15: Talking to the Dead

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For the season two premiere, we are exploring the rich American history of Spiritualism, a massive 80-year trend of popular culture lasting from the Civil War to the Jazz age in which mediums began speaking to, and then speaking for, the spirits of the dead. A sudden craze of magical, fun, gross, and sexy parlor room séances swept the nation, materializing during the awe-inspiring age of invention and scientific inquiry. But the movement also had a political side; for the first time women were given a voice for social and political change, a voice that just happened to be channeled from beyond the veil. How they used that otherworldly voice, however, was both revolutionary and problematic, much like the progressive movements we experience today.

American Hysteria is written, produced, and hosted by Chelsey Weber-Smith
Assistant produced by Derrick Smith
Produced and edited by Clear Commo Studios
Voice acting by Will Rogers
Research assisted by Riley Smith
Art by Roache

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59 episodes