Vicksburg MI- Hub of Spiritualist Movement for Sixty Years
In the beginning of the 20th century, posh America became fascinated with the occult. Considered taboo in some circles for flying in the face of a good Christian upbringing, questioning what was on the "other side" and whether or not we could communicate with the dead became society's obsession. All things mystical were celebrated. Psychics and mediums were the rock stars of the day. And this wasn't just happening in big metropolises like New York and Chicago. There were spiritualist movements everywhere. Even in Vicksburg, Michigan.
Just south of Vicksburg, Fraser's Grove campground was a hub of the spiritualist community beginning in 1884. According to Vicksburg's Historical website, an article entitled Voices from the Great Beyond: Spiritualism in SW MI from the Kalamazoo Valley Museum stated, quote, "At seances in pitch-black rooms darkened by quilts hung over the curtains, folks seated in a circle were mesmerized by a medium. Participants went home either satisfied or with the distinct impression that fakery was afoot."
According to an article from South County News, is was local Jeannette Fraser who began the fad in Vicksburg. The precursor to modern day conventions were described as "as many as 1,500 people would descend on the campgrounds. There would be parades through downtown, ice cream, music and dancing. No smoking or drinking was allowed; Fraser believed in many of the tenets of the Quakers." So no drinking and no drugs, but communing with the dead and spectral photography were A-Ok in the day? Whatever floats your ghost.
Fraser's Grove would continue to be a Midwest destination for spiritualists from around the country for the next sixty years until residents began building housing on the property in the 1950s.