Spiritualism and the Church

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Spiritualism and Insanity is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle first published in The Southport Visiter on 22 january 1920.

Spiritualism and the Church

Sir, — I observe that one of my reverend critics, who seem certainly to have inherited the spiritual gift of prophecy, since they attacked me before knowing what I would say, has repeated the ancient discredited story about American lunacy asylums being filled by Spiritualists. There is not a word of truth in this. The only statistics which I have been able to find are collected by a Dr. Eugene Crowell, who examined the asylums of New England, where Spiritualism is very common, and who found, out of 16,000 lunatics, four Spiritualists — and, I regret to say, 222 clergymen. The myth began with a statement in 1876 by the late Dr. Forbes Winslow, which he retracted in after life, when he was himself a Spiritualist. I have a copy of this retraction in my possession. As to the statements of the other clerics that irreverence is shown to God or Christ by Spiritualists, it is typical of the ignorance of the subject shown by so many of these gentlemen, whose job it is, as the Rev. Vale Owen said, to be well informed about it. True Spiritualism belongs to no creed, but it is the root fact of all religion, and can be equally professed by an Anglican, a Roman Catholic, a Nonconformist, or even a Unitarian. It is only with the materialist that no compromise can be made, for our views are diametrically opposed.

Yours etc.,

Hotel Metropole, Blackpool, January 20th.