Channeling Poor Richard


Rob MacDougall has an interesting and hilarious post on nineteenth-century spiritualists channeling the wit and wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. Yet another example of how Franklin managed to hang around in American culture long after his death. Here’s an excerpt:

A chat with Franklin was to spiritualism what “My Way” is to karaoke. From beyond the grave, Franklin transmitted messages to and from dead loved ones, spoke out for women’s suffrage and against slavery (as did the shades of Washington and Jefferson, claiming posthumous conversion to the cause), and lectured on magnetism and balloons. Dead Franklin apparently kept himself busy in the afterlife—he often provided his living correspondents with descriptions of new inventions: a machine for weaving nets, another for riving shingles, or a self-adjusting, inside-fastening window blind. Makes you wonder what slackers like Dead Isaac Newton and Dead Leonardo da Vinci had been up to all those centuries.

This is great stuff. See his follow-up post at Cliopatria