What is spiritualism? It's the belief that the living can communicate with the dead, and its golden age was likely the 19th century. Many of the modern trappings of spiritualism come from this era, from Tarot cards to Ouija boards to psychic shops. But Victorian spiritualism encompassed plenty of odd practices that fell out of popularity, including seances and spirit photography. Hosting parties to commune with spirits was quite fashionable in some circles.
Throughout the Victorian Age, there was a marked movement away from standardized religions and a greater respect for death. Death photography, formalized mourning, and even particular forms of cemetery symbolism all flourished. It is no wonder that belief in the occult in the Victorian Era skyrocketed, and that the spiritualist movement became forever associated with this time in the past.