DSC_0117This is the blog of Dr. Andreas Sommer. I’m a historian working on the interrelations of the sciences and the occult. My doctoral thesis (University College London, 2013) reconstructed the links between psychical research and psychology in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and won a prize from the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and Technology. I held research posts at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Churchill College, University of Cambridge, and have published various essays in the history of science and medicine.

I’m currently working on my first book, which updates and revises my doctoral work by reconstructing the close entanglement of the ‘spooky’ side of science and modern psychology during the latter’s infancy, to be published by Stanford University Press.

I was also a history advisor for the upcoming BBC drama, The Living and The Dead.

Follow me on Twitter: @Sommer_HPS

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Journal articles

  • (2016). Are you afraid of the dark? Notes on the psychology of belief in histories of science and the occult. European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 18, 105-122 [PDF link].
  • (2015, with Pascal Le Maléfan). Léon Marillier and the veridical hallucination in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century French psychology and psychopathology. History of Psychiatry, 26, 418-432 [PDF link].
  • (2014). Psychical research in the history and philosophy of science. An introduction and review. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 48, 38-45 [PDF link].
  • (2013). Normalizing the supernormal: The formation of the ‘Gesellschaft für Psychologische Forschung’ (‘Society for Psychological Research’), c. 1886–1890. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 49, 18–44 [PDF link].
  • (2012). Psychical research and the origins of American psychology: Hugo Münsterberg, William James and Eusapia Palladino. History of the Human Sciences, 25, 23–44 [PDF link].
  • (2012). Policing epistemic deviance: Albert von Schrenck-Notzing and Albert Moll. Medical History, 56, 255–276 [PDF link].
  • (2011). Professional heresy: Edmund Gurney (1847–1888) and the study of hallucinations and hypnotism. Medical History, 55, 383–388 [PDF link].

Edited journal special section

Book chapters

  • (2013). Spiritualism and the origins of modern psychology in late nineteenth-century Germany. The Wundt-Zöllner debate. In C. M. Moreman (Ed.), The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World (Vol. 1, pp. 55-72). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
  • (with Niko Kohls, 2006). Die akademische Psychologie am Scheideweg: Positivistische Experimentalpsychologie und die Nemesis der Transzendenz. In A. Büssing, Ostermann, T. Glöckler, M., Matthiesen, P.F. (Ed.), Spiritualität, Krankheit und Heilung – Bedeutung und Ausdrucksformen der Spiritualität in der Medizin (pp. 183-217). Frankfurt a.M.: Verlag für Akademische Schriften.

Book reviews

  • (2015). Peter Lamont, Extraordinary Beliefs: A Historical Approach to a Psychological Problem. British Journal for the History of Science, 48, 707-708.
  • (2012). M. Brady Brower, Unruly Spirits. The Science of Psychic Phenomena in Modern France. Social History of Medicine, 25, 247–248.
  • (2011). Trevor Hamilton, Immortal Longings. F.W.H. Myers and the Victorian Search for Life after Death. Medical History, 55, 433–435.
  • (2011). Heather Wolffram, The Stepchildren of Science. British Journal for the History of Science, 44, 144–146.
  • (2011). Stefan Schweizer, Anthropologie der Romantik. History of Psychiatry, 22, 369–370.



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