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

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