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Periodical: The Liberator

Summary:   From Pat Deveney's database:

The Truth Shall Make You Free
Other titles: Garrison's Liberator
1898–1899 Semimonthly, then monthly
San Francisco, CA. Publisher: Bishop Simpson Garrison. Editor: Julia Schlesinger.
1/1, 1898. 8-12 pp., 10 1/2 x 13 1/2. $1.00 a year. With 1/8, January 1899, the journal began to be issued monthly and was entitled Garrison's Liberator.

The journal was put out by Mrs. Schlesinger (the long-time editor of Carrier Dove) after she separated from her husband, a famous test-medium. Its purpose as announced was to prove that "most if not all" the phenomena produced by mediums, particularly on the West Coast at the time, were fraudulent. She claimed that she had long had her doubts about some of the phenomena of the movement and that, beginning in late 1897, she had sought out and participated in the endeavors of the fraudulent mediums to discover their tricks and expose them. When queried in the press about whether her husband's seances were part of this fraudulent enterprise, she "declined to express herself concerning the methods of her husband"--a refusal that speaks volumes about her reasons for starting the journal and her relationship with her medium husband. The publisher, Bishop Garrison, had been part of this enterprise until he was brought around by Mrs. Schlesinger, confessing his errors at length in the pages of the journal. He claimed that the journal's name reflected that of his great-uncle William Lloyd Garrison's earlier anti-slavery journal. The journal is a gold mine of information on the mediums of the West Coast and their various wiles at the time, and its exposes attracted the enmity of most of the spiritualist organizations of California, including the Philosophical Journal, the rump of the Religio-Philosophical Journal, which accused Schlesinger of envy and blackmail. The journal stressed that its revelations were not in any way intended to destroy true spiritualism, but rather to purify it of extraneous elements that had crept into it--a claim frequently made in the preceding decades by other debunking journals. "Spiritualism cannot be 'exposed' by any one. There is nothing concealed about it consequently nothing to expose or uncover. Spiritualism per se is simply a belief in a future life, and the possibility of communication with the so-called dead. [But] there are those who would block the wheels of progress and check its career of usefulness by covering it over with the slime of fraud, pretense, and hypocrisy . . . ." The most prominent voice raised in support of Schlesinger's crusade was that of W.E. Coleman, whose contributions regularly appeared in the journal, and support for the cause was expressed by J.M. Peebles, J.C.F. Grumbine, Lois Waisbrooker, and others. The journal appears to have been an ad hoc affair, begun to expose certain fraudulent mediums, and by the last surviving issue (January 1899) was reduced to filling out its pages with articles of general interest. It must have expired shortly thereafter. LOC.

Schlesinger had previously edited The Carrier Dove, The Pacific Coast Spiritualist and The Gleaner. The periodical includes important articles by William Emmette Coleman.

Issues:Liberator V1 N1 September 1 1898
Liberator V1 N2 September 15 1898
Liberator V1 N3 October 1 1898
Liberator V1 N4 October 15 1898 (missing)
Liberator V1 N5 November 1 1898 (partial)
Liberator V1 N6 November 15 1898
Liberator V1 N7 December 15 1898
Liberator V1 N8 January 1899

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