The Victorian Era was well-known for its amazing progress and feats in science, technology and engineering but a lesser-known fact was their growing interest and obsession with the other side. They approached this like any other profession and conducted experiments, recorded their findings and even wrote books. As expected, most people were closed-minded and treated the subject as illogical and bizarre, but the brave still carried on. Here are a couple of paranormal investigators from the Victorian Era.
1. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and student of the occult, was one of the founding members of the Theosophical Society who aimed to explore the divine abilities of humans to save the world. Hers was clairvoyance as well as mediumship, the ability to converse with the dead. One of her biggest reasons for fame was her book “The Secret Doctrine.” The book mentioned that mankind was birthed from four Root Races; the first was as white as the Moon, the second was gold, the third was red and the fourth was brown.
2. William Stead
William Stead was an investigative journalist whose expose which shed light on how easy it was to buy young girls, led to the age of consent being raised from 13 to 16. A few years later, he began engaging in a different kind of investigation; Stead claimed to have been receiving messages from the other side and would pass on messages to the relatives of a departed fellow journalist. He also wrote a short story in 1886 about a ship that sank in the Atlantic Ocean due to insufficient lifeboats. Unfortunately, Stead was one of the many souls who went down with the Titanic.
3. Annie Horniman
Annie Horniman was a wealthy woman with a penchant for arts and drama; she worked hard to promote them throughout Manchester and the rest of London. But Horniman was also a believer of mysticism and often dabbled in tarot cards. She claimed that she could project astrally to other planets, something she apparently did quite often. During one of her trips, Horniman mentioned encountering a “tall, dignified and winged” man on Saturn who explained to her that his world was dying. She also claimed that he was scared of strangers, so she and her companion made themselves invisible so as not to alarm him.
4. Annie Besant
Annie Besant was a rare woman of her time. She had some pretty strong anti-religious views, so strong that she left her husband and two children because of them. Instead, Besant was a staunch believer in anything spiritual and she held the belief that matter existed in states other than those at present known to science. She even wrote a book titled “Thought Forms” which was less about the paranormal but more about colors she experienced simultaneously with emotions. She would have been diagnosed with synesthesia; apparently purple was connected to passion.
5. Dr. Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail
Dr. Rivail was a multi-talented man: he was a teacher, doctor, lawyer, translator and of course, a spiritualist. He later went by the name Allan Kardec, a teacher of souls and even developed his own brand of spiritualism known as “Spiritism.” He also wrote a book titled “The Spirits Book ” as a sort of guide to communicating with the other side. Dr. Rivail also believed that our bodies are just temporary vessels for the spirit and that the spirits of the dead are always with us, and will be reborn at different points along the ladder of spiritual rank.
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