

There were many notable, talented mediums who traveled displaying their gifts throughout the world during the beginnings of the Modern Spiritualist Movement. The following are just a very few. 

Mrs. Maria Hayden was the first American Medium to visit England after the birth of the Modern Spiritualist Movement. Mrs. Hayden was influenced by the well known medium Daniel D. Home. Daniel D. Home was a very popular medium who could demonstrate levitation, table-tilting and trance. He was known to, without hesitation, conduct demonstrations in full light to show he was not a hoax. D. D. Homes was no stranger to Royalty having a magnetic personality. 

The clairvoyant Andrew Jackson Davis was known for his ability to go into a trance. In these states, Davis found cures for disorders as well as other scientific information in which he had no information of.

Along with these couple of individuals there are many other notable characters in history that had a strong interest in spiritualism. A small incomplete list of notable Spiritualists consists of; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Edison, William Lyon McKenzie King, and Mark Twain. To be noted is that many of the Spiritual Churches and societies which sprung out of The Modern Spiritualist Movement still exist and continue on today.

Allan Kardec  & Spiritism

A particular movement of spiritualism, Spiritism, took off in Portugal, Brazil and Latin America which was spurred on by the work of Allan Kardec. Spiritism features many more talented Spiritualist but Allan Kardec remains one of the most well known today.

Black and white image of stamp from Brazil with sketch of Allan Kardec.

Allan Kardec was the pen name for a French teacher and educator Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail. Rivail was not a medium himself. He compiled and gathered a multitude of information by others mediums and channelers. Allan Kardec’s works consisted of a number of books including; “The Spirits Book”, “The Spirit World”, “Book On Mediums,” and “The Gospel According to Spiritism”. Allan Kardec’s work is not exclusive to Latin America with popularity. His works are some of the most popular books dealing with mediumship as a source of guidance and information. 

As a side note, recently, Netflix produced a film on Allan Kardec life called Kardec. I found it to be a nice story, despite the fact it maybe a little exaggerated at times. Regardless, I feel it is still worth a watch for those interested in Spiritualism and it’s history.

Some Of The Best Information On Mediumship   

image of old books

This is just a very brief history of the Modern Spiritualist Movement. If you are interested in knowing more, information is easy to find. The movement is the origins of many groups, churches, and organizations such as the Spiritual Science Fellowship and the Kindred Spirits Spiritualist Fellowship, even though the SSF and the KSSF has it’s own twists and differences. 

Something I share with people who ask for recommendations for books on  Mediumship is to seek out books written by the old Spiritualists. Even though some of these books may be difficult to read at times, they are, in my opinion, some of the best. I find they are usually full of information which gets right to the point of things quickly. I also feel part of the reason these books are so good is that many of the authors of that time were not as influenced by the want and desire for fame and fortune.

The KSSF Difference 

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As previously mentioned, the events in 1848 are expressed as the start of The Modern Spiritualist Movement. This is despite the fact that the existence, belief, and understanding of spirit communication has been observed in many shamanic traditions for thousands and thousands of years. 

Kindred Spirits Spiritualist Fellowship, along with the Spiritual Science Fellowship, recognize that ancient knowledge in regards to Spiritualism and Spirit Communication have existed long before 1848. We know and understand that these practices have been observed by many ancient cultures. The knowledge from these cultures contain many wisdoms and knowledge that we welcome wholeheartedly. We also aim to share information and perspectives from different traditions on different subjects related to Spiritualism and Metaphysics. From my own experiences, traditional Spiritualist Churches tend to focus on information coming from the teachers of the Modern Spiritualist Movement. This, in my opinion, is a major factor in the differences between the KSSF and the traditional Spiritualist churches.

Even though the Kindred Spirits Spiritualist Fellowship is a community of people who believe in the philosophies of spiritualism, we aim to share with you on many different topics. The following are examples of topics shared with in the Spiritual Science Fellowship which may be included in the future with the KSSF, topics such as; Mediumship, Spiritual Energy Healing, UFOs, Ancient Cultures, Different Religions, Spiritual Practices and Perspectives, The Origins Of Man, Astral Travel, Mythical Creatures, and Sharing by KSSF Members with their own stories. This is a list which can go on and on. The topics we share at events all depends on what those attending wish to hear, and what individuals may wish to share as this organization grows.

I hope you enjoyed this brief history on the Modern Spiritualist Movement and that you may join us at one of our KSSF events in the future. If you have any comments or ideas we would like to hear from you. You can email us at any time at

Submitted by Rev. Eileen Gonzalez

Come And Share Together
In Unity With Spirit!

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