A Long History

Rise of Spiritualism

Industrial Revolution

Industrialism and Ghosts

Post-bellum America

Supernatural and Hope

Supernatural Restores Faith

Ghosts Build Communities

Comfort to Bereaved

Why the Supernatural was Entertaining

Transcending the Real

Ghosts and Mystery

Ghosts and Thrills

Entertainers Cash In

Laughing at Ghosts 

Anthony Hopper






















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Why Were Americans Interested in the Supernatural?

Ghosts: Transcending the Real (con.)

An article in the New York Times showed exactly what one of these specters could A ghost dissipating into nothingness; It is from the “Daily Graphic,” October 30, 1874 and is located in Anne Braude, 'Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth Century America,' 2nd ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001) 114. do:

...On Saturday night his ghostship appeared in due form and sepulchral attire to the watchman at the bridge..., [the ghost] walked up to him deliberately and laid his head upon his shoulder. Human watchman could not stand such supernatural familiarities, although heavily armed with two or three revolvers, and so he cut and run. The race was an exciting one. For a time the watchman was ahead: but soon the ghost flanked him, and then it came alongside,...then seized him by the coat-tail and moaned out in doleful tones: “Lost!” Lost!” Mortal watchman could not endure such a terrible visitation. He fired upon the ghost, but his ghostship only replied with a loud, defiant laugh and sprang upon the shoulder of the frightened watchman (2).

Most of the newspaper’s readers probably did not take this whimsical article seriously; instead, they could delight in the antics of the spirit—feats which no living human being could perform.






Last update 

September 8, 2004










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