Crosland, Camilla (1812-1895)

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Crosland, Camilla (1812-1895)

Well-known author who, under her maiden name, Camilla Toulmin, became one of the early champions of Spiritualism in England. She was born in London on June 9, 1812, the daughter of a solicitor. Her father died when she was eight, leaving the family impoverished. Camilla's education was most-ly the result of private study. During the 1850s a constant guest of her house, a young lady, was discovered as the possessor of remarkable mediumistic powers. Three years of investigation brought conviction of survival to both Camilla and her husband. In 1856 Newton Crosland published a small book entitled Apparitions. This was followed in 1857 by the more important work of Camilla's, Light in the Valley: My Experiences in Spiritualism. Because of strong public prejudice against the new Spiritualist ideas filtering into the country at the time, the Croslands suffered both financially and socially for publishing their opinions. As a result, however, several people, including Robert Chambers, Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, and Mary and William Howitt, came to investigate. They all became convinced of the genuineness of the manifestations. Michael Faraday was invited to test his unconscious muscular action theory regarding table movement, but he sent John Tyndall instead. In Fragments of Science for Unscientific People (1871) Tyndall published a derisive account of the sitting.

Crosland went on to write a number of books. In her last work, Landmarks of a Literary Life (1893), she devoted a chapter to the bold defense and elucidation of Spiritualism. She died in East Dulwich, England, on February 16, 1895.


Crosland, Newton. Apparitions. N.p., 1957.

Toulmin [Crosland], Camilla. Light in the Valley: My Experiences in Spiritualism. London; New York: G. Routledge & Co., 1957.

Tyndall, John. Fragments of Science for Unscientific People. New York: Appleton, 1872.

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Crosland, Camilla (1812-1895)

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