Guelph Military Lecture Series, Kyle Falcon, “Spiritualism and the First World War” Feb. 28th, 7:00pm at the Guelph Civic Museum
Spiritualism–which can be defined as the belief in the survival of the human personality and the possibility of communication with the dead–saw a surge of popularity during and after the Great War. In the aftermath of war, Britons flocked to the seance and saw the ghosts of their loved ones in dreams and in photographs. Those on the battlefield had premonitions and claimed to be protected by guardian angels or spirits. These paranormal and spiritualist experiences conflict with contemporary conceptions of the war as a futile and profane event, and the modern world as secular and disenchanted. But for a significant segment of the British population, spiritualism and psychical research offered a means of uniting science and religion, and gave the war meaning.
Kyle Falcon recently completed his PhD in history at Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include war and memory with a specific focus on the First World War in the British Empire, British cultural history, the history of science, and religion and society.