Socialist ideas, especially in the Fourierist vein, exerted a decisive influence on Kardec and other Spiritists. Young and beautiful, her appearance on stage fascinated men.The most popular trance lecturer prior to the American Civil War was Cora L. Her audiences were struck by the contrast between her physical girlishness and the eloquence with which she spoke of spiritual matters, and found in that contrast support for the notion that spirits were speaking through her.Amy and Isaac Post, Hicksite Quakers from Rochester, New York, had long been acquainted with the Fox family, and took the two girls into their home in the late spring of 1848.
Davis was a practising Mesmerist, faith healer and clairvoyant from Blooming Grove, New York.
He was also strongly influenced by the socialist theories of Fourierism.
The evidence of the senses appealed to practically-minded Americans, and the Fox sisters became a sensation.
As the first celebrity mediums, the sisters quickly became famous for their public séances in New York.
Two features of his view particularly resonated with the early Spiritualists: first, that there is not a single Hell and a single Heaven, but rather a series of higher and lower heavens and hells; second, that spirits are intermediates between God and humans, so that the divine sometimes uses them as a means of communication.
Although Swedenborg warned against seeking out spirit contact, his works seem to have inspired in others the desire to do so.
Swedenborg was formerly a highly regarded inventor and scientist, achieving several engineering innovations and studying physiology and anatomy.
Then, “in 1741, he also began to have a series of intense mystical experiences, dreams, and visions, claiming that he had been called by God to reform Christianity and introduce a new church." Mesmer did not contribute religious beliefs, but he brought a technique, later known as hypnotism, that it was claimed could induce trances and cause subjects to report contact with supernatural beings.
The afterlife, or the "spirit world", is seen by spiritualists, not as a static place, but as one in which spirits continue to evolve.
These two beliefs—that contact with spirits is possible, and that spirits are more advanced than humans—lead spiritualists to a third belief: that spirits are capable of providing useful knowledge about moral and ethical issues, as well as about the nature of God.
They believe that spirits are capable of growth and perfection, progressing through higher spheres or planes, and that the afterlife is not a static state, but one in which spirits evolve.