William James and the American Society for Psychical Research, 1884-9

Thanks to a travel grant from the British Society for the History of Science (BSHS) I was able to present a paper at this year’s British-North American Joint Meeting of the BSHS, CSHPS, and HSS in Canada. The presentation distilled a small part of a chapter in my forthcoming study on the formation of modern … Read more

Can Psychotherapists Benefit from History of Science Scholarship? Open Access to my Article on the Psychology of Belief in Histories of Science and the Occult

Historians rarely have the opportunity to say something that might be of practical relevance to clinicians or workers in other fields of applied scientific knowledge. As mentioned previously, I was therefore particularly chuffed when psychotherapist Nick Totton invited me last year to contribute an article to an envisaged special issue of the European Journal of … Read more

Fresh off the Press: Léon Marillier and the Veridical or Telepathic Hallucination in France

I’m pleased to see my joint article on telepathic hallucinations in French psychology and psychiatry with Pascal Le Maléfan came out today in the journal History of Psychiatry. Le Maléfan, P., & Sommer, A. (2015). Léon Marillier and the veridical hallucination in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century French psychology and psychopathology. History of Psychiatry, 26, 418-432. … Read more

Carl Gustav Jung and the Clairvoyant, Mrs. Fäßler

The investigation of ‘occult’ phenomena associated with spiritualism and mesmerism occupied the minds of psychologists much more than this has been reflected in standard histories of modern psychology. From Gustav Theodor Fechner and William James to Théodore Flournoy and Hans Eysenck, many prominent psychologists were not only interested in the psychodynamics of altered states of … Read more

One Year of ‘Forbidden Histories’

It was precisely a year ago that I entered the world of history of science blogging by launching ‘Forbidden Histories’. (Incidentally, my first title choice – ‘Hidden Histories’– was already taken, and somewhat reluctantly I decided to go with the more melodramatic-sounding name.) One year later, I’m still not sufficiently blogosphere-savvy to understand what exactly … Read more

Seventh Article from Upcoming SHPSC Special Issue on Psychical Research: Enrico Morselli and the Medium Eusapia Palladino

The penultimate pre-print article from the soon to be published Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences special issue on psychical research is now online. Maria Teresa Brancaccio explores and contextualises a hitherto underresearched episode in the history of modern Italian psychology, i.e. the preoccupation of one of its leading early representatives … Read more

William James on Exceptional Mental States

Eugene Taylor, whose death in January 2013 was a heavy blow to history of psychology and William James scholarship, was one of the few modern historians to fully acknowledge and try to make sense of James’s by no means casual occupation with spiritualism, telepathy and other unorthodox areas of inquiry. The main fruits of Taylor’s … Read more

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