Friday, September 28, 2018

Spiritualist problems




Robert Mathiesen is a scholar of Eastern Orthodox history who also writes about magic, witches and occultism. I think he is a “pagan” pantheist himself, but I´m not entirely certain of this.

This article deals with certain problems concerning the life and activities of Emma Hardinge Britten, a prominent 19th century Spiritualist active in both the UK and the US. Thus, the article isn´t a popularized account of her life, but rather scholarly “source criticism”. It´s probably mostly of interest to other scholars specializing in Spiritualism, Theosophy and other odd topics.

Mathiesen believes he has identified Britten´s most prominent collaborator, the mysterious Chevalier Louis de B, as Ernest de Bunsen, an anti-Christian Spiritualist-occultist writer on religious history. He also claims that the earliest version of the Theosophical Society wasn’t completely dominated by Madame Blavatsky, Britten playing an equally important role and de facto competing with the Russian madame. Mathiesen also speculates that Britten may have been involved in a secret training program within the society, which had some resemblances to that of the later Golden Dawn.

It´s also interesting to note that Britten had a connection to an esoteric society which counted Edward Bulwer-Lytton as one of its members, but that´s apparently old hat! On a funnier note, the photo of Bunsen in this little book has a striking resemblance to Swedish actor Max von Sydow… 

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