Seers, Spiritualists, and the Spirit World: The experiments of Frederick Hockley

Delve into the occult experiments of British Spiritualist, accountant, and Freemason, Frederick Hockley (1808-1885), often credited with being a leading influencer of the nineteenth-century Occult Revival. Hockley was interested in the variety of spiritual practices that emerged at the time including mesmerism and astrology, as well as various forms of psychic communication including séances and mediums, Ouija boards, crystals, and mirrors. These pages record the results of Hockley's experiments and provide unique insight into the reality of Spiritualism and Spiritualist practice in the 19th century.

Frederick Hockley's life is shrouded in mystery, as there are no official records of his birth, family, or education. Scholars have been able to piece together some information about Hockley by tracing his name through UK census records, but what we know of him remains minimal. At an early age he began working for John Denley, occult bookseller, as a copyist of occult manuscripts. This early work birthed a lifelong interest in the occult and spiritual phenomena, and he would continue to collect these kinds of resources for the rest of his life. These 11 notebooks, tucked away in Harry Houdini’s Library, and thought by many to be lost to history, describe the results of Hockley’s numerous attempts to reach the beyond.