"The fact that nineteenth-century America was rife with mesmerists, faith healers, and prophets of course doesn't excuse their dissembling. But the Fox sisters certainly fall within the American tradition of selfinvented characters in literature and life." Barbara Weisberg,Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism, 2004, p. 271.
"At the core of Spiritualism as a popular movement lay the blending of the belief in spirits of the dead with the ideas and practices of animal magnetism," writes Ann Taves.43
Although many of the phenomena associated with Spiritualism are quite ancient, modern Spiritualism represents the nineteenth-century convergence of several earlier occult strands. One of these strands is the career of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a Swedish mining engineer and parliamentarian who published on such varied subjects as mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, physiology, mechanics, economics, and foreign policy. Covered in detail by us in an earlier Case Study in 1744, Swedenborg began recording (in Latin) a series of theological works based on visions which had initially come to him during a lengthy coma. These describe the inhabitants of heaven, hell, and the spirit world: set forth an allegorical interpretation of the Bible: and give a detailed system of correspondences between the physical and spiritual realms. Swedenborg's revelations won him a following not so much within the Swedish Lutheran church (whose authorities were generally unreceptive) but in the Netherlands. England and the United States. The Church of the New Jerusalem, founded after Swedenborg's death, is based on his teachings. His influence is much wider than that- however, and extends not only to a long list of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century luminaries (e.g. Blake, Coleridge, Kant, Emerson, Henry James, Sr.) but essentially permeated the whole of the Mesmerist and Spiritualist movements. For example. Swedenborgianism appears to have been the most immediate inspiration for the central Spiritualist idea of peering into "the other side" and relaying information about it to people in this world.
Another strand was the work of Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer (17334-1815), whose theory of magnetisme animale ("animating magnetism," but usually translated as "animal magnetism") led to the first experiments with hypnosis, hence the term "mesmerism." According to Mesmer, there exists a sort of subtle fluid or ether which permeates all space, and which serves as a medium for psychic communication. Through manipulation of this ether, it is possible to heal diseases or place a subject in a trance state. Mesmer accomplished this by use of hands or a special wand, with which he would make "magnetic passes" over the patient's supine body. Later he discovered that the technique could be used to make his subjects involuntarily dance or perform other amusing stunts while somnambulistic. Mesmer's patron, the Marquis de Puysegur, found that a young shepherd named Victor, when "magnetized," was capable of speaking with a vastly greater intelligence than he possessed while awake. On being roused from the trance, however, Victor remembered nothing. Even more intriguingly, while entranced Victor could also respond to unspoken mental commands. After a halt in research necessitated by the French Revolution, nineteenth-century magnetists turned their attention to the "higher phenomena" made possible by their art- including telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis, stigmata, apportation, and prophecy. In an early case study we researched how Mesmer in a separate way, also influenced modern psychology.
The theory of animal magnetism initially stated that all bodies exert an influence over one another by the action of animal magnetic fluid. With this concept however, Mesmer, built a strong social component into his theory with as we have noted, direct implications for psychology.
Mesmer described his treatment as producing a kind of hypnotic trance, and while initially he used mirrors metal rods and water, he soon found that he could produce the same results “by just passing his hands over the patients’ body.” (Ludy T. Benjamin, A Brief History of Modern Psychology, forthcoming , p.9.)
The mutual influence of magnetist and patient involved a kind of sympathy which Mesmer called the "sixth sense." But it was in particular Amand Marie Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puysegur-whom Robel Fuller calls Mesmer's "most capable disciple" – who made magnetism synonym with hypnosis as artificial sleep. Influenced furthermore by mystical Freemason, Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin, Puysegur moved toward a view in which thought became primary.
Two years after de Puysegur’s first book was published, Count Lutzelbourg in 1786 when wrote one of the earliest accounts, of psychotherapy with a homosexual patient:
The greatest obstacles opposing the cure of patients come either from a temperament worn by the abuse of remedies or from painful secrets that make the physical treatment insufficient. A lucid somnambulist had been obliged by me to confide a sorrow of a most singular kind. He had had an intimate liaison with a person of the same sex whom he loved to the point of folly in his ordinary state and in whom he had complete confidence, never concealing anything from him. In the state of crisis [magnetic somnambulism] he saw clearly that his so-called friend abused his confidence, betrayed his secrets, thwarted his projects, and even destroyed his reputation. He revealed to me the means for procuring proofs of this and prescribed what I ought to do to clarify things, while recommending circumspection and caution in using these means. Everything turned out exactly that way, but after a long period of time. I had the great good fortune of overcoming the obstacle that had made all my efforts useless and the cure impossible. And at the same time I had the pleasure of dealing with two different and opposed individuals, of whom the one was timid, pliable, and even credulous to an excess; while the other was clairvoyant, firm, and judged men and things according to their just value. (Comte de Lutzelbourg, Curesfaites par M. le Cte de L ... sindic de la Societe de Bienfaisance etablie a Strasbourg ... avec des notes sur les crises magnetiques appellees improprement somnambulisme.,1786, Strasbourg:Lorenz & Schouler, p. 47)
In the above Lutzelbourg presented a clear outline of the psychotherapeutic process. He declared that sometimes it is necessary to deal with psychological matters to obtain a physical cure; that this involves uncovering hidden, painful secrets; that these secrets, unknown in the ordinary state, can be revealed in the somnambulistic state; that the contrast between the two states is like that between two different persons; and that once the hidden material is dealt with, the cure is possible.
Another promoter of animal magnetism and hypnosis was Baron Denis Jules Dupotet de Sennevoy (1796-1881). Dupotet was born in 1796 and, from the time he first heard of mesmerism in 1815 until his death in 1881, he devoted his life to its study. And while Mesmer emphasis was among others on mirrors as transmitting magnetic forces, Dupotet's mirrors consisted of a spot drawn with charcoal on a wall or on a metal plate, in order to collect the universal fluid and to entrance the subject.
Dupotet published his discoveries in his Journal du Magnitisme, but he reserved his teachings on the real scope of magnetism to an inner group and distributed his ultimate teachings to these adepts only under seal of secrecy. The book by, J. Dupotet where these secrets where published is titled, La Magie Devoilee, ou Principes de Science Occulte, and until recently was still in print. (Paris: Editions Pygmalion, 1977.)
Primary among his ideas was the equation of the light reached by the somnambule at the finest level of the magnetic trance with the light and life of the Gospels and the light or fire described by the entire magical and mystical tradition, including Hermes Trismegistus, Melchizedek, Zoroaster and the Guebres, those mysterious Persian priests of fire so dear to the fantasies of the nineteenth century. (La Magie Devoilee, 170ff.)
Unlike the occultist Eliphas Levi, who was to teach that the mesmeric subject reached only his own mental projections, Dupotet was convinced that "magic is founded on the existence of a mixed world, located outside ourselves, and with which we can enter into communication by the use of certain methods and practices." (La Magie Devoilee, p. 182.) In the magnetic slumber it was thus possible to contact the dead (or at least some imprint left by them on the magnetic fluid) and also to contact never embodied beings---celestial spirits. (La Magie Devoilee, 271ff. (spirits); 128, 279ff. (dead).
Dupotet compared the subject's entering the magnetic light to a person placed "at the entrance to the invisible world, [whose] body is like a lyre whose strings vibrate, exposed to the wind." (Ibid., 246.) Entrance to this world was to be gained through the concentration of vital force, usually in a magic mirror.
Eliphas Levi's views are clear in his comment on Dupotet's magic mirrors in his History of Magic, 340: "M. Dupotet establishes triumphantly the existence of that universal light wherein lucids perceive all images and all reflections of thought. He assists the vital projection of this light by means of an absorbent apparatus which he calls the magic mirror; it is simply a circle or square covered with powdered charcoal, finely sifted. In this negative space the combined light projected by the magnetic subject and the operator soon tinges and realizes the forms corresponding to their nervous impressions. The somnambulist sees manifested therein all dreams of opium and hasheesh, and if he were not distracted from the spectacle convulsions would follow."
Thus Mesmer's efforts to disassociate animal magnetism from occult traditions were doomed from the start, for animal magnetism stood in clear continuity with the various scientific-occult systems dating back to Paracelsus. Mesmer and to a lesser degree Swedenborg, where those who provoked the manifestations of what was to become a tidal wave of somnambulists, ecstatic, visionaries, healers, and miracle workers who overran Europe by mid-century.
Frank Podmore and others have shown the roots of Mesmer's system in the generally accepted theory of the "sympathies" that pervade the universe, and these, of course, are the foundation of much of western hermetic and magical thought. As compared with his later disciples, however, Mesmer wanted to be scientific. (Podmore, From Mesmer to Christian Science, especially chapter 2, 26ff.)
As seen above however, the great discovery of Magnetism was the hypnotic trance state, or what they called "somnambulism", the state of consciousness, they thought was attended by strange powers and visions of the other world, into which their subjects could be cast.
Puysegur furthermore mentioned with appreciation the masonic Martinists at Lyon, the work of Cagliostro in Paris and Rome, and the alliance of Freemasonry with the followers of Swedenborg in Germany and Sweden. He clearly felt a kinship with these metaphysical systems and believed them to be quite compatible with his version of Mesmer's animal magnetism. (Puysegur, Du magnhisme animal considere dans ses rapports avec diverses branches de la physique generale. 2d ed. Paris: J. G. Dentu, 1820, p. 101).
In fact it was Cagliostro who not unlike the Fox sisters later in Rochester New York would do, experimented first with spiritualism as a (slide of hand magic-) stage art.
Already by 1790, a small proto-spiritualist circle in Copenhagen was by the brother-in-law of the Danish king Christian VII. And Freemason Jean-Baptiste Willermoz, around the same time, conducted sessions with a talented somnambule, asking her questions to which, with the aid of the spirit world, she was able to give authoritative answers which were recorded in detail.
And the fact the first documented afterlife beliefs of the mesmerist milieu are notes dating from 1785, which are infused with Christian mythology: the dead go to heaven, hell or purgatory; or alternatively, their destiny will be decided on the day of judgement. (N. Edelman Voyantes, guerisseuses et visionnaires en France 1765-1914, 1995, p. 23. ff)
Willermoz a strong defender against the opposition that developed among certain local physicians. The magnetizers formed a harmonic society, La Concorde, which had many members in common with a masonic group directed by Willermoz, Les Freres de la Bienfaisance. This group, whose members were principally of the aristocracy, had been formed to make available to the poor the benefits deriving from its research into healing and other philanthropic activities.
Under Swedenborgian influence but especially that of his students, magnetists made contact with disembodied spirits, both human and nonhuman, through their trance subjects. Mesmerism even came to be successfully employed in surgery, in lieu of anesthesia. It was at this point, around the 1830's, that Mesmerism gained a following in the United States through the lectures and demonstrations of Charles Poyen and his subject, Cynthia Gleason, in New England. Whereas in Europe. Mesmerism had been approached primarily as a scientific phenomenon. in the United States Poyen's showmanship transformed Mesmerism into a means of popular entertainment. Although the theoretical basis for Mesmer’s work came to be superseded by psychological explanations by the turn of the century, magnetism and hypnosis remained connected in the popular understanding well after the demise of Mesmerism per se.
Later, Theodore Flournoy would gain notoriety for publishing his case history of the medium Helene Smith in "From India to Planet Mars," theorizing that she exhibited alternating subliminal personalities. See:
Given the popularity of such notions like it is not surprising that there was also a transition from spiritualism to UFO’s, especially the abduction craze which came to be popularized by no later than 1928 with W.D. Pelley’s, “Seven Minutes To Eternity.” Here the latter describes that while leaving his body he was ying naked on a marble slab, with two men in white uniforms attending to him. they told Pelley to neither be afraid nor try to see everything in the first "seven minutes."
However one could just as well say that also in this case the beliefs of UFO contactees like Witley Striber ultimately owe a debt to the same Emanuel Swedenborg as we just quoted. The sweep of Swedenborg's vision and its influence is clear even from the title of one of his books: The Earths in Our Solar System Which Are Called Planets: and the Earths in the Starry Heavens; with an Account of their Inhabitants, and also of the Spirits and Angels there: From What Has Been Seen and Heard (1787).
Swedenborg explained how each of the planets and others "innumerable" have spirits and angels inhabiting them. Swedenborg depicted a universe imbued with meaning: "He who believes, as everyone ought to believe, that the Deity created the universe for no other end, than that mankind, and thereby heaven, might have existence, (for mankind is the seminary of heaven,) must needs believe also, that wheresoever’s there is any earth, there are likewise men-inhabitants." See:
Occultist writers of the turn of the twentieth century followed Swedenborg's tradition of depicting spiritual voyages to other planets. In 1880, Henry A. Gaston published his Mars Revealed: Or, Seven Days in the Spirit World, “which in fact is not impossible that is served also an inspiration for W.D. Pelley’s, “Seven Minutes To Eternity.” In his book “Why I Believe the Dead Are Alive” Pelley also admits to communicating to his deceased brother-in-law through a ouija board in 1925 and reading a work on reincarnation by Sir Oliver Lodge. See:
But the origins of the American Spiritualist craze are usually traced to the 1846 poltergeist style "rapping’s" associated with the sisters Margaretta and Kate Fox of Hydesville. New York (near Newark). At the time the noises started. the sisters were fifteen and twelve, respectively. The Fox family began to hear mysterious pounding or knocking, whereupon the sisters contrived to communicate with the invisible source by means of a simple code. It then surfaced that their visitor was the unnamed spirit of a peddler who had supposedly been murdered by a previous occupant of the house. a blacksmith named John C. Bell. As more and more living humans turned up at the Fox household to observe the rapping’s (including Bell, who came to protest his innocence). the Foxes decided to separate their daughters. Kate was sent to live with a third sister. Leah. who was between marriages at the time. The rapping’s then shifted to Leah's house, with more and more spirits clamoring to speak to their living friends and relatives through the new "spiritual telegraph" (this only a few years after Morse had invented the real telegraph). The reunited Fox sisters--organized by Leah--began charging money for their séances, and even went on tour (so to speak) to other parts of New York. Repeated efforts to expose the phenomena as fraudulent were unsuccessful, until the girls themselves finally broke down and confessed to having made the mysterious noises themselves by snapping their toe joints.
On October 21, 1888, Maggie Fox, one half of the team that introduced public mediumship to the United States, took the stage at the New York Academy of Music in order to publicly denounce spiritualism and everything it had spawned, including, ironically, her own claims to supernatural power. By all accounts, the place was packed, thanks to heavy publicity in the city's newspapers. (The New York World had even run a full-page story that morning about the Fox sisters in anticipation of the Academy of Music event.) "Ministers, physicians and lawyers, scholarly men and women" rubbed shoulders with "men of repute in legitimate scientific research, [and] others notorious in the walks of humbug." The Academy of Music was also crawling with newspaper reporters. And Kate, the other half of the Fox duo, was there too; she had just returned from England, perhaps to lend moral support to her sister. Together the Fox sisters seemed bent on debunking the very movement that had led them to breakout fame forty years earlier.
Since 1848, Maggie Fox had been through an emotional wringer, a fact that may help explain, at least to some extent, her seemingly rash willingness to turn on the spiritualist movement with a viciousness that must have surprised many who had supported her earlier in her career as a medium. Her romance in the 1850s with explorer and world traveler Elisha Kent Kane had been a bumpy one; Kane never seemed entirely enthusiastic about her notorious career or his relationship with her. He appeared to treat her badly, adopting, in the words of one author, a style of "accusatory seduction." Yet, Kane genuinely seemed to want to marry Fox, and eventually gave her what she took to be an engagement ring. When he died in 1857, Fox referred to him cryptically as her "husband." It is unclear as to whether Kane and Fox actually married, but it may have been that at least some of what propelled Fox onto the Academy of Music stage was the memory of Kane's disapproval of her mediumship.1
Added to that was the fact that Fox was also forced to deal with her overbearing sister, Leah, who, in her mind, was an inveterate liar and fraud, and the originator of all her troubles. It was Leah, Fox told a reporter for the New York Herald in September, who had masterminded the entire idea of having her younger sisters pose as mediums and trick the public into thinking they were actually able to communicate with the dead. By 1888, it seems Fox had grown tired both of her topsy-turvy life and of being one of Leah's. "tools." The appearance at the Academy of Music must have seemed like the first step toward liberation.2
It should come as no surprise that one of the key promoters of the Academy of Music performance was a magician-Cassius M. Richmond-who specialized in exposing mediums. Over the years, the nation's illusionists had succeeded in creating a virtual cottage industry of anti-medium campaigning. It also is not terribly surprising that journalists had flocked to the Academy of Music like moths to a flame. The opportunity of being at the event where one of spiritualism's two "founding mothers" promised to dismantle and ultimately destroy the practice of mediumship was too good to pass up.
Besides, Fox had already begun to unravel her sordid tale for the papers in the months leading up to the expose, whetting newspapermen's appetites for more. When the erstwhile medium finally mounted the stage, the reporters in the audience must have moistened the nibs on their pens in eager anticipation. One reporter would later say that Fox had categorically "dealt a death blow to spiritualism, that huge world-wide fraud which she and her sisters founded in 1848." 3
Fox, it seems, delivered exactly what spiritualism's enemies had been hoping for. In addition to reading a terse written statement thoroughly denouncing spiritualist phenomena and taking responsibility for helping perpetrate a lie, she demonstrated how she had produced her famous "spirit raps": standing before a nondescript wooden bench, she removed one of her shoes, plunked her foot down, and then began loudly cracking her toe joints. Her toe, observed the Herald, possessed "a devil's gift in a kind of rapping ventriloquism." We can surmise that many spiritualists were not amused at the thought of seeing "the originator of their faith destroy" their belief by cracking her toe. But now that the genie was out of the bottle, they could not force it back in. The irony would have been thick for spiritualists in the audience: the same toe that supposedly had "rapped" spiritualism to life was now "rapping" it to death."
Maggie Fox's renunciation both of spiritualism and her role as a medium illustrates well the sorry state of public mediumship in the final two decades of the nineteenth century. By the 1880s and 1890s, the practice of spirit materialization had fallen so far into disrepute that fev,,- (if any) mediums were willing to embrace it. The spiritualist movement had descended into a bitter internecine squabble between those who believed physical phenomena such as table-tipping and spirit materialization best embodied spiritualism and those who abhorred what they believed was mediumship's descent into base "phenomenalism." Andrew Jackson Davis, an advocate of this latter view and an influential spiritualist thinker, spoke out publicly against the "phenomenalists" and stated that by taking on the trappings of entertainment they had degraded the religious value of spiritualism. (He was so hard on "phenomenalism" in one of his books that some people believed he had actually renounced spiritualism.)
Materializers also had to contend with attacks from other public mediums, particularly those who refused to jettison the practice of trance speaking. By tapping into the nineteenth-century American taste for oddities, trance speakers argued, materialization mediums knowingly mocked the sacredness of spiritualist ceremony. Ironically, when the country's spiritualists finally chose to organize in 1893 around the banner of the National Association of Spiritualists, they had very little left to offer ajaded public.5
Eccentricities may have played well on stage, but in the eyes of many spiritualist believers at century's end mediums had no business bringing questionable or weird practices into the seance. By the 1890s, former spiritualists fed up with sensational mediumship had already abandoned spiritualism in droves, and had chosen to convert to other, more satisfying belief systems. Henry Steel Olcott, who had accepted spiritualism after visiting the Eddy homestead in Vermont on assignment for the New York World,stuck with his fellow spiritualists for a time, but he eventually left spiritualism to found the Theosophical Society with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (who he first met at an Eddy seance). Theosophy allowed Olcott to maintain his faith in a spirit world, while jettisoning what he believed to be some of the more dangerous or immoral elements of spiritualist mediumship. See also. Later, in the wake of growing disagreements with Blavatsky, Olcott made another religious transition, trading theosophy for Buddhism Similarly,early spiritualist authors Paschal Beverly Randolph and Thomas Low Nichols walked away from spiritualism, ironically after they both had published glowing biographies of Ira and William Davenport; Randolph ended up converting first to a non-denominational brand of Christianity and then switching to Rosicrucianism, while Nichols, accompanied by his wife Mary, turned to Catholicism. After his early break with spiritualism, Randolph began to declare that most trance states were not what they purported to be. In a so-called trance, the former spiritualist wrote, mediums are actually "able to pursue the thread of an argument, trace a principle, and follow an idea." 7
Reporters and magicians also continued to plague public mediums by systematically exposing deceptions in their performances. Of those people that refused to give up on the idea that mediumship was essentially fraudulent, no one was more dogged than Harry Houdini. Into the 1920s, Houdini was a virtual one-man anti-medium campaign, single-mindedly pursuing his prey until he was sure he had unmasked their deceptions. He would tantalize them with a promise of a cash bounty if they could produce phenomena he could not copy, and then he would pounce when they flocked to him. What is more, he inserted a spy named Rose Mackenberg into spiritualist seances and local circles, where she masqueraded as a believer and ferreted out fraud.
Mackenberg even allowed herself to be "developed" as a "medium" under the tutelage of a man named Charles Gunsolas who claimed to be a spiritualist adept. When Houdini finally exposed him, Gunsolas saw which way the wind of publicity was blowing and retreated from the public stage.8 Predictably, journalists ate this up. But they were also finding the story on their own, without the help of illusionists. One need only revisit Maggie Fox's expose of mediumship to discover the truth in this observation: all three of New York City's most influential papers-the Times, the Herald, and the World-were well represented at the 1888 performance, and reportage from all three ended up being highly critical of spiritualism.9
As we will point out, mediums were as much at fault as anyone for the deterioration of public mediumship through the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth century. Vigilant journalists, magicians, and spectators had widely demonstrated that mediums were complicit in plans to defraud the public and pass themselves off as special conduits between the spirits and mortals. Some mediums, like Maggie Fox, even admitted their connivance in public. With this evidence in mind, it would be easy to conclude that public mediumship suffered certain death at the end of the nineteenth century-or if not then, then certainly by the first few decades of the twentieth. Evidence shows, however, that public mediumship persisted, surviving on the fringes of American culture until it was repackaged and resurrected in the 1970s and 1980s in the form of New Age channeling. Today, we are able to witness a new character on the contemporary cultural scene descended from nineteenth-century channelers: the television psychic or medium. Responding to Americans' yearnings to stay connected with the dead, modern mediums are building on the foundations laid by their cultural progenitors. Indeed, there are numerous parallels between the careers of modem-day psychics and the public mediums of yesteryear. Of course, there are characteristics of nineteenth-century public mediumship that are no longer or only rarely practiced, but there are other elements of modern-day medium phenomena that seem oddly familiar to anyone who has studied pre-twentieth-century spiritualism. Like their nineteenth-century predecessors, contemporary mediums are first-rate marketers of their work, skillfully promoting themselves in print and electronic media. They are fully embedded in the entertainment culture of the twenty-first century, and thoroughly at home on talk shows and daytime syndicated television. Modern audiences clamor for their supposedly supernatural intervention much like spectators begged the help of mediums more than a century ago.10
Performances like the ones contemporary mediums enact on television replicate significant characteristics of pre-twentieth-century seances. It is not an overstatement to say that the genealogy of the current television psychic phenomenon, its audience, and the debates that surround it include women and men like Cora Hatch, Emma Hardinge Britten, Achsa Sprague, Henry Gordon, and Abraham Pierce. True, due to the influence of general New Age ideas on mediumship, talk about "energy" and "auras" has replaced some references to "the spirits" in the way mediums characterize their work, but a close reading of medium autobiography and some careful observation of mass-mediated séance performances reveals that the concept of "the spirit world" remains at the center of how cucrent-day mediums understand themselves, that the need for promotion and marketing remains as important as ever, and that the visual realm is a very powerful arena for producing public seance phenomena.
Of course, major transformations in the technologies of entertainment since the nineteenth century have changed the way modem mediums both perform and market themselves. Nearly every well-known medium has hung out a virtual shingle on the Internet. The two most popular "mass-media mediums" in America today-John Edward and James Van Praagh-have developed strong "web presences." Van Praagh's website hosts a discussion board where fans can chat and post inspirational messages and prayers for each other. The site also provides visitors with a list of upcoming events, including workshops with Van Praagh and a link to the medium's blog. The "official John Edward website worldwide" is equally impressive. In addition to touting the medium's newsletter, the site points visitors to Edward's upcoming television and radio appearances.11 As interesting as the Internet is, however, television has arguably been more instrumental in providing contemporary mediums with the means both to expand their audience beyond the people who fill the seats on their fabricated sets and to market themselves and their shows in new ways to the American public. Indeed, television that most visual form of electronic media-seems almost tailor-made for exploitation by twenty-first-century mediums. Consider the performances of John Edward, whose syndicated television talk show program-Crossing Over-used to air weekly on the popular Sci-Fi cable channel. The show was a work of mass-mediated art. Advertised heavily on television each week, the program attracted an audience of apparently eager spectators ready to share their stories of personal loss and hope regarding the spirit world.
One could watch Edward, surrounded by these emotionally-primed people, pace back and forth across the studio stage, allegedly receiving messages from the afterlife. Those were moments thick with visual drama. As the medium carefully unfolded his psychic revelations on air, the television viewer was treated to a few close-ups of crying or wide eyed spectators, apparently overcome by Edward's supernatural prowess. Conscious of the central place television has assumed in his meteoric career, Edward confesses that he is a "media medium who not long ago had stage fright on the radio." Early on, he did readings in his house, you had to be pretty plugged into the psychic world to know who I was. Two years later, I'm on TV five nights a week, and reading about myself in newspaper and magazine stories with headlines like, 'My Next Guest is Dead.'12
Edward recently had a new show called John Edward: Cross Country that plays weekly on Women's Entenainment (WE), another cable channel. According to the show's website, Edward tries to help people "ease the grieving process with his unique gift." The website goes on to encourage viewers to "watch as homes, hearts and families begin the emotional journey towards coping and acceptance, and take a look at the lives John touches." What is interesting about Edward's transition to a cable channel that appeals exclusively to women is that he seems to have found his audience. It turns out female viewers are the primary audience for daytime medium shows. The show's "core audience," claimed one source on American media culture in 200l, was women ages 25 to 54, "the biggest demographic group in daytime syndication." One journalist even put the percentage of women in the television audience for Crossing Over at 60%.13 That makes Edward's move to the Women's Entertainment channel, after Crossing Over was cancelled in 2004, all the more understandable: he was simply following his audience.14
How do we explain this phenomenon? Is it possible that the connection between Edward (and perhaps other high-profile male mediums) and a sizeable female audience can be explained as the flip-side of what happened between female trance speakers and male spectators in the nineteenth century? Is it possible that the choice to put a relatively attractive male medium on daytime television in the first place was a strategic one, much like the decision some female mediums made to flaunt their sexuality on the nineteenth century stage? It is likely, though we have no way of knowing just how female spectators have responded to men like Edward because we do not have access to the kind of evidence that could help us answer this question. It is tantalizing to think, though, that today's male mediums have received florid love letters from more than a few romantically-inclined women who may have never seen the men in person, but know their television persona well.
Some television mediums are even branching out into the world of television drama. Van Praagh, who also had his own syndicated television show (appropriately called Beyond, With James Van Praagh), is co-executive producer on a new primetime drama called Ghost Whisperer. Supposedly inspired by the experiences of "an actual psychic," the show follows the experiences of Melinda Gordon who has "the ability to communicate with Earthbound spirits. She uses her gifts to pass along messages and vital information to the living." It is hard to believe that as a piece of filmed fiction ostensibly "inspired by" real events and experiences Ghost Whisperer is not functioning as yet another node of creative publicity for James Van Praagh.15
Not surprisingly, spirit materialization has not found its way onto television despite maybe because of-the visual nature of that technology. In this era of highly sophisticated special effects technology, any attempt to "materialize" spirits on-air likely would be dismissed as the work of a talented computer wizard. Itis hard, after all, to know in this day and age where people end and pixels begin on the television screen.
Instead, modem television mediums claim to receive messages from the spirit world through their consciousnesses. Spirit communiques, they claim, usually come as thoughts or impressions, rather than as visions or ethereal apparitions. That does not mean, however, that the practice of materializing spirits is dead. Indeed, despite the best efforts of magicians, journalists, and audiences at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, there are those who still claim they have the power to conjure spirit bodies. What is more, the alleged power to materialize spirits has gone global. Van Praagh recounts seeing a Brazilian medium produce a supposed spirit body in a Rio de Janeiro seance. In many ways, the details of Van Praagh's narrative could have been lifted from a written account of a nineteenth-century materialization show.
According to the celebrity medium, the spirit he saw was that of a doctor named Fritz who allegedly heals mortals. Materializing from a "wispy cloud," the supposed spirit, doctor took a "rod that looked like a conductor's baton and began moving from bed to bed" working on the sick children who had been brought to the seance in order to be cured. He pointed the rod, "which emitted colored lights," at each disease-ravaged body.
Then Van Praagh was invited up on stage, where he lay down on one of the beds vacated by a supposedly healed child. "After a few moments the masked spirit... appeared next to me," writes the medium. "He pointed the lighted baton at my abdomen. Lying there I knew that I was seeing a physical manifestation of a spirit, and I would not have forgiven myself if I didn't at least attempt to touch it. So I brushed my arm on the side of Dr.Fritz's leg, and I felt his solid physical fonn." Materialization, it seems, is still around, just not on television. Perhaps mediums see the benefits associated with producing supposedly visible (and tangible) spirit bodies in a seance as strongly outweighing the disadvantage of potentially being unmasked as a fraud. 16
With modern mediums' reliance on electronic technologies for promotion and audience development, it is important to point out that print culture is also a well-utilized form of publicity among contemporary mediums. A wizard of merchandising, John Edward has a line of books that tie into his work on television. Other mediums have also had success in the world of publishing. Autobiography, in particular, has become popular among modern psychics and other self-identified adepts. Borrowing on rhetorical foundations initially established by their nineteenth-century counterparts, modern-day mediums seem almost eager to pay homage to historical patterns of self-representation laid down more than a hundred years ago by mediums such as Emma Hardinge, Abraham Pierce, and John Brown. Like the supposed supernatural virtuosos who came before them, current-day mediums lend greater authority to their supernatural abilities by "establishing" themselves as adepts early on in life. Consider Van Praagh's partly autobiographical book Talking to Heaven: A Medium's Message of Life After Death (1997). "I am often asked in was born a medium or if I was transformed into one by a horrible illness, or a freak accident that caused some sort of head trauma, or a near-death experience," Van Praagh writes. No, he notes, "as hair-raising as these possibilities may be, I cannot claim anyone of them as the dramatic moment that introduced me to my life's work." Rather, as he puts it, he simply began to "know" unknowable things as a child-things he says he could not have known without supernatural help. Where he was once a quiet, normal Catholic schoolboy with a "Yogi Bear lunchbox," Van Praagh is now a modern-day celebrity medium who has reassured his adoring fans that he is "not unlike anyone else. We are all born with some level of psychic ability. The question is: Do we recognize our psychic abilities and act upon them?"17
Similarly, Alison Dubois' autobiography titled Don't Kiss Them Good-bye (2004) works on the idea of the child adept. Dubois, whose life is the inspiration for the hit television drama Medium, purports to offer readers a better understanding of "where psychics and mediums come from" and states that she wants to share her "own experiences" as a nascent medium "in order to connect and relate. to young mediums who have questions and doubts about their gifts." It is her hope that her "experiences can help show how a child with the gift [of mediumship] might feel or view things." 18
Contemporary mediums' indebtedness to the patterns of nineteenth-century medium autobiography is also apparent in the way they talk about the process of becoming a medium. In Talking to Heaven, Van Praagh recounts a supposed revelatory experience, uncannily similar to the "conversion" event in early spiritualist medium, Abraham Pierce's account, when an older clairvoyant reveals that Van Praagh is destined to be a medium. His response is reminiscent of the way many mediums responded to similar experiences in the nineteenth century: first questioning the spirits' call, perhaps even toying with the possibility of rejecting it outright, but in the end accepting it. "I wasn't sure how to respond to this pronouncement," he recalls saying. "After all, my goals were in a completely different direction. I wasn't ready for my life to take a 180-degree turn.
With some nervousness, I replied, 'I have enough trouble understanding the living. Why would I want to start talking to the dead?'" As Van Praagh tells the story, the clairvoyant's predictions "haunted" him, but as the newly-minted medium worked to develop his supposed supernatural capabilities, he came to embrace his new career. 19
As popular and sophisticated as modern mediums have become, however, they have not been able to shake the legacy of fraud begun by public mediums in the nineteenth century. Fraud remains a key part of the public discourse about mediumship. Contemporary evidence shows that modern mediums are as complicit in exploiting peoples' belief in life after death as nineteenth-century mediums were. Part of this problem is evident in the way mediums market themselves, but it is also obvious in the way they perform before audiences. Mediums and television producers together have
made some important strategic decisions about where to "place" mass-mediated supernatural performances on television, as well as how to promote them. Medium shows play better with women, they say, so we should contract with a network that appeals to women. People want answers to life's difficult questions-especially about the death of loved ones-from experts, so modern mediums saturate the book market with autobiographies that tout their supposedly long experience with the spirit world and their uncanny abilities to understand death. Even a single viewing of one of their shows reveals that their method of understanding a spectator's spiritual questions, and then answering those questions, seems more like an exercise in educated guesswork than spirit-driven guidance. As one skeptical critic has noted, James Van Praagh's "hit rate" (or the percentage of times his predictions prove to be accurate) hovers between 20 and 30 percent. The figure is even lower for John Edward-somewhere between 10 and 20 percent. But, the critic continues, "what Edward lacks in accuracy ... he makes up for in sheer volume of guesses." Another critic of Edward contends that it is the medium's verbal alacrity that gives him an edge over Van Praagh: "Van Praagh is Ferrari fast, but Edward is driving an Indy-500 racer." In one minute "Edward riffles through 60 names,dates, colors, diseases, conditions, situations, relatives, and the like.“20
Predictably, the idea that certain people can communicate with spirits continues to be assailed by journalists, much like it was in the nineteenth century, but with some new twists. In the case of Amy Davis, a reporter for WOAI- TV in San Antonio, television, which had been the very mode of communication contemporary mediums were turning to in order to carry their performances to a mass audience, became a powerful tool for fighting medium deception. In February 2003, Davis got a call at her station's news desk from a pair of concerned parents whose twenty-one-year-old daughter had spent $25,000 on psychic readings done by a self-proclaimed "psychic spiritualist" named "Miss Brooks." (The daughter had maxed out a number of credit cards to pay the medium.)
Davis was originally apathetic about the story; it had, she said, about the same "zing" as a story about a pickpocket lifting someone's wallet. But as she interviewed the daughter, Shante Smith, she realized the story was much bigger than a single swindled individual Brooks (later identified as Jennifer Evans) had made a practice of smooth-talking clients into paying astronomical sums for her services. Evans even tried to create an ironclad supernatural pedigree for herself by "concoct[ing] tall tales" of her origins and travels. In the end, Davis was able to amass enough evidence to get the police involved. After Evans had been arrested, other victims started coming out of the woodwork, including a school teacher who had given Evans $50,000, another women who had lost $15,000 and a new kitchen stove, and a number of other people who, together, mailed Evans nearly $80,000. Evans was quite effective in bamboozling what Davis called those "who have the least to give" a dishonest psychic: "widowers, the terminally ill, people who've hit rock bottom and exhausted all the traditional sources of help." Unfortunately, however, Jennifer Evans's scam is hardly unique. Every year psychics and mediums across the nation rake in thousands of dollars at the expense of desperate people.21
Other journalists like Tom Jicha stick to print in attacking modem mediums.Jicha went a step further, though, and lampooned the seance audience as well. In an article published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2002, Jicha embodied the glee some reporters take in picking apart the supernatural claims of contemporary television mediums. Jicha wrote acerbically that "common sense--which, of course, the brain dead who watch these shows lack-would tell you" that the television medium phenomena is "all one big carnival act." "If these people could really plug into the beyond," continued Jicha, "interest in top-rated 'ER' and 'CS!' would be as dead as the people the mediums claim to contact. Instead, TV would build theme weeks around dead presidents, dead rock stars and dead Kennedys. Elvis could be an entire week by himself (assuming he is indeed dead)." The "credibility that TV is affording them makes their viewers... easy targets for con artists, who prey on the weak-minded. There is no one more weak-minded than someone who takes this nonsense seriously.“22
Modern magicians have also kept up the heat on twenty-fIrst-century mediums, using tactics have become increasingly more sophisticated and creative than those used by anti-medium illusionists in the nineteenth century. Often the law becomes an important tool for exposing contemporary mediums. A self-described Australian "mind illusionist" named Mark Mayer, for example, lodged a formal complaint against John Edward in the eve of what was supposed to be the medium's whirlwind 2004 tour Down Under. Mayer filed his claim with an Australian state consumer affairs agency and invoked an obscure section of a fair trade act, which requires any person promoting goods or services to provide evidence substantiating his promotional claims. In Edward's case, Mayer asserted, the law would require the medium to prove that he talks with dead people.23 Other magicians go after mediums much as their nineteenth-century counterparts did: using the techniques of secular magic to show how mediumistic phenomena can be produced simply by using sleight of hand and misdirection. Magic and debunking, famous illusionist and skeptic James Randi declares, are essentially the same thing.24
Many of the issues highlighted by the behavior and attitudes of contemporary and nineteenth-century mediums actually transcend mediumship and spiritualism to point up the continuing affinity religion and entertainment have for each other in the twenty-first century. For many whether they attend Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral or a storefront Pentecostal church-the nexus between religion and entertainment has become an accepted part of religious life. A wide variety of churches now maintain dynamic websites, hire popular preachers, and utilize advertising boards that use clever quips and sayings just to get people in the door. They also hire live bands for worship services and host radio programs in order to intensify their public appeal. The auditorium-like qualities of the modem "megachurch" make it possible to reach extremely large audiences with dramatic preaching, while television allows churches to break the physical bounds of four walls and steeple. Such strategies of publicity and performance have boosted the careers of new religious leaders and breathed new life into flagging congregations.
There is, however, a dark side to the religion-entertainment nexus. Across time, religious entertainment has contained within itself the potential for exploitation and abuse, meaning that success for churches and religious leaders sometimes comes at the expense of the ordinary people. To function well, religious organizations, like other social and cultural institutions, rely on trust, though trust and
credibility, even in the religious sphere, can be elusive. Indeed, wrote one researcher of religious culture, the problem of trust in religion is both "enduring"
"devilishly recurrent.“25 As in the nineteenth century, modern-day Americans must grapple with who is tmstworthy and who is not in all facets of their lives, including religion. Consider, for example, the case of what some scholars have begun to call the "electronic church." Through radio and television broadcasts, preachers in the "electronic church" are able to reach out each week to hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans, and communicate a religious message.26 Yet, stories culled from the history of this "church of the airwaves" point up how dishonesty coupled to a style of religious performance informed by modes of modern popular entertainment can lead to disastrous consequences for religious believers. Someone like Pat Robertson, who founded his Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960, might rightly be seen as both preacher and "professional in the business of entertainment. " Yet, in the hands of the "electronic preacher" the business of entertainment with its emphasis on marketing and fundraising all too often ends up becoming the church's raison d'etre.27
One example was the saga of Jim Bakker. In 1974, Bakker, along with his heavily made-up wife Tammy Faye, founded a television program called the "PTL Club" ("Praise the Lord" or "People That Love") to serve as a platform for dramatic evangelizing. For the preacher, television turned out to be an extraordinarily convenient way to connect with his flock. What is more, the medium of television was a fundraising tool second to none. By the mid-1980s, donations to the non-profit PTL had helped build a new, state of-the-art television studio, an amphitheater, a shopping mall, and youth center. It turns . out, however, that Bakker was skimming money off the top and spending it on himself.
When the truth came out, he was defrocked, lost control of PTL, and the Internal Revenue Service began pursuing him. The added media attention focused on Bakker as a result of his financial crimes also brought to light an adulterous relationship between the televangelist and a church secretary named Jessica Hahn.28
Before his empire came crashing down around him, Bakker discovered just how effective mass media could be for developing an audience and raising funds. As one researcher put it, "through television, radio, mail, and public speaking" televangelists like Bakker are able to "craft tales about their ministries that depict a world of good and bad characters centered around God's role in building the media organization." Ironically, however, the same sorts of stories are essentially told on secular television shows. So thin is the boundary between the religious and secular genres that sometimes it is hard tell the difference: in the minds of many viewers, they both function as popular entertainment. This crossover, of course, is precisely what televangelists actively pursue.
No doubt they figure that the more successful they are in exploiting secular culture and popwar entertainment, the more they will succeed in raising money for their cause and drawing people into their "fold." As a general rule, their approach has proven effective.
Ordinary people are susceptible to this kind of exploitation, as evidenced by the large sums of money Bakker was able to collect from television viewers and that ended up lining his own pockets. Of course, people can deploy their agency in resisting unscrupulous uses of religious entertainment. In the case of Bakker and PTL, though, resistance was minimal (at least at first); people believed they were donating money to a righteous cause.
After Bakker was finally exposed, some people no doubt continued to believe in the religious message of PTL, but for all practical purposes Bakker's marketing had hollowed it out. He lived like a Hollywood celebrity with mwtiple homes, luxury cars, and a 55-foot houseboat, but he had lost his followers' trust.29
That many are willing to risk believing the claims of unprincipled religious figures is a clear demonstration of journalist Jerry Adler's statement that "if there is anything stronger than belief itself, it is the desire to believe.“30 Wherever the desire to believe exists, however, the dark side of religion always lurks. Those who have "the desire to believe" in today's religious marketplace face many of the same challenges seancegoers in the nineteenth century faced, though much of current religious and cultural landscape has changed in radical ways since spiritualism got its start (having been reconfigured by new technologies like television).
We next will explain how public spiritualist mediums operating in the nineteenth century were able to continually fill seats at their performances and make money at the expense of ordinary people using deliberatively deceptive tactics drawn from the world of religion--and, perhaps more significantly--the world of entertainment. By carefully exploiting methods of mass persuasion that seemed most useful to them at the time, and by developing a working knowledge of stagecraft, public mediums were able to convince audiences they could communicate with spirits. They were careerists who actively took advantage of new forms of technology, promotion, self-representation, and aesthetics to make a public case for themselves and their alleged spiritual power.
This is not to say that public mediums were willing to acknowledge publicly their indebtedness either to religious culture or the world of popular entertainment, despite the fact that the strategies mediums deployed were drawn from those very sources. Nevertheless, the new cultural and technological opportunities of the nineteenth century had given rise to new strategies of public persuasion. Mediums turned to religious autobiography, modern systems of management and promotion, sexual appeal, and visual spectacle in the hopes of bridging the gap between themselves and their audience. But the mediums who utilized these strategies did so even as they denied they were doing it. The public séance was a type of cultural performance that was heavily informed by the entertainment industry, though mediums refused to admit that fact, just as they also tended to deny their reliance on the promotional strategies of the secular market. All of their protests to the contrary, however, cannot reverse the reality that in order to understand public spiritualist mediumship one must examine it through the prism of popular entertainment.
Bibliography and Works Cited
1 Earl Wesley Fornell, The Unhappy Medium: Spiritualism and the Life of Margaret Fox (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964),177-181; Barbara Weisberg, Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), 154-184,244-249; and David Chapin,
Exploring Other Worlds: Margaret Fox, Elisha Kent Kane, and the Antebellum Culture of Curiosity (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004),122-131,190-191,214-216.
2 New York Herald, 24 September 1888.
3 New York Tribune, 22 October 1888; Farnell, Unhappy Medium, 179; Weisberg, Talking to the Dead, 244-245; Chapin, Other World~, 214-215; and ,Vew York Herald, 22 October 1888.
4 New York Herald, 22 October 1888.
5 R. Laurence Moore, In Search of White Crows: Spiritualism, Parapsychology, and American Culture (New York, Oxford University Press, 1977),66-67; and Bret E, Carroll, Spiritualism and Antebellum America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 178-179.
6 Howard Murphet, Yankee Beacon of Buddhist Light (Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing House, 1988),54-68, 135; Peter Washington, Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America (New York: Schocken Books, 1996), 27-29, 53-56; and Stephen Prothero, The White Buddhist: The Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 41-44, 116-133.
7 John Patrick Deveny, Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth-Century Black American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian, and Sex Alagician (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997),92-93, ] 74-] 75; and Carroll, Spiritualism, 156. Randolph's statement on self-induced trance comes from New York Daily Tribune, 25 November 1858, quoted in Deveny, Randolph, 96.
8 Kenneth Silverman, Houdini!!!: The Career of Ehrich Weiss (New York: HarperPerennial, 1996), 359-369; and Ruth Brandon, The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini (New York: Random House, 2003), 259.
9 Fornell, Unhappy Medium, 174-181.
10 On the revival of mediums hip and spirit channeling in the late twentieth century, see Michael F. Brown, The Channeling Zone: American Spirituality in an Anxious Age (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1999).
11 James Van Praagh's website can be found at http://www.vanpraagh.com. while John Edward's website can be found at http://www.johnedward.net. Both websites were accessed 19 April 2007.
12 John Edward, Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories (New York: Princess Books, 2001), xv.
13 Susanne Ault, "Can a Psychic Connect In Daytime?" Broadcasting and Cable, 27 August 2001, 25; and Ivy Brown, "Hearing from Dearly Departed Proves a Hit on Sci-Fi Channel," Los Angeles Times, 5 March 2001.
14 Mark Lasswell, "WE Talks ESP," Broadcasting and Cable, 29 August 2005, 7.
15 Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3 June 2005.
16 James Van Praagh, Heaven and Earth: Making the Psychic Connection (New York: Simon and Schuster Source, 2001), 95.
17 James Van Praagh, Talking to Heaven: A Medium's Message of Life After Death (New York: Dutton, 1997), 3.
18 Allison Dubois, Don't Kiss Them Good-bye (New York: Fireside, 2004), xx. Char Margolis also makes the case that mediums tend to develop early. See Char Margolis, Questions from Earth, Answers from Heaven: A Psychic Intuitive's Discussion of Life, Death, and What Awaits Us Beyond (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999), 12-20.
19 Van Praagh, Talking to Heaven, 22.
20 Matt Nisbet, "Talking to Heaven Through Television: How the Mass Media Package and Sell Psychic Medium John Edward," (Amherst, New York: Committee of Skeptical Inquiry, n.d.), available at http://www.csicop.orglgenxledward (accessed April 18, 2007); Michael Shermer, "Deconstructing the Dead: Cross Over One Last Time to Expose Medium John Edward," (Veracruz, Mexico: Metareligion, n.d.), available at http://www.meta-religion.comIParanormale/Skeptics/deconstructin!Lthe_dead.htm (accessed April 19,2007).
21 Amy Davis, "Psychic Swindlers," Skeptical Inquirer 29 (May/June 2005): 38-43.
22 South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale), 26 April 2002.
23 Age (Melbourne, Australia), 23 February 2004.
24 Philip Yam, itA Skeptically Inquiring Mind," Scientific American 273 (July 1995): 34-35.
25 Leigh Eric Schmidt, "Trust and Confidence in American Religious History," in Perspectives on American Religion and Culture, ed. Peter W. Williams (Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999),367.
26 On the "electronic church" see George H. Hill, Airwaves to the Soul: The Influence and Growth of Religious Broadcasting in America (Saratoga, California: R & E Publishers, 1983); Razelle Frankl, Televangelism: The Marketing of Popular Religion (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987); Stewart Hoover, Mass Media Religion: The Social Sources of the Electronic Church (Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications, 1988); Steve Bruce, Pray TV: Televangelism in America (New York: Routledge, 1990); and Janice Peck, The Gods of Televangelism: The Crisis of Meaning and The Appeal of Religious Television (CresskilI, New Jersey: Hampton Press, 1992).
27 R. Laurence Moore, Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 248.
28 Charles E. Shepard, Forgiven: The Rise andfall of Jim Bakker and the PTL Ministry (New Yoric Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989); passim; Quentin J. Shultze, Televangelism and American Culture: The Business of Popular Religion (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker House Books, 1991), 113-114; and Hunter James, Smile Pretty and Say Jesus: The Last Great Days of PTL (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993), passim.
29 Schultze, Televangelism, 113.
30 Jerry Adler, "Unlocking Minds," Newsweek, 19 March 2007,50.