Philadelpia Spiritualism and the Curious Case of Katie King
A Story of Faith and Fraud in the City of Brotherly Love
Author: Stephanie Hoover
Publisher: The History Press
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In the wake of the Civil War, Spiritualism - and its promises of communication with the dead - reached its peak as grieving families hoped to reunite with men lost in battle.
In the face of an uncertain future, people sought comfort in the messages of mediums, and for Philadelphians, that reassurance was found in Katie King.
Katie was a spirit who materialized at the séances of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Holmes - or so attendees believed. For eight months in 1874, she captivated every level of Philadelphia society, including Vice President Henry Wilson, who clamored to speak with the lovely apparition. When a believer-turned-skeptic decided to investigate Katie King for himself, the "spirit" took a decidedly human turn.
From the rise of Spiritualism in the city to the aftermath of the scandal, author Stephanie Hoover reveals the personalities and chicanery behind the curious case of Katie King.