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Periodical: The California Spiritual Messenger


From Pat Deveney's database:

California Spiritual Messenger, The.
San Francisco, CA. Publisher: California State Spiritualists Association,. Editor: J. Munsell Chase and Chas. G. Hasman, Publication Committee of the California State Spiritualists' Association.

1/1, March 1903. 10 cents a copy.

Although this has the appearance of a periodical, it was rather an advertising supplement or directory. It was originally intended to be published irregularly as demand required ("we hope to issue a bigger and more perfect edition"), but only one issue seems to have been published. The directory was likely published by the subscription of the mediums and societies described in its pages in order to advertise their wares and grace their waiting rooms. The directory was the product of the California Spiritualists' Association, begun in 1898, which was in turn part of the National Spiritualists' Association begun in 1893. The California association chartered member spiritualist societies and "credentialed" mediums deemed suitable and reputable – though, judging by the mediums who appear in the directory, the criteria were rather loose.

The directory is notable and important for research because affiliated societies were listed with address, names of the officers, mediums, and prominent members, and hours of service. Subscribing mediums took out space in the directory for brief biographies and a flattering photograph and listed their specialties: clairvoyance, clairaudience, psychometry, trance, healing, developing classes, etc. The directory is also notable because the mediums included show a generational succession within families (e.g., Janet R. Dow, Karl Eberhardt, Mrs. H.A. Griffin, etc.) and also demonstrates the migration of spiritualist workers to California from the East. The directory also illustrates the transformation within spiritualism itself from its simple beginnings in Hydesville a half century before. Mme. E. Young, for example, lists herself as "California's Celebrated Spiritual Test Medium, and the Original Aura Seeress" and advertised her "Scientific Astro-auraological Interpretation and delineation from the aura and stars" through the assistance of "the spirit of an ancient Egyptian priest and prophet." She offered "Auraological life readings" ($2.50), spiritual and business readings ($2.00), spiritual readings ($1.00), life readings by mail ($5.00), psychometrizing mineral ore by mail ($12.50), and three direct questions answered by mail ($1.00).

The directory included both well-known workers like Thomas G. Newman, the editor of the Philosophical Journal and owner of owner of the Occult Book Store on Market Street in San Francisco, and dozens of unknown mediums aspiring to fame. Notably it included the portrait and advertisement of Mrs. J.J. Whitney (1841-1912), probably the best-known medium in California at the time. She was a flamboyant, diamond-clad trance medium (her "child control" was usually "May Flower") who graced her sittings with "spirit voices" and managed to include among her followers the wife of Leland Stanford. Her specialties, as widely advertised at the time the directory appealed, were life readings, answering sealed letters, business advice, medical clairvoyance (to treat "all diseases with Revealed Remedies"). She was "credentialed" by the California State Association but was well known by the bunco police in Los Angeles and was the object of a condemnatory circular signed by many other California mediums.

Chase, the editor of the directory, was a Vice-President of the State Spiritualists' Association and of the Society of Progressive Spiritualists in San Francisco, and a director of the Mediums' Protective Association – an organization whose embers were prominently included in the directory. In his later years, Chase was one of the first to write on mysteries of the Great Pyramid and Sphix at Gizeh. He helped edit the Philosophical Journal, 1903-1904.

University of California, Santa Barbara.

Issues:California Spiritual Messenger V1 N1 Mar 1903

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