Spiritualists believed that science would reveal the truths of their metaphysical claims and embraced medical and technological progress on all fronts. Spiritualist ritual was predicated on the invention of the telegraph: instant and invisible communication across space was the precursor to communication with those in heaven. With the steam engine revolutionizing ideas of time, futurity and progress competed with the lionizing of the past. Spiritualists proposed that new machines could be made to perfect communication with the dead and created several devices from the simple to the extraordinary. Photography, a burgeoning medium that seemed purely objective to most observers, was conscripted to prove the existence of the dead as spirit photographs proliferated across the country and abroad.
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