John Murray Spear’s God Machine

From the Fortean Times:

October 1853, on a hilltop in Lynn, Massachusetts, a group assembled to create the New Messiah. They had not come to pray or to praise God: they were actually going to build Him out of metal and wood under the supervision of spirits. When the body was complete, they believed it would be infused with life to revolutionise the world and raise mankind to an exalted level of spiritual development.

The spirits gave their instructions through John Murray Spear, a former minister of the Universalist church and recent convert to spiritualism. Born in Boston in 1804 and baptised by his namesake John Murray (the founder of the American branch of the Universalist church), Spear has been described as a “gentle, kindly, ingenuous” man who possessed a beautiful simplicity and an idiosyncratic mind 1.