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The In-Betweens

The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna

by Mira Ptacin

The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin X
The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin
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  • Jennie R. (Highland, CA)
    Very informative!
    Before reading 'The In-Betweens' I knew very little about Spiritualism and its history. I didn't even realize mediums had an organized 'religion' complete with churches. I very much enjoyed the education provided by this informative and unbiased book, and extend my thanks to Ms. Ptacin for writing it. I think anyone with an open mind and even a modicum of curiosity will enjoy it as well. The author shows a great level of respect and openness toward the members of Camp Etna, and it's mirrored back to her in the way the mediums accept her and openly answer her questions, even try to educate her in their ways. This book would likely generate a lively and interesting discussion in a book club, so I'm considering recommending to my group.
  • Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
    The In-Betweens
    The In-Betweens by Mira Ptacin is a textbook on the many facets of spirituality and the 140-year history of Camp Etna, Maine. Ms. Ptacin went to the source to meet spiritualists and explore Camp Etna; she immersed herself in the study of spiritualism by actually living at Camp Etna. In the beginning of the book, Ms. Ptacin seemed dissatisfied, not with her family, but in finding a meaning to life. This was something different; a deeply personal search to discover herself. She mentioned she was raised a Catholic but didn't like formal religion. I think she found what she was looking for by immersing herself in spiritualism.

    The In-Betweens is a book of a nontraditional religion which was full of tradition, hierarchy, and colorful characters whom you personally meet in the pages of this book: from the Fox Sisters who made Camp Etna, to spiritualists, mediums - both physical and mental, table tippers, psychics, ghost hunters, dowsers, transfigurationists, readers, and many more.

    The In-Betweens is a great source for the reader who has always wanted a comprehensive study on spiritualists and spiritualism.
  • Carole P. (Framingham, MA)
    The In-Betweens
    Spiritualists, mediums and communicating with the dead. All subjects I have been intrigued by and believe in. While there are many books on these subjects, some are dry and seem more like a textbook than anything else. Or they are filled with photos of " spirits". Mira Ptacin has written a book that flows. Yes it is fascinating, whether you believe or not. Spiritualism has been around a long time, but really took hold in this country in the mid 1800s. It is still going strong today. The first case of note took place in 1848 when two sisters communicated with spirits. Camp Etna was created in the 1870s in Maine. When Ms Ptacin was given free access to the camp, she interviewed participants, read historical papers and books on the subject and participated herself.

    I loved the everything about this book. The subject is fascinating. The writing is readable , giving you an understanding of a complex subject. If you are already a believer this will support all those beliefs. If not, well it may make one of you. In my life I have met several spirits. When I have talked about it, I find people with their own stories. Most of us keep it quiet. Thank you Mira for encouraging us not to.
  • Nancy H. (Foster City, CA)
    History meets personal quest
    Would you be comforted or frightened to learn that after leaving this life, the spirit of a loved one still exists and can still communicate with you? Believers in the religion of Spiritualism believe this is possible. Author Mira Ptacin explains some of the history of Spiritualism in the U.S., using the specifics of formerly glorious Camp Etna, Maine to provide context and explain their beliefs and how a number of mediums experience the world and hope to use their special abilities to help others. The many distinctions she draws are quite interesting and gave a good basic understanding of the variety of practices the members seek to develop in their effort to refine their special abilities.

    Throughout most of the book I had the feeling that the author was hoping to make discoveries that would be of value to her personal journey - beyond just authoring a book. She seemed conflicted about what to believe and what to refuse; what to take heart from and what to scorn. Every time she made a catty little aside about someone's appearance, I was taken aback - not sure what those comments were supposed to add.

    Near the end, she also describes her experiences while attending the annual Attean Family Powwow and describes similarities between gatherings of Spiritualists and First Nations People.

    In years to come, it would be very interesting to hear the author discuss how her conclusions develop and change over the next few years as she becomes more comfortable with her experiences.
  • Patricia E. (Sugarcreek, OH)
    Unusual Community Revealed
    In this fascinating book about a Spiritualist Camp in Maine named Camp Etna, the author allows the reader to see the residents—past and present—as normal people with special abilities. Some of the people she interviews embrace their gifts and others do no. Each one, though, believes that his or her (mostly "her") talent is real and is intended to be used for the benefit of others. As the reader learns in the book, the author has a personal history that causes her interest in the subject—another fascinating element.
    I enjoyed the book, especially the interactions between the camp residents and the author who comes to Camp Etna with an open mind and a willingness to participate and learn. Where the book bogs down for me is in the history of Spiritualism in the U.S. and Europe. If this is your first book about the Spiritualist movement, I think you would appreciate the history, but for me, these parts were an interruption to an otherwise attention-grabbing and very well written book.
  • Amy E. (Delaware, OH)
    Informative and thought provoking.
    "But the truth to me is that we are God watching God." Mira gives us this thought provoking comment near the end of "The In-Betweens." Prior to that she presents a very readable history of the development of Spiritualism in America then takes us on a journey of her experiences at Camp Etna. I really enjoyed the book and her description of the service she attended was very true to my memories of the service I attended at the Spiritualist Camp at Wooley Park in Ashley, Ohio. Some things you never forget.
    My one criticism of the book would be that the map of Camp Etna did not occur until Chapter 7 and it was much too small to be helpful in relating to the author's experiences.
    A good read!
  • Evelyn G. (Union, NJ)
    Insights into Spiritualism in America
    I really greatly enjoyed reading this book about the unusual subject of Spiritualism and how it began and evolved in our country starting in the mid 1840's and became a platform for women to have a heard voice . The author, Mira Ptacin, did a great deal of homework and research and writes very informatively on her subject. She covers the early beginnings, when two farm girls in upstate New York had strange tapping sounds around them and claimed a spirit, Mr. Splitfoot, was giving them messages from the "other side". The book continues with the author's experience with various psychics and mediums and explores how Spiritualism allowed women psychics to speak publicly without social censure for the first time. It was fascinating to learn that Houdini himself, went about trying to debunk the validity of Spiritualism and died exactly on Halloween as predicted by a frustrated medium, Margery, who put a curse on him for pursuing her as a false pretender. I would recommend this to anyone who wanted an information and entertaining read.
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