Guest Post: Robert Hare, the Spiritoscope, and Playfulness in Science. By Simone Natale

Simone Natale is a Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University, United Kingdom. He is the author of Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture, published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2016. You can follow him on Twitter and One of the peculiarities of spiritualism, a religious … Read more

Are you Afraid of the Dark?

Last year I was approached by psychotherapist Nick Totton to contribute an article to a special issue on the ‘occult’, which Totton was about to edit for the European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling. As far as I can tell, my essay will be the only one written by a historian, while all other contributions … Read more

Happy Birthday, SPR!

Today is the birthday of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the oldest substantial association founded to investigate in a radical empirical spirit the contested phenomena of animal magnetism and spiritualism. Inaugurated on 20th February 1882, the still existing SPR is now 134 years old. To historians of science and medicine, the Society’s history offers … Read more

Do you believe in magic?

Excellent comments from the alter ego of the fell HISTSCI_HULK about a recent post regarding some early modern scientific icons and ‘magic’:

Free Access to Studies in History and Philosophy of Science C Special Section, “Psychical Research in the History of Science and Medicine”

I’m delighted to announce that the special section on psychical research, which I had the pleasure of guest-editing for Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, is now available in its final version for download on the journal website. I’m particularly pleased there is free access to each article till 7th … Read more

William James: “Telepathy” in Johnson’s Universal Cyclopædia (1899)

Though William James is now mostly remembered as a philosopher, he was one of two ‘founding fathers’ of modern professionalized psychology. While his German counterpart, Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig, dismissed empirical approaches to reported psychic phenomena and spiritualism, James on the contrary sought to make the study of unorthodox phenomena a legitimate part of nascent … Read more

Deathbed Visions in the Journal ‘History of Psychiatry’

On a recent article published in History of Psychiatry by historian of psychical research Carlos Alvarado. For the original article, see

Francis Bacon Reloaded

Three days ago we celebrated the birthday of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who is commonly considered as a pioneer of modern inductive science. Here are a few quotes from his writings which may have a strange ring to modern ears – particularly to those accustomed to the popular myth of Bacon as a precursor of secularism … Read more

Halloween Special: C. G. Jung’s Spine-Chilling Nights in a ‘Haunted House’

The following excerpts are from a report originally contributed by Carl Gustav Jung to Spuk. Irrglaube oder Wahrglaube? (chapter 5, Baden: Gyr, 1950), a study of hauntings and poltergeist cases by the zoologist Fanny Moser (1872-1953). The below is extracted from C. G. Jung, Psychology and the Occult (London: Routledge, 1982, pp. 174-183; I’m grateful … Read more

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