The Spiritual Telegraph

The technological advances of the 1800s had surprising religious side effects.
When Samuel Morse introduced his telegraph in 1844, he sent a Bible verse via electric dots and dashes over a wire stretched from D.C. to Baltimore: “What hath God wrought.” Later, wet-cell batteries used to power telegraph links across the country bore the name and likeness of a biblical strong man. In a twist, Spiritualists—who believed the living could communicate with the spirits of the dead—used the telegraph as both a metaphor and a tool for their practice. 

Message sent during the first public demonstration of the telegraph, 1844

Gift of Edwin Lind Morse

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