American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural
Halloween – despite its solemn Celtic roots – has become a safe way for Americans to transgress social norms and toy with the idea of ghosts in a family-friendly fashion. But for some, spirits from another plane have always been a very real part of life on this plane.
On this Halloween special, the History Guys explore Americans’ relationship with ghosts, spirits, and witches throughout our nation’s history. Why were colonists so fearful of New England “witches”? How is it that progressive social reformers found a home in the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century? Why do new media technologies always conjure talk of the undead? Can social upheaval help explain our history with the ineffable?
- Ann Braude — Director of the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School and author of Radical Spirits: Spritualism and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-century America
- Cara Seekings — Spirit medium and resident at the Lily Dale Assembly
- Nate DiMeo — listen to more of his stories about the forgotten corners of American history at thememorypalace.us.
- Listen to an extended version of Ed’s interview with spirit medium Cara Seekings.
- Call of the Week: Dawn from Charlottesville asks about the history of Halloween mischief
- A list of recommended readings from BackStory staff
- Want to dig deeper into the history of the Supernatural? Check out this list of resources put together by the History Guys to learn more.