Why the Victorians Saw Ghosts
An Illustrated Guide to 19th Century Spiritualism
by Michael Gallagher

Why the Victorians Saw Ghosts (An Illustrated Guide to 19th Century Spiritualism) by Michael Gallagher

Cover design by Negative Negative
Cover photographs by Mathew Brady and Douglas Derry

One of the early communications that the Fox sisters received had claimed that “these manifestations would not be confined to them, but would go all over the world.” Their public demonstrations were proving to be so popular that now others began to copy and improve upon their format. In an incredibly short space of time the movement swept across the Northern and Eastern States of the Union, with mediums (or “trance lecturers” as they were known) competing to produce increasingly startling phenomena. A repertoire that had started as a simple series of loud raps and knocks now included the appearance of “spirit-lights” and disembodied hands and faces, automatic writing whilst the medium was apparently in a trance, channelled spirits who spoke to or through the medium, objects that moved by themselves, and even levitation. Spiritualism had become show business.

Originally conceived as a blog to accompany Gallagher's Victorian novels and still freely available to read online, this guide provides a great introduction to the fascinating phenomenon of 19th Century spiritualism. If you can't tell your materializations from your Mumlers, or never realized just how physical ghost-grabbing could get, then this may well be the perfect book for you.

Available as a Kindle ebook at,

and as an ePub ebook at
Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Not currently available in paperback.

Find Michael Gallagher at