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W. T. SteadNonconformist and Newspaper Prophet$
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Stewart J. Brown

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198832539

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198832539.001.0001

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Spiritualism and the Other World, 1880–1912

Spiritualism and the Other World, 1880–1912

Chapter:
(p.135) 4 Spiritualism and the Other World, 1880–1912
Source:
W. T. Stead
Author(s):

Stewart J. Brown

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198832539.003.0004

From the 1880s, W. T. Stead became increasingly interested in spiritualism and telepathy, believing paranormal communications provided proof of an afterlife and support for biblical accounts of angels, spirits, and miracles. Convinced that he possessed paranormal powers, he practiced automatic writing as a form of communication with the spirits of the dead. From 1893 to 1897, he edited the journal Borderland, aimed at promoting and popularizing occult studies. His Letters from Julia, first published in 1897 and claiming to be messages from the afterlife, became an international bestseller. For Stead, the Christian revival movement of 1904–5 was infused with elements of spiritualism and telepathy, and he was drawn to psychological views of religious experience. His ‘Julia’s Bureau’, formed in 1909, was meant to help individuals communicate with the spirits of the dead. While many were critical, Stead embraced spiritualism as supporting religious belief in an increasingly sceptical and secular era.

Keywords:   W.T. Stead, spiritualism, telepathy, theosophy, ghosts, automatic writing, Borderland, revival of 1904–5, Julia’s Bureau

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