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Ghost Church by Jamie Loftus
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Ghost Church by Jamie Loftus

Author: Cool Zone Media and iHeartPodcasts

Subscribed: 1,171Played: 23,817


In this limited series, Jamie Loftus investigates and interrogates American spiritualism, a century-old tradition of communing with the dead that takes place in camps full of mediums across the country. Who is drawn to these camps, how did the religion come together, and why are the tarot card readers and the seance-havers fighting? Ghost Church is a look at grief, religion, and loneliness, with on-site reporting and interviews with everyone from spiritualist psychics to Protestant pastors to a very lonely carnival employee.
10 Episodes
Jamie Loftus investigates American spiritualism, a tradition of communing with the dead that takes place in camps full of mediums across the country.See for privacy information.
1: Not a Cult

1: Not a Cult


American Spiritualism is a frequently invoked, rarely understood religion that hinges on speaking with spirit through mediums. In our first episode, Jamie Loftus puts your little baby brain at rest -- it's not a cult. But what is it?See for privacy information.
This week, Jamie returns to Cassadaga for a Gala Day with one Reverend Doctor and one Reverend Doctor / Former Dojo Owner, then attends her first spiritualist church service, complete with a message from the spirit after hymns. Back in 1848, spiritualist's founding Fox sisters become stars overnight, immediately stoking skepticism and smothering press attention.See for privacy information.
3: The Tables Are Tipping

3: The Tables Are Tipping


This week, Jamie goes to a table tipping class — a Spiritualist tradition that uses tables to connect people with their dead. Elsewhere in the past, the Fox sisters go on tour, where the skeptics put increasing pressure on the teenagers to meet their hype.   Further Reading: Talking to the Dead, Barbara Weisberg Calling the Spirits: A History of Seances by Lisa Morton The Road to Seneca Falls by Judith Wellman Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan FaludiSee for privacy information.
This week, Jamie passes the mic to four women of Cassadaga to tell their stories about how they came to American spiritualism -- from being raised by NASA scientists to a tragic loss.See for privacy information.
This week, Jamie visits a legendary Cassadaga medium and traces the story of spiritualism's Fox sisters to its end -- where the sisters abandoned the religion that had defined their lives.See for privacy information.
This week, Jamie heads to the only spiritualist library in the American south -- open two hours a week -- to try and trace the legend of Cassadaga's founding to its root, as land taken from indigenous Americans. Writer Olivia Woodward stops by to discuss spiritual traditions of the Caddo Nation, thoughts on spiritualism's appropriation of Native culture, and questions George Colby's spirit guide. Follow Olivia's work here: More on the Seneca Nation: More on the Mascogo: More on the Timucua: More on the Miccosukee: See for privacy information.
This week, Jamie goes to a ghost museum, high fives a Jigsaw doll, and takes a look at two religious movements that pulled from American Spiritualism, took what they needed, and left the rest. Dr. Carlos Camacho stops by for a chat about espiritismo, and still no talk of ectoplasm. Dr. Margarita Simon Guillory on "The Religious Studies Project": More information on Dr. Camacho here: for privacy information.
This week, Jamie takes a look at the second wave of spiritualism in the United States through American Spiritualism's most famous schism -- believer Arthur Conan Doyle versus skeptic Harry Houdini over the mediumship (and yes, ectoplasm) of Mina Crandon. Featuring Paul F. Tompkins as Doyle and Robert Evans as Houdini. I know, right?See for privacy information.
In the final episode of Ghost Church (for now), Jamie befriends a Cassadaga medium, reads a manifesto, and looks backwards and ahead to where American spiritualism goes from here. Thank you for listening, and abolish the Supreme Court bitch. Find Uncle Dennis Here: for privacy information.
Comments (5)

Laura Bogart

I thought Jamie Loftus did a mini-series on visiting her hometown town and interviewing people about getting roped into MLM schemes, but can't find it anywhere. Anyone know what that was or, if not Loftus, recognize what I'm talking about and who hosted?

Feb 12th
Reply (2)


Wait, are we really going to pretend that this an unbiased take, attacking a man as a shit stirrer who was tired of bs and siding with people who trick those who are vulnerable. I mean I get it he was mean, but they were literally taking money on falsehoods with many of them having cult ambitions and low view of everyone around them. It's your world, but this is people using slight of hand to justify racism and classism. Very strange premise.

Aug 31st
Reply (1)
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