BARLOW – Jim Kleefeld demonstrated deceit in spiritism in the 1900s at the Barlow branch of the Washington County Public Library on Monday.
The presentation explained how mediums were deceptive in their practices and touched on topics such as different mediums, spiritualism, ethereal voices, and spiritual photography, among others.
Kleefeld gave an interactive presentation of his spiritual practices and interacted with the audience on several occasions. He brought a collection of unusual ancient artifacts to the public, including spiritual trumpets, speechless dolls, ectoplasm, and message frames. He used these artifacts to demonstrate how mediums of the 1900s tried to make contact with spirits and how they fooled their clients.
“It is an adventure in false spiritualism and false mediums” Kleefeld explained. “It’s a historical look at what some psychics have done to defraud people.”
He said he was not claiming that all of the mediums were bogus, but that a lot of the mediums he studied deceived their customers with money. He also mentioned that it bothered him, that psychics were deceiving those who were mourning the death of a loved one.
Kleefeld said spiritualism developed as an industry after the Civil War, because husbands and fathers went to war and never returned. This created a need for psychics on the part of people who wanted to get rid of their lost loved ones.
“It was a big step, in a sense, a positive step for women’s rights”, he said.
He said that until 1850 or the 1900s there was no place for women to be rewarded. He then explained how most of the women stayed at home and ran the household, and how very few women had jobs where they could earn money.
“And then came the spiritual world and psychics, because of Kate and Maggie Fox, sort of come from a female perspective. A lot of almost all of the newbie psychics were female, and they thought they could go out. , do something that others recognized them for and get paid for it â, he said.
Kleefeld said he had been a magician for most of his life and started doing magic tricks when he was one of the Cubs. Growing up, he made a living as a magician during the summers and taught kindergarten in Cleveland public schools the rest of the year. He learned spiritualism through magic.
“So the more I studied magic, wizards and the history of magic, the more I discovered things that spiritualists did or used.” he said. “They used a lot of magic to trick people because they could.”
Kleefeld has studied books like The Problem Spiritualist and Revelations of a Spirit Medium. He even wrote his own book called The Spirits Speak, which he told stories about during the presentation. Kleefeld said there are several books on spiritualism and mediums in the Washington County Public Library and its branches.