By Frank Podmore
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:March 2012
Original Publication Year:1894
Subjects: History of Ideas and Intellectual History
Frank Podmore (1856–1910) was a paranormal researcher and socialist who co-founded the Fabian Society. He became interested in spiritualism while studying at Oxford and joined the Society for Psychical Research. Forced to leave his employment at the Post Office amid rumours of a homosexual scandal, Podmore was later found drowned in suspicious circumstances. This 1894 volume is a detailed and comprehensive study of a variety of unexplained phenomena. The author reviews numerous scientific tests of telepathic ability involving the transmission of thoughts, tastes and images (illustrated by reproduction of sketches purportedly sent between psychics). Also reported are researches into clairvoyance, automatic writing and even attempts to induce sleep using telepathy. The author explores a variety of rational explanations for the phenomena, including fraud and the influence of hypnosis and suggestibility. Diligent and carefully argued, Podmore's examination of the scientific study of the supernatural is also colourful and enthralling.