Before Henry Seybert died in 1883, he endowed a chair of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, on the condition that the University appoint a commission to investigate “all systems of Morals, Religion, or Philosophy which assume to represent the Truth, and particularly of Modern Spiritualism” (Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to Investigate Modern Spiritualism in Accordance with the Request of the Late Henry Seybert (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1887), 5). Spiritualism, the belief that it was possible for the spirits of the dead to communicate or interact by various means with the living, had attracted many adherents in the United States since 1850, although spiritualism could not in any way be called a unified movement.
Violet Tweedale was born in Edinburgh, the eldest daughter of Robert Chambers, editor of Chambers’ Journal. She moved to London in 1889 becoming a humanitarian and writer, publishing her first novel, And They Two that year. She married Clarens Tweedale in 1891. Moving in the best social circles she counted as friends such notables as poet Robert Browning, artist Frederic Leighton, Anne Proctor and many others.Claiming to be psychic from the age of 5 she became involved in Spiritualism and Theosophy, and was a close associate of Helena Blavatsky. She was also a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn.Tweedale was a prolific writer, publishing over 30 books on spiritual and romantic subjects. She was also a gifted amateur artist, accomplished pianist and known as the best woman golfer in her region. Ghosts I Have Seen is her factual record of ghost encounters.
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