Pioneers of Spiritualism

Harrison D. Barrett  1863 – 1911

Harrison Delivan Barrett was born in 1863 in Canaan, Maine, educated in Maine schools and in 1889 graduated from Meadville, Pennsylvania Theological School.

Mr. Barrett became interested in Spiritualism in 1880 and was elected president of the National Spiritualistic Association (NSA) of the United States and Canada in 1883.

When HDB’s sister, Ollie, passed to spirit at the age of twelve, she communicated with her brother through rappings to let him know she was still here, willing and able to “talk” with her loved ones. Harrison became a dedicated Spiritualist and began attending summer sessions at Camp Etna in Etna, Maine, becoming president of The First Maine Spiritualists State Camp Meeting Association, now called the Etna Spiritualist Association, located at Camp Etna in 1902.

The story goes that he would walk the 25 miles from Canaan to Camp Etna, barefoot, with his shoes over his shoulder so as not to appear scuffed and unkempt when he arrived there. His mediumship and deep resonant voice made him a splendid orator, and as a missionary, he traveled all over the United States many times without funds, and with cardboard in his shoes.

The organized NSA (National Spiritualist Association) came into existence due to Harrison’s quick thinking at the trial of a woman accused of fortune telling and witchcraft. Harrison was called to court to be a witness and when the judge explained to him if he could prove this religion was a true religion with a creed he might let the woman go free. Harrison asked for a recess, wrote the first three Spiritualist Principles as they stand today, and the woman was allowed to go free.

1-We believe in Infinite Intelligence.
2-We believe that the phenomena of Nature, both physical and spiritual, are the expression of Infinite Intelligence.
3-We affirm that a correct understanding of such expression and living in accordance therewith constitute true religion.

Harrison wrote many books during his lifetime including The Life Work of Cora. L. V. Richmond; Cassadaga; Its History and Teaching; The Evolution of Worship; The Soul’s Song of Triumph; Psychic Romances; and his last book, Pantheistic Idealism.

Harrison’s wife, Margarite, passed to spirit a few months before him. He himself passed in 1911 from complications from a surgery (unknown) They lost their two year old baby daughter, Xelia a few years before Margarite died. Xelia’s headstone sits in the small cemetery next to the large monument honoring Mary Vanderbilt (respected Spiritualist Medium) in Barrett Square at Camp Etna.

Etna Spiritualist Camp is still active today with Spiritualist Services, workshops, Mediums in Residence, events and gatherings that welcome all Spiritualists and those seeking healing and messages from Spirit, or desiring to learn more about the religion.

Rev. H. Gordon Burroughs became active in Spiritualism at the age of 16. He later became the pastor of the Church of Two Worlds in Washington, DC. He was elected to the NSAC board as a trustee in1944. He served in that capacity until elected NSAC Vice President in 1958. He served in that office until he passed away in August of 1971.

H. G. Burroughs was one of the best-known speakers, mediums and healers in Spiritualism in his lifetime. His guides were Black Eagle and Father Murphy who came through by means of direct voice.  Besides many pamphlets and writings, he authored the book, “Becoming A Spiritualist”. Anyone becoming a member of the Portland Spiritualist Church receives a copy of this book at their Hand of Fellowship service.

Andrew Jackson Davis: He was born 8/11/1826  in Blooming Grove, NY and passed away 1/13/1910 in Boston, MA. He was known by many names other than his birth given one. They were and are “The Poughkeepsie Seer”, “John the Baptist of Modern Spiritualism”, and “Father of Modern Spiritualism”.  He was a great seer and inspirational writer.

As a seer his spirit guide was Galen. He started as a clairaudient and then as a clairvoyant. Davis, when in trance, found that to his eyes the human body was transparent.  When lecturing he would often quote from the Hebrew language. He prophesized in detail the coming of the motorcar, airplane and the typewriter. He claimed to have heard and seen Emmanuel Swedenborg materialized. He had a vision of children in spirit schools. He prophesized the founding of the 8th and 9th planets which were   discovered in 1933. He prophesized that a civilization would be discovered in South America in 1908. It was found in 1903.

As a writer and medium he established the 1st Lyceum (influenced by his vision of the spirit children in school). He wrote “The Magic Staff” and was editor of the “Herald of Progress”. Other books were “Harmonial Philosophy” (about his psychic revelations), “Principles of Nature”, “Nature’s Divine Revelations” and “Beyond the Valley”  (regarding events of his life.) Not to be forgotten is the “History of Spiritualism – Vol. 1 & 2.   Many of his publications are still in print

Davis did have a medical degree having graduated from the U.S. Medical College in NY in 1866. He believed that disease is in the soul not the body!

 “Behold, here is thy Magic Staff: Under all Circumstances Keep an Even Mind. Take it, Try it, Walk with it, Talk with it, Lean on it. Believe it forever. 

Andrew Jackson Davis

Read about one of the most outstanding and important historical figures in the Spiritualist Religion and his connections with Edgar Allen Poe and George Bush among others!

Ernest W. Oaten 1875-1945-  As an 11 year old he was apprenticed to an English printer. He heard some of the workers discussing Spiritualism, but he had no attraction to the concept. Finally, he gave in and attended a séance with the thought in mind to debunk the religion. Instead, he was captivated, continued to attend séances and became a Spiritualist. In fact, he became a trance medium. He was a very intelligent man with a quick mind. He helped found the Temple of Spiritualism in Portsmouth, England. In 1910 he married Amy Jordan, who worked by his side in Spiritualism. In1915 he became President of the Spiritualist National Union. In 1919 he became the editor of “The Two Worlds” and served in that capacity until his death 26 years later. In 1923 he assisted in drafting the Constitution for the I.S.F. Council. In 1928 her was elected President of the International Spiritualist Federation. He held that office for 6 years. He did radio programs and traveled extensively sharing the story of Spiritualism.  He was sincere and devoted to Spiritualism, as well as, having a dedication to truth and justice.

Eusapia Paladino (1854-1918) This Italian became internationally known as a physical medium. Her abilities also showed up in childhood. She was a peasant child lacking formal education. Her list of accomplishments included being able to fluctuate her weight by 17 pounds. She could materialize figures, levitate large objects but also herself.  She was a much tested medium by other mediums and scientists. Her main control (guide) for trance was John King.

Mrs. Leonore E. Piper – This American was very famous as a trance medium and writing medium. Her mediumship was apparent at the age of 8. At age 22 she married and that is when her mediumship bloomed and grew. She convinced and converted scientists such as Sir Oliver Lodge and Professor Hyslop who had tested her abilities. The tests and supervision went on for 20 years on a nearly daily basis. Her main controls (guides) were Phinuit when she was in trance, and George Pelham when she was doing automatic writing. She was capable of writing a message and giving an oral message at the same time.