Our meeting at The Pig in Paradise attracted a good attendance, including four first-timers, who were most welcome. We began with an outline of spiritualism, as detailed below, but our following discussions ranged more widely, and mainly followed the questions of two of our new contributors, one of whom admitted to being a christian. We were also asked to give some definition of humanism. The new venue proved to be too noisy, even though we were in a back room, so we will continue to look for a more congenial home.
The topic of the night was Spiritualism, a subject prompted by the promotion of "An Evening of Clairvoyance" by the local newspaper group, featuring Stephen Holbrook who claims to be able to connect with spirits of the dead. This event has an expensive half-page size advert in this week's Hastings Observer and on page 39 an article about Holbrook which admits that "Stephen is being promoted all over the country by the UK's two largest newspaper groups". One of these is Johnston Press which owns the local T. R. Beckett company. Ownership of local papers in the UK is now in the hands of just a few Regional newspaper groups. I'm not sure which is the other group referred to, possibly Newsquest (which in turn is owned by a US corporation, Gannett).
The following article from another regional newspaper on Why a Spiritual Church gives an introduction to what spiritualists believe, and even describes hot and cold reading, which are the methods mainly used by fraudulent mediums to produce their effects, but of course they then claim that "real" mediums don't do this.
An indication of what Holbrook does at his shows is given in this article from another regional paper. There is also a video interview available on the Grantham Journal pages. I have not determined why these newspaper groups are promoting spiritualism. Presumably either some directors of these companies are spiritualists, or it is just a commercial venture.