In his 1899 work Manifestation of Spiritualism Among the Shakers Elder Henry Blinn reflected on the marvelous events that dominated life in Shaker communities from 1837 into the 1850s. Looking back on these events fifty years later Blinn realized that what the Shakers experienced was but a precursor to the popular movement called Spiritualism that swept America and Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century.
In fact, the experience of the Shakers as progenitors of, and then participants in, the Spiritualist movement, is far more complex than Blinn’s retrospective stated. This article will examine one dimension of that experience—the interaction of individual Shakers with the notorious Vermont mediums, the Eddy Brothers. This interesting episode in Shaker history involved both Blinn and Evans, as well as many other Shakers. The Shakers relationship with the Eddys provides substantial evidence of their attitude toward the Spiritualist movement as it evolved beyond the realm of the Shaker communities.
American Communal Societies Quarterly