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Sargent, Epes (1813-1880)

Sargent, Epes (1813-1880)

Well-known American author, editor, and psychical investigator. He was born on September 27, 1813, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1829 and joined the editorial staff of the Boston Daily Advertiser. He subsequently worked for the Daily Atlas as its Washington correspondent. He wrote two plays, The Bride of Genoa and Velasco, which led to a move to New York City, where he worked as a journalist, founding the short-lived Sargent's New Monthly Magazine (January-June 1843). He also published a biography of Henry Clay (1842) and a popular novel Fleetwood, or the Stain of Birth (1845).

Returning to Boston, he edited the Boston Transcript (1847-1853) and published his own works, including two volumes of verse, the song "A Life on the Ocean Wave," The Woman Who Dared (1870), and a number of widely used textbooks for schools.

His attention was drawn to mesmerism as it emerged in New England around 1837. He studied the subject and soon became convinced clairvoyance and thought-reading were actually occurring. When the phenomena at Hydesville broke out, he was editing the Boston Transcript and did much to direct public attention to the problem.

This life-long interest resulted in a set of books during his mature years beginning with Planchette; or, The Despair of Science (1869). He wrote extensively on the subject of Spiritualism. He died in Boston on December 30, 1880.


Sargent, Epes. Planchette; or, The Despair of Science. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1869.

. The Proof Palpable of Immortality. Boston: Colby & Rich, 1881. Reprint, Boston: Banner of Light Publishing, 1901.

. The Scientific Basis of Spiritualism. Rev. ed. Boston: Banner of Light Publishing, 1891.

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