Andrew Jackson Davis: The Father of Modern Spiritualism

By Travis Sanders:

When people think of the beginnings of Modern Spiritualism, they automatically think of the Fox Sisters. But did you know the Hydesville Rappings were foretold?
In his journal, one the same date of March 31st, 1848, Andrew Jackson Davis wrote:

“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 have been meant by such a message.”


Because of this, Andrew Jackson Davis (AJD) is often referred to as the “John the Baptist” of Spiritualism. Davis, born 1826, had a simple upbringing near the Hudson River in NY, at the age of 12 he began hearing voices which encouraged him to encourage his family to move to Poughkeepsie, which they did. Little did his mother and (alcoholic) father know that years later their son would be regarded as the Poughkeepsie Seer. AJD’s mother would pass before ever getting to witness these accomplishments.

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As a teen Davis was introduced to Mesmerism by a traveling showman, and found that he could be “mesmerized’ (hypnotized) and while in this trance state diagnose disease and see inside the human body clairvoyantly, much like the Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce, who wouldn’t come for nearly a century more down the road.

In 1844 in a trance-like state, Davis found himself in the Catskill Mountains (nearly 40 miles from home) where he claims to have had discourse with the Spirit of the ancient greek physician Claudius Galen, as well as the swedish mystic and scientist, Emmanuel Swedenborg.

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Jackson’s work included not only medical intuition, and remote viewing, but trance- philosophy, and automatic writing- which over time became less automatic in nature and more inspirational in it’s reception by the medium. Regardless by the time Davis was 20 he wrote what Sherlock Holmes author and Spiritualist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, considered to be a very profound book of philosophy- The Principles of Nature, the first of numerous volumes which would be produced through the vehicle of his mediumship.


Davis also has a reputation for being a bit of a womanizer. In 1848 he married his first wife, Catherine, who started as a patron, and then became his mistress, eventually leaving her husband for Davis. Their marriage was cut short when 5 years into it, Catherine passed away. In 1854, he married is second wife Mary, who also left her husband for Davis. Their marriage was much longer than his first, lasting 30 years, but ending in divorce, and Davis believed his true mate was a woman by the name of Delphine, whom he married in 1885.


AJD contributed much to the movement of Spiritualism, including his numerous volumes of writing, lectures, his contributions to the Lyceum movement within Spiritualism, and even somewhat to the medical community as he eventually attained an M.D from the US Medical College. Davis spent his later years in Boston, MA, managing his bookstore until his death on Jan 13, 1910.

Advanced Spirit Communication & Public Mediumship: Klingler
Book of Spirit Communication: Buckland
The Spirit Book: Buckland