(1826–1910), known as the “Poughkeepsie Seer,” after a shiftless childhood fell under the influence of a mesmerist, who found him to be an ideal subject. In 1845, with his own hypnotist and reporter, Davis began a series of lectures delivered ostensibly in states of trance. From the verbatim reports he compiled his Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and A Voice to Mankind (1847), a mixture of mysticism, philosophy, science, and occult history, which seems to have influenced Poe's Eureka and Chivers's Search After Truth. His transition from mesmerism to spiritualism is shown in The Great Harmonia (1850) and 26 subsequent works.
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.