Dating for spiritualists

In this environment, the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) and the teachings of Franz Mesmer (1734–1815) provided an example for those seeking direct personal knowledge of the afterlife.Swedenborg, who claimed to communicate with spirits while awake, described the structure of the spirit world.

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These reformers were uncomfortable with more prominent churches because those churches did little to fight slavery and even less to advance the cause of women's rights.Two features of his view particularly resonated with the early Spiritualists: first, that there is not a single Hell and a single Heaven, but rather a series of higher and lower heavens and hells; second, that spirits are intermediates between God and humans, so that the divine sometimes uses them as a means of communication.Although Swedenborg warned against seeking out spirit contact, his works seem to have inspired in others the desire to do so.Such links with reform movements, often radically socialist, had already been prepared in the 1840s, as the example of Andrew Jackson Davis shows.After 1848, many socialists became ardent spiritualists or occultists.

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