Séance Robe of Spiritualist Louise Parke
Louise Parke was a Wisconsin spiritualist, conducting séances to communicate with the dead from 1895-1905. Though no one knows why, Louise wore this bizarre homemade robe and hood during her sessions.
Louise was the daughter of prominent Madison doctor and clairvoyant George P. Kingsley, who was known for his ability to heal. Of his skills, a newspaper article said Dr. Kingsley’s “magnetic power is great and he uses it to alleviate the pain and distress of others.”
Louise considered herself a medium, believing her spirit contact was the American Indian Black Hawk.
There were several hotspots for Spiritualism in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, the Fox Valley area and Madison. Today the Morris Pratt Institute remains the only spiritualist college in the United States. A spiritualist camp in Wonewoc, Wisconsin still stands today.
Today Louise Parke’s robe is in the possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society.