|Periodical:||The New World|
From Pat Deveney's database:
New World, The.
Phifer (1860-1931) was a communitarian socialist and prairie spiritualist with decided New Thought elements. He was part of that group of fringe socialists with spiritual and occult leanings that included Lucy A. Mallory, Adiramled, Linn A.E. Gale, Eugene V. Debs, and the like. He was an original and idiosyncratic, turning out Annals of the Earth (1890), a socialist version of Genesis in verse, opposing American involvement in Mexico and the Philippines, and extolling one of his favorite thoughts: "There is only One Religion, and You Have It" -- an exhortation to all to realize "spiritual power" was open to all, without churches and ministers, and could be accessed by setting aside 5 minutes each morning and an hour on Sundays for the purpose. New Thought and suggestion also, he thought, were of some value but far too individualistic. Phifer's "spiritualism," he emphasized, was that of A.J. Davis rather than that of the purposeless activities of the Fox Sisters, which he though lacked social consciousness and purpose. The proper goal was to "socialize" all spiritual powers.
"The New World, is, so far as I know, the first real effort on the part of anyone fulfill the real purpose of Spiritualism as declared by the wiser ones from the spirit side in the early 50's. In response to a question, asked by a sitter of a spirit, as to the purpose of the spirits in communicating with mortals, the reply was to this effect: ‘We (the spirits) have come to help you to make the earth a better place to live in; we have come to assist in bringing about the reign of right and the rule of justice.' Quite at variance with this sublime announcement of Messiahship, was the command (also given by a spirit) to the Fox Sisters: ‘Hire Corinthian Hall (Rochester) and charge a dollar a head.' The reason that the latter message received the very ready acceptance of many is not far to seek. Your own experience, mine, and that of every person who has had any public experience, is sufficient to prove to us that while reforms are sorely needed by the world, ‘reforming' is an extremely unprofitable business for the ‘reformer.'"
Phifer started the paper at the urging of the spirit of Julius A. Wayland (the publisher of Appeal to Reason, which Phifer edited for seven years), communicating through automatic writing. The journal featured communications from the spirits of Karl Marx, J.A. Wayland, Robert Burns, Elbert Hubbard, Shakespeare, Ignatius Donnelly, Ralph W. Emerson, Robert Owen, and Robert Dale Owen, Job (who wrote a revision of the Book of Job), Victor Hugo, the Apostle Matthew (interview with Jesus), Paul the Apostle, Isaac Newton, John and Charles Wesley, Longfellow, E.A. Poe, W.C. Brann, "O. Henry," Horace Greeley, Walt Whitman, William Lloyd Garrison, et al.
He ended up in Kansas City advertising himself as a Psychical Researcher. He was also a medium for production of "The Posthumous Essays of Emerson." The journal notably carried "The New World's Remarkable Scientific Proposition" -- Phifer's offer of "one thousand dollars reward to the First Person who Secures Mechanical Communication with the Spirit World." Advertised in Gale's Magazine, December 1918.
|Issues:||The New World 1916-1917|
|The New World 1918-1919|
|The New World 1920|