|The mainstay of spirit communication - the Ouija Board|
Keel Row Bookshop in North Shields now contains several pieces from a former Spiritualist church – including matter from “the other side”.
The collection, known as an “archive”, reflects the history of the Gateshead Psychical Society.
Anthony Smithson, who owns the bookshop, said: “This is shining a light on a sort of British subculture.
|Apparently this phial contains `ectoplasm` in solid form!|
“ There was more of an interest in Spiritualism after the First World War and the Spanish Flu outbreak, because so many people lost their lives. The idea of contacting people who had gone must have seemed more appealing.”
From the mid-19th Century the movement became more organised in some countries, with several hundred UK churches active by the 1920s.
One of these stood at 93 Coatsworth Road in Gateshead, and the archive has preserved some of the things believers felt were important. Those with North East roots might want to know if a relative’s name is among those in the Gateshead society’s ledger.
|Early mass produced example of a planchette - used with Ouija Boards|
The book shows the organisation’s income and spending between 1937 and 1939, and Anthony said it provided a glimpse of the society’s everyday activities.
As well as several documents and a haul of Spiritualist tape recordings, the archive contains more practical artefacts.
These included the Ever-Ready Electrical Medical Coil – a wooden box containing a battery with wires and electrodes springing from it.
|Used perhaps for electrolysis treatment?|
The coils were reportedly used to treat skin problems in the first half of the 20th Century.
Anthony, 41, has owned Keel Row Bookshop, on Fenwick Terrace, for seven years and acquired the archive privately last year.
He added: “I’m going to try and sell it as a complete archive.”