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My research essay details how Native American spirits were used by Victorian England Spiritualist mediums in their séances. For American mediums, their most common spirit guides were the spirits of Native Americans, but in England, it was rather unusual to have one appear during a séance. American Spiritualists associated Native American spirits with the guilt they felt for the dying race. However, this was not the case for Native American spirits appearing in British séances. Rather, the spirits were reflections of the stereotypes and myths believed by the British public. Public perception of Native Americans in Victorian England was shaped by the literary works of authors like Edward Tylor and George Catlin who both detailed Native Americans as savage, childlike, and a symbol of tragedy. Such stereotypes include the belief that Native Americans were innately spiritual beings or that they practiced black magic. Other times, Spiritualist healers would have a Native American spirit at their call because it was believed they could heal people through spiritual means. So, when Native American spirits did appear in Victorian England séances, they were used to encourage positive and negative stereotypes and myths about Native Americans, and their spirits were used to promote the spirituality of a medium by having a Native American spirit guide.


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  • Subject
    • History, Anthropology, & Philosophy

  • Institution
    • Gainesville

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3204

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2022

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Phillip Guerty