Halloween--despite its solemn Celtic roots--has become a way for Americans to transgress social norms and toy with the idea of ghosts in a family-friendly fashion. But for some, spirits from another plane have always been a very real part of life on this plane. Why were colonists so fearful of New England "witches?" How is it that progressive social reformers found a home in the Spiritualist movement of the 19th century? Why do new media technologies almost always conjure talk of the undead? Can social upheaval help explain our history with the ineffable?
The American History Guys at BackStory Radio present "American Spirit: A History of the Supernatural," a one-hour broadcast on Americans' evolving relationship with the supernatural and the ways in which witches, spirits and ghosts have haunted our history.
- Nate DiMeo, creator of the popular "Memory Palace" podcast, on the Fox sisters-the small-town girls who triggered the 19th-century movement known as Spiritualism.
- Ann Braude, Harvard Divinity School, on the intersection of Spiritualism with 19th-century social reform movements.
- Cara Seekings, a medium, on connecting with the spirit world today.
BackStory is a production of VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.