by Travis Sanders
When we think of those who championed the Spiritualist movement, we often immediately think of the Fox sisters, Emma Hardinge Britten, or Andrew Jackson Davis. But if Andrew Jackson Davis is the father of Modern Spiritualism, then surely it’s adoring godparents are Amy & Isaac Post.
Both born in New York around the turn of turn of the 19th century, Amy and Isaac Post were some of the first to witness the phenomena of the Fox Sisters’ and saw the immense importance of the work that was at hand. Amy and Isaac were Quakers (Hicksite Quakers, a splinter group of Quaker established through Amy’s cousin Elias Hicks) and were highly progressive for their time. When Isaac wasn’t working his local drug store, he and his wife, were both involved several movements of reform- primarily abolitionist and anti-slavery causes, as well as women’s rights. The Post’s Rochester home was a station on the underground railroad and hosted as many as 15-20 runaway slaves, as the freedom seekers headed north.
When the Posts witnessed the phenomena through the Fox sisters, they encouraged the work. In addition to bringing reform to religious ideology which was starting to work it’s way through our young country- as the phenomena progress from rudimentary raps, into phenomena such as trance, spirit writing and direct voice- much of the discourse that allegedly came through from the Spirit world, also championed their causes and confirmed their belief systems about changes needed for mans progress. Isaac himself would eventually develop as a writing medium and pen Voices from the Spirit World in 1852. The Posts also received messages from children the couple had lost, through the mediumship of the Fox’s, which cemented their conviction even further.
It was the Posts’ that arranged the Fox Sisters first out-of-house public demonstration of mediumship, renting the largest hall in Rochester for the event. Four hundred people showed up to witness the demonstration, as Amy stood nearby offering her support and love as the girls demonstrated. However even more than advertising and events, it was the Post’s sphere of social influence and inner circles that really contributed to the spread of Spiritualism. The Posts were well respected people, and were friends with many prominent abolitionists and women’s rights advocates of the time; including Frederick Douglass, and Susan B Anthony, and exposed them both to the phenomena of Spiritualism. While it interested Douglass less, it still allowed for the ideology and teachings to spread through the many circles of these movements.
The Posts had genuine friendship and affection for all three sisters, as the sisters did for them, which can be seen in letters exchanged between them. When their own parents weren’t quite sure what to do with the young girls, the Posts truly did take the place of spiritual godparent, and thank God they did, or else 1/10th of the then population of the country may not have become the Spiritualist that they did.
Isaac died in 1872 and Amy in 1889. They are both buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester.
Exploring Other Worlds: Chapin
Ghostly Communication: Kucich
The Spirit Book: Buckland