The Specter of the Indian : Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Seances, 1848-1890

The Specter of the Indian : Race, Gender, and Ghosts in American Seances, 1848-1890

by Kathryn Troy
English | 2017 | ISBN: 1438466099 | 234 Pages | PDF | 8 MB

Explores the significance of Indian control spirits as a dominating force in nineteenth-century American Spiritualism.

The Specter of the Indian unveils the centrality of Native American spirit guides during the emergent years of American Spiritualism. By pulling together cultural and political history; the studies of religion, race, and gender; and the ghostly, Kathryn Troy offers a new layer of understanding to the prevalence of mystically styled Indians in American visual and popular culture. The connections between Spiritualist print and contemporary Indian policy provide fresh insight into the racial dimensions of social reform among nineteenth-century Spiritualists. Troy draws fascinating parallels between the contested belief of Indians as fading from the world, claims of returned apparitions, and the social impetus to provide American Indians with a means of existence in white America. Rather than vanishing from national sight and memory, Indians and their ghosts are shown to be ever present. This book transports the readers into dimly lit parlor rooms and darkened cabinets and lavishes them with detailed seance accounts in the words of those who witnessed them. Scrutinizing the otherworldly whisperings heard therein highlights the voices of mediums and those they sought to channel, allowing the author to dig deep into Spiritualist belief and practice. The influential presence of Indian ghosts is made clear and undeniable.

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