Despite the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ advances in science, people continued to enjoy a variety of world views. This time period experienced an extraordinary rise in spiritualism and faith healing, with some practitioners becoming famous throughout the country. Andrew Jackson Davis had large numbers of dedicated followers who bought his book, The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations and a Voice to Mankind. Davis was so popular that he appeared before the Senate to gain official sanction and support for his methods of healing. (He did not succeed.)
Many other healing cults arose, including that of George O. Barnes, who was popular mainly in Kentucky. He believed that the devil caused disease, and could be counteracted through anointment with oil and religious invocation. Francis Schlatter was another healer who grew so famous that at times four or five thousand people formed a line in front of his house, waiting for the opportunity to touch him. Phineas Quimby used a type of hypnotism to effect his cures, and they apparently worked at times. His system led to a “healthymindedness” philosophy based on positive thinking about health and the person’s control over disease. In turn, Quimby influenced Mary Baker Eddy, who ultimately laid out the principles of Christian Science.