Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

US researcher who founded spiritualism spent his life in vain

U.S. researcher Andrew Jackson Davis is considered the founder of spiritualism. He did not display any special talents in his childhood. He went to an elementary school only. Things changed dramatically in 1843. Davis was a 17-year-old youngster when he met Levingstone, a hypnotist. The latter discovered the abilities of an extraordinary medium in Davis. In a capacity of medium Davis toured many U.S. cities. He studied extensively by reading books on medicine, nature and mysticism during those lengthy tours.

In May 1845, some unusual revelations dawned upon Davis during a vision that he had in May 1845. The revelations were meant for promulgation for the benefit of present and future generations. Davis settled downed in New York. In a somnambular state, he dictated paragraphs of his book to a secretary. The book was entitled The Principles of Nature, Its Divine Revelations and the Voice to Mankind. It would become a bible of spiritualists for the next one hundred and fifty years. Davis’ numerous followers appeared first in America and later in Europe. The accounts of unexpected encounters with the spirits of the dead started coming from different countries. Eyewitnesses’ accounts could have been ignored and written off as fiction if there had not been objective evidence indicating the existence of a world that is invisible under normal conditions. First and foremost, pieces of evidence were gathered by means of photography.

The first officially documented case of a ghost picture produced by photography dates back to 1862. The picture was taken by the American photographer Memler. One day he was alone in his friend’s photo shop. He took a picture of himself. Much to his surprise, he saw two figures coming into view on the photograph as he revealed a record. Memler did not show any interest in spirits or ghosts at the time. At the beginning he thought that the second figure appeared because of the traces of a photograph previously recorded on the record. At times similar incidents occur if photography is based on colloid method. Following the incident, Memler was keen to find an explanation and went on to carry out several experiments using brand-new records. The strange unclear figures appeared again on some of the records. At the advice of his friends, Memler quit his regular job and became a professional photographer and medium capable of summoning and photographing the spirits.

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Memler enjoyed huge popularity for some time. He was in great demand among members of an audience concerned with the occult. But the party was cut short by Memler’s competitors who accused him of fraud. The competitors demonstrated a method that could be used for producing a blurred whitish picture of the second person standing next to a poser. The disclosure could have pulled the plug on further attempts to entrap ghosts in the photographic lens. Fortunately, things ran a different course. A carefully conducted test saved Memler’s reputation. During the test he had to use somebody else’s camera and photographic materials while working under close scrutiny of several professional photographers. Against all odds, Memler managed to produce the pictures of spirits

A hurricane of breathtaking discoveries swept through the world of traditional science at the turn of the 20th century. The discoveries completely altered the course of the development of human race, which became heavily dependent on machines. People had no time for communicating with the spirits.


Translated by Guerman Grachev