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Beloved is a ghost story, the tale of the dead returned to haunt the living. The story comes complete with a haunted house, strange lights, scents and sounds, and an animal that can sense the presence of the supernatural. We know of the shattering mirrors, the tiny handprints appearing in the cake, the kettleful of chickpeas on the floor, "the outrageous behavior of that place . . . turned-over slop jars, smacks on the behind, and gusts of …

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…theirs all along. In the end, the kind of new religious authority given through spiritualism to 19th century Anglo women is appropriated and historicized as an inherent,empowering force for African-American women. What had been "Anglicized" is returned and re-valued. In a novel ultimately concerned with death, gender, memory, history and power, spiritualism and its original rootedness in African belief serve as a rich foundation from which Morrison builds a truly historic work of fiction.