The Poughkeepsie Seer


This is an old blog entry from 2011 that I posted when I was writing BUMP IN THE NIGHT. Somehow, the story never made it into the book, but I just came across it while preparing for a radio show that was to focus on that book. Just as the story didn’t make it into the book, the radio show didn’t happen either! But here’s the story. It’s an interesting one that says a lot about the mystery of spirit contact.

If you know much about American history, you’ve no doubt heard about Andrew Jackson, the fourteenth president. But you’ve probably never heard about American mystic named Andrew Jackson Davis. So here’s a history lesson from the mystical underground.

In  1844, at the age of 18, a shoemaker named Andrew Jackson Davis went into a state of semi-trance and wandered from his home in Poughkeepsie, New York. The next morning he found himself forty miles away in the mountains where he claimed he encountered the spirits of Swedish philosopher and mystic Emmanuel Swedenborg and the second-century Greek physician Claudius Gale.  He came away from the experience claiming he was mentally illuminated. Even though he never attended school, he began teaching and writing about supernatural powers, which he called human magnetism and electricity.

Davis, who became known as the Poughkeepsie Seer, also exhibited these powers. In 1845, he began to dictate, while in trance, a book entitled The Principles of NatureIn the book, Davis made the following prediction regarding a new era of communication with the other side.

“It is a truth that spirits commune with one another while one is in the body and the other in the higher spheres—and this, too, when the person in the body is unconscious of the influx, and hence cannot be convinced of the fact; and this truth will ere long present itself in the form of a living demonstration. And the world will hail with delight the ushering in of that era when the interiors of men will be opened, and the spiritual communion will be established…”

In Davis’ notes, dated March 31, 1848, are the following words: “About daylight this morning a warm breathing passed over my face and I heard a voice, tender and strong, saying: ‘Brother, the good work has begun—behold a living demonstration is born.’ I was left wondering what could be meant by such a message.”

It wasn’t long before he realized the meaning of the message. March 31, 1848 was the day that  Maggie Fox and her two sisters established a means of communicating with the others side, which gave birth to Spiritualism, a movement that flourished in the waning decades of the Victorian Era.  Davis had experienced a synchronicity through his contact with the other side.

While synchronicity doesn’t always involve spirit contact, it can serve as connective tissue between the everyday world and the other side, the world of spirit. The more contact we make, the more the so-called ‘dead’ appear to be quite alive and willing to communicate.

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2 Responses to The Poughkeepsie Seer

  1. Jeff says:

    This is such an insightful view of a particular history. Thanks for posting.I am reminded of the long spiritualist history behind all of this.

  2. Rob and Trish says:

    This is a intriguing peek into history.