Your first and most obvious question is most likely who is J.G.H. Brown? and what does he have to do with anything? Two very good questions indeed and if you have an interest in spiritualism and the history of its conception in the United Kingdom. You really should know! but alas his name is virtually unheard of in spiritual history circles and this is to do with the class issue and his status. But what he achieved, what he set up and organized and the very foundations of circles, meetings and the mind, body and spirit fair we attend today.
In the research side of Nottinghamshire Paranormal Network, we have access to the local history archives of the libraries in Nottinghamshire. The archives of the local paranormal in the Nottingham city library are 3 very thick red opening horizontal boxes. complete with various cuttings, leaflets, articles from aspects of demonology, spiritualism, paranormal reports, holistic courses, details theological society meetings. Upon working through the 2nd box folder. I stumbled upon a fascinating article from “Nottingham Guardian Journal” a newspaper that was published for more than a 100 years and ceased on 19 June 1973, after struggling with advancing technology in printing. The article was from the 5th of July 1924, a book published in that year called “The Two Worlds” authored by J.Barrett. A writer of the the subject of spiritualism and its history in an interview with the “Nottingham Paranormal News” and recreated in the Nottingham Guardian News and will be recreated (and expanded upon) for the first time online here on the NPN Portal.
It is important here that we consider timeline of the era.
The Fox Sisters
In 1848, the two younger sisters – Kate and Margaret – were living in a house in Hydesville, New York with their parents. Hydesville was a hamlet which no longer exists but was part of the township of Arcadia in Wayne County. The house had some prior reputation for being haunted, but it wasn’t until late March that the family began to be frightened by unexplained sounds that at times sounded like knocking, and at other times like the moving of furniture.In 1888, Margaret told her story of the origins of the mysterious “rappings”:
“When we went to bed at night we used to tie an apple to a string and move the string up and down, causing the apple to bump on the floor, or we would drop the apple on the floor, making a strange noise every time it would rebound. Mother listened to this for a time. She would not understand it and did not suspect us as being capable of a trick because we were so young.”
So the Fox Sisters from 1888 become public figures and their story was NOT told until this time.
and the Fox sisters are long claimed to be the beginners of the spiritual movement, however in Nottingham 1850, 38 years prior!
William Shoote – Tokard Times along with
Thomas C. Stretton
Thomas P. Sleath
James G Stretton
Arranged by J.G.H . Brown formed The Nottingham Spiritual Circle in Sneinton, at J.G.H. Browns home.
This is what J.Barrett wrote of J.G.H. Brown quoted from Nottingham Guardian Journal
“These men who formed the first circle I have been able to trace in the history of Spiritualism in England, Nottingham should be proud to know it was not only the first place to have a Lyceum, but to have the first spiritual circle as well. Mr Brown was a poor man, I sometimes think we have allowed his name to drop out of the history and movement [of spiritualism]. When the history is written as it will be one day, I hope they will not forgot to mention J.G.H. Brown the medium who started the first circle on our shores. Who body was buried in a paupers grave [in Nottingham].Nottingham is indeed the centre and the beginning home of Spiritualism in this country. A fact not noted in the history books, but is the truth. It is most likely that the truth he was not rich or had status in society of the time that time forgot who was J.G.H. Brown Hopefully now you will not. J.G.H. Brown should be proud of the movement and how it has progressed to the modern day, with the amount of followers and people interested, despite that now its not really about spiritualism / connecting with spirit and thus provide proof to the human race that the spiritual body of an individual does survive in the form of a consciousness after physical death. Unfortunately it has become more about keeping it at the level it is, bantering between methodologies, belief systems and making commercial profit. There are those out there, who do seek to discover the truth of spirit, in a way that it is respectful and with pure intention.
Author Kristian Lander.
Resources – Nottingham Central/City Library local studies library, The Two Worlds – J.Barrett, Nottingham Guardian Journal, Wikipedia.