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On April 16-17, 1886, Spiritualists Dr. Alexander Hume and Dr. Harding presented “A Night of Wonders” at the Lobero Theatre.

The prominent Dr. Hume was said to be, “the only representative that gives sittings upon an open, brilliantly lighted stage,” and described as “pre-eminent to every living spirit medium.”

Spiritualism was based around the possibility of communication with the spirits of dead people and reached its peak in membership from the 1840’s to the 1920’s. They believe that spirit mediums are gifted to carry on such communication, but that anyone may become a medium through study and practice.

In the 1880’s, a number of mediums were touring the United States, presenting “open light” seances, which included spirit slate writing, a table rising, a display of the hands or faces of spirits, and the playing of a phantom guitar.

By 1897, spiritualism was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes. After the nineteenth century the credibility of the informal movement began to weaken due to accusations of fraud, and the appearance of more formal spiritualist organizations.

While we wait in the wings for things to return to normal, we hope you enjoy a semi-regular peek into the Lobero archives.

We hope you’re staying safe and enjoying the arts from the comfort of your own home. Go ahead and read more stories below.