The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary
Beginning in 1870, the hunger for scientific discovery in Great Britain drove prominent scientists, philosophers and others to promote the legitimacy of telepathy. At the same time, mind-reading as a form of entertainment gained increasing popularity as persuasive performers like John Randall Brown, W.I. Bishop, and Stuart C. Cumberland convinced reporters that they truly could read the thoughts of others. The widely publicized, sometimes bizarre, interactions between scientists and these charlatans ushered in the Thought Reader Craze, a period that lasted through about 1910 and saw entertainers make and lose fortunes and scientists make and lose reputations. This volume explores this unusual cultural phenomenon, showing how it was aided through the years by public scientific pronouncements, astonishing performances by the thought readers, and the rapidly changing industrial society.
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1 Introduction and Mrs Hayden
2 The Borderland
3 Crookes and DD Home
4 The First Thought Reader
5 The Crookes Galvanometer Tests
6 Muscle Reading?
7 WI Bishop and WF Barrett
14 WI Bishop and The Secret
15 The Thought Reader Craze
16 The Willingness to Deceive
17 The Conjuror and the Physicist Devant and Lodge
18 The Blackburn Revelations
19 Truth or Hunger
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accordion Annie Eva Fay Annie’s appeared asked audience Barrett Blackburn Blackburn and Smith blindfolded Boston Brighton British Carpenter claimed committee Creery Crichton-Browne curtain D.D. Home Darwin Dean’s Yard December demonstrations described Devant Donkin Douglas Blackburn Edmund Gurney envelope experiments exposing Florence Cook Frank Podmore fraud G.A. Smith Galton galvanometer Gazette Gimingham Gurney and Myers Hall hand Hayden Henri Labouchère Henry Home’s Huggins investigation Irving Bishop John Tyndall Labouchère later letter London magician Maskelyne medium mediumship mental mesmeric mind reading never Newcomb object observers Pall Mall Gazette paper percipient performance person phenomena powers present Professor prominent PSPR Psychical Research published Randall Brown raps reader reporter scientific scientist séance second sight Sidgewick Simon Newcomb spirit Spiritualist Stuart Cumberland successful telepathy thought reading thought transference tricks Tyndall W.I. Bishop Washington Irving William Crookes wire writing wrote York