Response Paper: Kirkland and Mrs. Patten’s Spirituality In Chapter IV, of his autobiography, Christopher Kirkland talked at length of spirituality (although the somewhat stranger kind) through two of the most colorful characters of his narrative, Mrs. Pratten and Althea Cartwright. Both of these women swore to remaining unwed for different reasons. And having been devoid of marital preoccupation, they turned their fancies and attention to their spiritual "enlightenment". Mrs. Pratten, for instance, progressed from being an adherent of conventional religion to one who, finally, have conversed with spirits, Moses included. Kirkland identified Occult Buddhism and Theosophy, among numerous others in her forays in mysticism. Althea, her niece also imbibed the same points of view, having displayed particular interest on reincarnation.
The "spiritualism" theme, however explored in this particular chapter has been superficial and marred by distortions since it was guided by human convenience and a certain degree of selfishness. To put it another way, both of the women mentioned used spiritualism in order to rationalize their existence. Althea was content, for example, to live her desires in her supposed past lives, having been forced to spurn marriage or deep personal attachment with men lest she lose her inheritance. Based on their prejudices, fears and objectives, they found and twisted religion or whatever they saw with the occult or with the spirits in order to justify their identities and way of life. Had their bouts with mysticism been driven by some desire to elevate oneself into a better person or acquire knowledge or some spiritual truth, it would have been the truer kind. But theirs became phony and cannot be differentiated from the manner by which they hold parties in order to amuse themselves.