The Victorian Women Who Pierced Glass Ceilings by Speaking to the Dead

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By Christine Leigh Heyrman

Six Visionary Victorian Women in Search of a Public Voice
By Emily Midorikawa

Small groups gathered for séances, some in ornately furnished parlors, others in humbler settings. They held hands or placed their palms on a table, then fell silent or uttered a prayer or sang a hymn. They tried to include equal numbers of men and women, among them, ideally, someone scarcely out of girlhood. Young women, they believed, were most receptive to messages from another realm, and some might even discover that they were mediums who could decipher knocking noises or speak in the voices of the dead or write as those spirits directed.

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