Athens, Ohio’s Forgotten Spiritualist History: by Travis Sanders

By Travis Sanders

The year is 1852, and Jonathan Koons, an atheist and farmer, living in the wilderness of the Appalachian foothills of Athens, Ohio, is attending a séance with local Spiritualists. Despite the fact that he was intent on defrauding the young maiden medium, what Jonathan witnessed that night would change his life forever.

Jonathan_and_Nahum_Koons_1857CROPPicture Credit: Mysterious Planchette

What exactly Koons saw I do not know- but he did convert to Spiritualism- and he did receive a message- that he too was a medium of extraordinary talent, and this his wife Abigail, as well as the oldest of his 9 children, Nahum Ward Koons, had a talent that Spirit would not ignore.

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Jonathan and his family lived in an area of Athens county known as Mt Nebo, which was considered by the Shawnee native so sacred that they would not hunt or camp there. Today the exact location of the Koons former residence is debated but people say its either a 3-way intersection on Peach Ridge or near the intersection of Mill Creek and Sand Ridge, Athens County. Could the spiritual energy the Shawnee believed in have contributed to the rapid growth of the Koons’ family’s rapid development?


Very quickly John and Nahum were producing phenomena, falling into trance states, and producing automatic writings and drawing which soon lead to control voices coming through Nahum’s séance trumpet. The main control identified himself as “King,” John King or Henry Morgan the renowned Welsh pirate of the 1600’s. Now for those of you who are familiar with physical mediumship’s past you may be familiar with Florence Cook, the young medium who quite famously materialized her control, or spirit guide, Katie King- daughter of the famed John King. References to both King and Katie have also been found in other accounts of physical mediumship- it seems they loved to communicate from the other side during the pioneering of potential mediumship feats of the time.


Now some accounts claim that King was a catchall name for several spirit communicators of which John King was a part of- other accounts also speak of Adam- a collective of Pre-Adamite (older than 6,000 years old/older than the creationist story) souls, under the direction of a high Angel named Oress. It was under this celestial influence that Nahum allegedly channeled a chart of the “spheres” of the angelic realm and the afterlife.

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The Koons’ reputation quickly grew and people from far and wide came to witness the phenomena that were happening in the Koons’ séances. So much so that under the direction of the Spirit voices Jonathan was guided to be a “spirit room” which was really a 16×12 cabin separate from his living quarters specifically where séances were to be held. In this room a machine was placed. This machine was diagramed by spirit- and built by Koons’ with the intention of assisting séance. It was able to produce sound as well as had elements of copper and zinc, which were said to aid the spirit energies.

1854 November 4 Cleveland Plain Dealer Koons Spiritual Machine

Now getting to the Koons’ residence was no easy task. One had to travel to Columbus, Ohio, take stagecoach to Athens- and then hike a 2-mile hike to the Koons’ on Mt Nebo. This however, did not detract people from all over the country from making this journey.

In the séance room, a large table was placed with pencils and paper, as well as many musical instruments and the element phosphorus. As the lights were extinguished, Jonathan Koons’ would begin to play violin, and as he did, instruments all around the room started to play in synch with him. Unearthly, beautiful choirs were said to join the instrumental. Those who heard them said people could not have made them. It was too beautiful, too perfect. As the music died down, and instruments landed from their levitation, King would begin to speak via trumpet and bring through philosophy on life both spiritual and physical. The Spirit people would also use the phosphorus to materialize illuminated hands that could touch, fly around the room, and write- as requested by sitters.


Approximately 3 miles from Koons’ residence, a man by the name of Tippie also began to hold séances with similar phenomena. Often in sources researched Koons and Tippie are mentioned together but little is said of John Tippie. Some sources make it seem as if he and Koons were friends, other sources made it seem as if there was an air of competition between them.

For many these séances were wonderful- but for the fundamentalist settlers of the area, this was the work of Satan. Koons family faced a lot of backlash including physical assults on the Koons children, and eventually the arson of the séance cabin. Both Koons and Tippie, tired of such condemnation, left Ohio. Tippie went to Colorado and Koons senttled in Illinois. After moving the spirit control, King, seemed to be absent, and eventually Koons mediumship faded, as did his star. Not much is known about the Koons post-séance life.

Modern American Spiritualism by Emma Hardinge Britten


8 Steps to Raise Your Vibration: by Travis Sanders


Vibration. We hear that word a lot in the spiritual and metaphysical community. But what does it mean?

Everything is energy. We know this. Science agrees with this. The rate at which energy moves, the oscillation of particles, constitutes the quality or rate of vibration. Everything has a vibrational quality.

In Power Vs Force Dr Richard Dawkins, is able to measure and map the rate of vibration of human emotion. Emotions such as acceptance are high on the measurable scale, as emotions like fear are on the low end of the spectrum.

Essentially the higher the vibrational quality of something, be it an emotion, a though, or physical matter, the better and healthier it us for us. The lower the vibration, the more detrimental it may be.

Our personal vibration consists of the quality and health of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies (i.e. chakras, aura). When our vibration is high and healthy, we are happy, balanced, and Spiritually connected. When our rate of vibration is low, or weak, we are more likely to be down, unhealthy, or spiritually disconnected from our own Source (guidance, intuition, purpose).

Below are some suggested ways to live an maintain a high vibrational life!

1- Nature


When we spend time in nature we receive the positive benefits of fresh air and sunshine (a nice Seratonin boost).  Being connected to the earth can help us ground erroneous energies, leaving us feel refreshed and relaxed. The more we spend time in nature our natural cycles and rhythms reset themselves to natural settings.

2- Regular Exercise


Physical movement is not only healthy for the systems of our body, but it helps us be seated in the present and properly grounded in our body. As we move the physical body, energy and life force moves through us and renews us. When there is a lack of movement there is stagnation, and when stagnation occurs, imbalance and potential illness may set in. Walking, jogging, and yoga are wonderful exercises for keeping the energies of health flowing in the physical and subtle bodies.

3- Prayer

Prayer is a powerful tool because it lifts our awareness to the Divine. You may wish to redefine prayer. It doesn’t have to be memorized speeches, but sincere communication from the heart with whatever you consider to be a higher power (God, the Universe, Spirit, guides and angels). Prayer may be out-loud or silent, in words, or thoughts, pictures or even the focusing of feelings. Think of prayer as communion with Divinity.


4- Meditation

Meditation has many benefits including helping to raise our vibration and expand our conscious awareness. Additional benefits to meditation are relaxation, stress relief, and improved bodily functions. Through being silent we commune with our own soul. We hear. We come to new conclusions and inspirations that lead to a healthier version of ourselves. Remember, meditation isn’t as much about clearing thought as it is about becoming conscious of thought, recognizing it, and then letting go as we focus on breath and stillness. This helps us to discern true intuition and guidance from fear, insecurities and ego.

5- Healthy Eating


This is one of those areas where I will say do as I say and not as I do. I struggle with this one as I enjoy refined sugar, processed and convenient food. Fresh foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables have a higher vibration and life force to them. Processed, frozen and fast foods and slow, low vibrations. Everything we take into us and surround ourselves with has influence on our personal vibration. So be mindful what you put in your body.

6- Music


Music is such a powerful influence. Music that is uplifting, fun, and that makes you want to move or sing can lift your spirits and your rate of vibration. Keep this in mind the next time you are feeling stuck. Its hard to be down or feel “muddy” when you’re signing and dancing to your favorite song, when you feel it down in your Spirit.

7- Healthy Relationships


If you’re surrounded with needy, victim-minded, pessimistic people its going to effect your vibes! We all have friendships and social ties to people we feel loyalty to. We all go through challenges. But if your friend or co-worker is chronically negative, drama filled, or unwilling to even attempt to help themselves, then what you have is a toxic relationship. These relationships will drag down your vibration faster than a sinking stone. Take inventory of your life and do a “vibe clean up.” Are there one-sided or unhealthy relationships? If so, clean them up either by setting new, healthier and firmer boundaries or by cutting unhealthy ties all together. You will feel so much better for it. This is not being unkind, this is simply care and compassion for self.

8- Kick the Habit

Part of your vibe clean-up may include lifestyle alterations such as our personal vices. We all indulge and enjoy from time to time as we should. But once something becomes a habit or addiction it has power over us and no longer is supportive to a healthy vibration. Examples of low vibrational habits may include smoking, drinking, excessive television or social media addictions (can you go a whole day without Facebook)? Inherently none of these things on their own are “bad.” Remember, healthy moderation is key!

There are many ways to raise your vibration! These are just a few- you don’t have to implement a bunch of changes at once. Start with just one and see how it feels, and most importably- follow the voice of your own intuition as to whats best for you!