During the Victorian era and the early 20th century, occultism swept across America and Europe. The movement centered on the belief that life continues after death, and that spirits can be contacted via mediums. During this time, many people came forward claiming they had psychokinetic powers and went to great lengths to prove it, either by photography or performance art. Seances, levitation, and spirit writing became embedded in the imagination of the public.
The movement began to decline as many prominent investigators, such as The Society of Psychical Research, began to debunk many cases in which paranormal activity was alleged. The following photos show a fascinating glimpse into a bizarre time in human history.