Spiritism: According to the 1997 Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year, there were 10,292,500 adherents of "Spiritism" in the world. But a recent census from Brazil indicates 15 million professed spiritists (practitioners of Umbanda, for instance), as well as a fringe following (not officially professed, but possibly quite avid) of up to 50 million. The boundaries between Spiritism and other categories, especially Christianity (especially Catholic and Baptist), Yoruba religion and primal-indigenous religions, can be quite uncertain.
The fundamental principles of Spiritism, enunciated by Allan Kardec in his seminal work The Spirits Book, are: (i) A belief in the existence of spirits - non-physical beings that live in the invisible or spirit world - and (ii) the possibility of communication between these spirits and living people through mediumship. There is a clear difference, according to Kardec, between the terms "Spiritism" and "Spiritualism"; the latter is the "opposite of materialism", a belief that "there is something...more than matter" but it does not necessarily follow that a spiritualist "believes in the existence of spirits, or in their communication with the visible world."
This little abstract was done late last night- I had been into some spirits of my own...(: