Spooks and spoofs: psychologists and psychical research in the inter-war years

History of science lecture by Professor Elizabeth Valentine.

Event details

Elizabeth Valentine is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Several physicist fellows of the Royal Society were interested in psychical research in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between the wars, William McDougall FRS and other senior academic psychologists became involved with amateur psychical researcher and author Harry Price. They attended séances at his laboratory and were members of his University of London Council for Psychical Investigation. Why did reputable psychologists and the University of London cooperate with someone of dubious integrity who lacked scientific credentials? One reason for their mutual attraction may have been their common engagement in a delicate balancing act between courting popular appeal and asserting scientific expertise and authority.

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Spooks and spoofs: psychologists and psychical research in the inter-war years 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK

Events coming up

  • The interaction of fire and mankind 14 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Professor Claire Belcher and Dr Chris Roos
  • The interaction of fire and mankind - further discussion 16 September 2015 at The Royal Society at Chicheley Hall, home of the Kavli Royal Society International Centre, Buckinghamshire Scientific discussion meeting organised by Professor Andrew Scott, Professor William Chaloner FRS, Dr Claire Belcher and Professor Chris Roos
  • Open House Weekend 2015 19 September 2015 at The Royal Society, London The Royal Society's building will be open to the public on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September 2015.

For more events please see the events diary.