Seances (Late 19th century)
Spiritualism was all the rage during the late 19th century with many Victorians participating regularly in seances. It wasn’t just celebs — Mary Todd Lincoln often held seances at the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency — but normal peasants who attended seances. Why were seances so popular?
The religion of Spiritualism was founded in the mid-19th century. And Victorians were desperate to talk to their deceased loved ones. In Mary Todd Lincoln’s case, one of her sons had passed away while living in the White House. Humans have always been fascinated with what happens after death. Ouija boards were first introduced around the same time (July 1890).
Of course celebs can afford to dabble in whatever strikes their fancy. How did regular schomos do it? Well, you could argue, for the first time in history, peasants weren’t starving to death and could turn their attention towards other things. Christianity was being undermined at this time thanks to theories from Charles Darwin and everyone was extremely curious about life after death(?).