The Thought Reader Craze: Victorian Science at the Enchanted Boundary

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McFarland, Oct 6, 2012 - Body, Mind & Spirit - 238 pages
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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Contents

Prologue
1
1 Introduction and Mrs Hayden
9
2 The Borderland
17
3 Crookes and DD Home
24
4 The First Thought Reader
38
5 The Crookes Galvanometer Tests
47
6 Muscle Reading?
58
7 WI Bishop and WF Barrett
63
14 WI Bishop and The Secret
122
15 The Thought Reader Craze
131
16 The Willingness to Deceive
139
17 The Conjuror and the Physicist Devant and Lodge
144
18 The Blackburn Revelations
152
19 Truth or Hunger
165
Epilogue
167
An Afterthought
168

8 The Greatest Rascal
75
9 Proof The Creery Sisters
82
10 Truth Barrett and Bishop
85
11 JR Brown and His Telegraph Test
92
12 Stuart C Cumberland Thought Reader
98
Blackburn and Smith
110
Appendices
171
Notes
203
Bibliography
217
Index
227
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

Retired high-tech executive Barry H. Wiley is the author of numerous books on the history of thought reading and spiritualism. He is an associate of the Inner Magic Circle, London, and a member of the Order of Merlin of the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He lives in Oregon.

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