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A Brief History of The Ghost Club: The World’s Oldest Paranormal Organization

posted: 09/07/16
by: Kelly McClure

It comes as no surprise, but is definitely very interesting, to learn just how far back the world's fascination with the paranormal stretches. In 1862 what is now known as the oldest organization focusing on paranormal practices and activity was officially formed. This club was aptly named ... The Ghost Club and past members have included the likes of Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes books), W.B. Yeats, and Frederick Bligh Bond.

Though the club was formalized in 1862, its early beginnings can be traced back to 1855 at Trinity College. During this time a mix of the intellectual and the curious would meet in secret to discuss ghosts, psychics, and other paranormal happenings. The members of the club would not only talk about the paranormal, but use their combined book smarts to attempt to prove or de-bunk claims of the otherworldly. One of the first investigations they conducted was to determine if The Davenport brothers could really contact the dead using something they called a "spirit cabinet." In the end it was concluded that, no, they could not.

The seance cabinet of the Davenport brothers
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The seance cabinet of the Davenport brothers
Henry Ridgely Evans via Wikimedia Commons

In the 1870s the club dissolved for a few years after the death of one of its founding members, the writer Charles Dickens. It was brought back to life on All Saints Day in 1882 by the medium Stainton Moses and Alfred Alaric Watts who did some disservice to the founding members by attempting to erase the past origins of the club and claim that they themselves had invented it.

The club has gone through many changes over the years, shifting from being centered around intellectual thought and investigation, to a more scientific approach to paranormal exploration. After 1993 the subject matter of the club expanded to include UFO and cryptozoology research. Flash forward to the present day - the club still meets monthly on Saturday afternoons at a private club in Central London. Memberships to the club can be obtained for 35 pounds in the UK, or 25 pounds for overseas members. You have to be at least 18-years-old to join.

Members of the club are called upon to join in investigations of the strange and paranormal. Most recently the club investigated an alleged haunting of the Greenock Old Fire Station in Inverclyde and posted their findings to their website, which makes for a great read.


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