Societies worldwide changed dramatically and often to extremes during the Victorian era. So did belief systems, as all religions and spiritual beliefs saw a revival, renewed impetus, or introduction.
Spiritualism took hold with ball-and-claw effect. The popularity of Victorian séances directly corresponds to the advent of the Spiritualists.
To be fair, any number of upstart religions were categorized as occult groups. Included were Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists and a number of Pentacostal offshoot groups that valued techniques once reserved for use in Dark Ages black enshrouded castle wings where crystal balls perched amidst blood-traced pentacles.
On the upside, communication with angelics reached mainstream levels, and any paranormal experience began to be viewed in that context. Fascination replaced fear, and proper Victorians could indulge in theosophical analysis of any new occult-relegated movement or discovery.
Whether a Victorian was espying a Puck or Pan, or stumbling into an abandoned Druid sacred grove rift with trapdoors and underground tunnels hiding magic tricks with smoke and mirrors meant to deter intruders…
Victorians enjoyed tales of the occult — imaginery or not.
Watch for part III on Victorian occult….