One of the earliest books on the subject of communication amongst deceased persons was Communication with the Other Side by George, First Baron Lyttelton, published in England in 1760. Among the notable spirits quoted in this volume are; Peter the Great, Pericles, a "North-American Savage," William Penn, and Christina, Queen of Sweden. The popularity of séances grew dramatically with the founding of the religion of Spiritualism in the mid-nineteenth century. Perhaps the best-known series of séances conducted at that time were those of Mary Todd Lincoln who, grieving the loss of her son, organized Spiritualist séances in the White House, which were attended by her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, and other prominent members of society. The 1887 Seybert Commission report marred the credibility of Spiritualism at the height of its popularity by publishing exposures of fraud and showmanship among secular séance leaders. Modern séances continue to be a part of the religious services of Spiritualist, Spirits, and Espiritismo churches today, where a greater emphasis is placed on spiritual values versus showmanship.
**Information from Wikipedia.com**