It’s mentioned early in Thunderstruck about the Edwardian Age’s fascination with the paranormal. Spiritualism, a holdover from the Victorian period, fascinated the minds of many in European and American society. I decided to look a little closer into this phenomenon and brought out a few great articles!
First is this thoroughly researched article from Collector’s Weekly which not only goes into the history of planchettes – one of the many devices employed by mediums – but also a detailed look into Spiritualism itself.
Second I decided to pull up some newspaper articles of the time to get a feel for how people wrote about the seances; believers and skeptics.
The Evening News – 4/5/1904 – Look for the “Gossip of the Day” on Mr. William Frith, R.A.
The Monitor and New Era – 11/14/1908 – Read a “Seance Story”
St. James Gazette – 8/28/1903 – Some con artists and what the St. James Gazette sees as the root of Spiritualism
The Evening News – 3/9/1906 – A fraud is exposed
The Evening News – 6/20/1903 – Colonel Mayhew catches a con artist
If you want to read more articles from London newspapers from this time, or even American newspapers, you can use the database I used Access Newspaper Archives. It’s a great tool!