Spiritualist Summer Camp Outside Philly

In its heyday, Philadelphia and the immediate surrounding area was rife with occultists. Ida Craddock was born and raised on Race Street in Philly proper. Madam Blavatsky resided in town for a spell, Philadelphia resident Louis Wilkinson was Crowley’s literary executor. The town boasted (and still maintains) an active Lodge of Theosophists (on Walnut Street near Rittenhouse Square.  Meanwhile towards the North the First Association of Spiritualists opened a church in the Fishtown neighborhood and then a settlement cum Summer Camp in Neshaminy called “Parkland.” Parkland’s residents conducted seances, performed hypnotism, mesmerism and exhibitions of clairvoyance for appropriate fees. And while we likely smirk at the buncombe being practiced in many cases, the Spiritualist movement also yielded figures like P. B. Randolph (his archives being housed in Quakertown, PA by Clymer’s AMORC) who many consider to have discovered a number of key occult concepts and practices — some perhaps still in use — and utopian communities wold give rise to theories about sexual freedom (and its less obvious uses) to pioneers like the aforementioned Ida Craddock.

Here’s a lighthearted piece on Parkland:


And a document on the First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia:


And an article about a Spiritualist church being converted for modern use — but including a nice bit of the movement’s history.

Fishtown Church Conversion Summons Spiritualist Past

Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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