Born of the so-called Victorian 'pseudo science' of mesmerism, the séance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment.
Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the séance endured - and does so to this day.
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