Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DAVIS, Andrew Jackson, spiritualist, born in Orange County, New York, 11 August 1826. His youth was passed in hard labor, and with little education, owing to the extreme poverty of his parents. In 1843 Mr. Levington, of Poughkeepsie, is said to have developed in him extraordinary clairvoyant powers. Although quite uninstructed, it was said that he was able to discourse fluently upon medical, psychological, and general subjects. On 7 March 1844, he fell into a trance, which lasted sixteen hours, during which time he asserts he conversed with spiritual beings and received instructions as to his future teaching from the interior state. In November 1845, while clairvoyant, he dictated to the Rev. William Fishbough, in New York, his first work, "The Principles of Nature, her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind."
This book presents a wide range of subjects, and rejects any especial authority in the teachings of the Bible. Mr. Davis has been more successful as a writer than as a lecturer, and has been principally instrumental in promoting the movement of "Spiritualism." The philosophical and theological portions of his remaining works are regarded as little more than repetitions of his first book, interspersed with startling assertions concerning things in heaven and earth which admit of no verification. These works are "The Great Harmonia" (6 vols., New York, 1850'61); " Philosophy of Spiritual Intercourse" (1851): "The Present Age and Inner Life," a sequel (1854; 2d ed., Boston, 1870); "The Approaching Crisis," a review of Dr. Bushnell on Spiritualism (New York, 1852); "The Penetralia" (Boston, 1856);" The Magic Staff" an autobiography (New York, 1857); "The Harbinger of Health" (1862); "Appetites and Passions" (Boston, 1863); "The World's True Redeemer" (1863): "Principles of Nature" (2d ed., 1863); "Morning Lectures" (1865); "Tale of a Physician" (1867); "Stellar Key to the Summer Land" (1867); "Arabula, or the Divine Guest" (1867); " Memoranda of Persons Places, and Events" (1868); "The Fountain, with New Jets of Meaning" (1870); and "Mental Diseases and Disorders of the Brain" (New York, 1871).
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