Tag Archives: spiritualism

Spirit Photography in the Museum

Last October 2021, we gathered some friends, historians, a museum curator, and fellow spectrophiles to run an experiment at the Museum of the Home in London. We wanted to see if we could recreate spirit photographs using historically accurate Victorian methods.

This post contains three parts. First, a short history of spirit photography. Second, an interview with our photographer Selina Mayer. And finally, our Spirit Photography Album with the outcomes of the experiment.

***If you want to skip straight to our Spirit Photography Album first, scroll to the bottom of this post.***

Continue reading Spirit Photography in the Museum

Haunted Bloomsbury Audio Walk: Spiritualism & Ghost Stories in WC1

Happy 1st of September! You know what this means?? Officially only one month until 🎃🦇💜 !OCTOBER! 💜🦇🎃 London Month of the Dead have a fabulous calendar of spooky delights for you!

Check out my #spiritualism audio walk through 👻#HauntedBloomsbury👻 — it even comes with a glossy guidebook! 🔮

Click here for more info:

Haunted Bloomsbury Audio Walk: Spiritualism & Ghost Stories in WC1

HAUNTED BLOOMSBURY – Spiritualism and Ghost Stories in WC1
An Audio Guided Tour and Map Book with Dr Romany Reagan

ABOUT
Take a journey through darker Bloomsbury as your tour guide Dr Romany Reagan leads you through the occult pathways and hidden histories of this birthplace of British Spiritualism.

The Victorians were fascinated by a wide range of phenomena that might loosely be termed the ‘occult’. In their search for meaning in their mortality during an increasingly secularised age, interest in Spirituality and connections ‘beyond the veil’ touched almost every aspect of Victorian life, from scientific study to literature. Tracing Spiritualism’s lines of origin, we’re driven through these occult pathways into the heart of Bloomsbury. Join your tour guide, Dr Romany Reagan, for an evening stalk of gothic intrigues and Victorian ghosts.

WHAT YOU GET
– An A5 full colour map and guide book
– Each book comes with a download or streaming code so that you can take your tour at any time alone or with a friend

Haunted Bloomsbury—Audio Walk Tracing Spiritualism, Ghost Stories & the London Occult

By Romany Reagan

Whether it was considered an intellectual pursuit, a genuine religious order, a feminist flag, or just a grand excuse for a gin-soaked party, Spiritualism was a crucible where many of the conflicting and newly forming ideas of the late Victorian era brewed and clashed. At one point it was the domain of the intellectual elite, who held literary salons discussing Swedenborg and Blake. At the other extreme it was reverse colonialism gone mad, with female liberation, drunkenness—and worst of all Americanness—running rampant through England. 

The Victorians had long been fascinated by a wide range of phenomena that might loosely be termed the ‘occult’; and earlier manifestations of interest in spirituality had made their mark during the first half of the 19th century. Tracing Spiritualism’s lines of origin, we’re driven through these occult pathways into the heart of Bloomsbury. Button your greatcoat and steel your nerves as your tour guide Dr Romany Reagan leads you on an audio journey through the Bloomsbury backstreets into a landscape of gothic intrigues and Victorian ghost stories.

‘Dickens, Mesmerism & Ghosts’ Video for The Dickens Project, Dickens-to-Go

I made this video with The Dickens Project out of University of California, Santa Cruz for their Dickens-to-Go project.

Just in time for Halloween, Dr. Romany Reagan explains how the Victorian revival of Mesmerism of the 1830s allowed Dickens to explore “ideas about the workings of the mind [that] come through in his work when you start to see his characters and their hauntings through the lens of his mesmeric philosophy.”

Charles Dickens Day Part II: Haunted Dickens: Mesmerism, Spiritualism & ‘Enjoyable Nightmares’

By Romany Reagan 

Noises? I myself have sat in the dismal parlour listening, until I have heard so many and strange noises that they would have chilled my blood if I had not warmed it by dashing out to make discoveries. Try this in bed, in the dead of the night; try this at your own comfortable fireside, in the life of the night. You can fill any house with noises, if you will, until you have a noise for every nerve in your nervous system.

—Charles Dickens, Haunted House

In honour of Charles Dickens Day, which celebrated the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ death on 9 June 2020, I’m dedicating both last week’s and this week’s posts to one of my favourite storytellers. For this week, I’ll delve deeper into the meaning behind Dickens’s ghosts.

Did you know that Charles Dickens had an enduring obsession with Mesmerism? It’s so strange when you start to dig into it, because you can begin to see how this belief informed his conception and presentation of ghosts and the supernatural within his stories. The themes that Dickens addresses most famously in his writing are the state of Victorian society and its treatment of the poor; but his ideas about the workings of the mind come through in his writing when you start to see his characters and their hauntings through the lens of his mesmeric philosophy. 

Continue reading Charles Dickens Day Part II: Haunted Dickens: Mesmerism, Spiritualism & ‘Enjoyable Nightmares’

Spectral Animals: Ghost Pets to Hellhounds

By Romany Reagan

“If the study of ghost belief lacks academic respectability, the study of belief in non-human ghosts is still more beyond the pale.” (Knox 262)

Continue reading Spectral Animals: Ghost Pets to Hellhounds