1885 - SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH - BLAVATSKY FRAUD THEOSOPHY PARAPSYCHOLOGY
Title:PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH 1885, Volume 3
Author: Society For Psychical Research
Publisher: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co. City: London Year: 1885 (First Edition) Binding Style: Hardcover Pagination: 500 pages, Plus Index Illustrated: Yes
Book Details + Condition: Very scarce first edition, original copy of "Proceedings of the Society For Psychical Research" from 1885. Publisher's original green boards with gilt title, etc. on spine. The boards and binding are sold and tight with minimal shelfwear. The pages are crisp and clean, and free of interior markings.
In this issue, the Psychical Research Society, led by Richard Hodgson, investigated claims by the Theosophy Society — specifically by Madame Blavatsky, that through astral projection she could appear and intelligently communicate at a place where her body was in another location. Also, claims were made where physical objects could be made to teleport from a faraway location. The evidence provided by Blavatsky were letters which are printed in this issue. As part of the committee's scientific investigation, a diagram was made of Blavatsky’s home and reproduced in a fold-out lithograph in this issue, as well as the copies of the letters written by Madame Blavatsky which were teleported from another location.
The committee's conclusion stated that Blavatsky was a fraud, and that no evidence of astral projection was produced. And the letter purported to be teleported to another location were simply handed through a secret compartment in a wall.
– Report on Phenomena Connected with Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky
– Notes on Evidence for Phantasms of the Dead
– Reports on Thought Transference
– Higher Aspects of Mesmerism
Created in 1884, The Society of Psychical Research was the first of its kind tasked to understand events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal. Areas of study included hypnotism, dissociation, thought-transference, mediumship, spirit possession, apparitions and haunted houses and the physical phenomena associated with séances. The JSPR were the first to introduce a number of neologisms which have entered the English language, such as 'telepathy', which was coined by Frederic Myers. Much of the early work involved investigating, exposing and in some cases duplicating fake phenomena. In the late 19th century, SPR investigations into séance phenomena led to the exposure of many fraudulent mediums. Richard Hodgson distinguished himself in that area. In 1884, Hodgson was sent by the SPR to India to investigate Helena Blavatsky and concluded that her claims of psychic power were fraudulent.
In 1886 and 1887 a series of publications by S.J. Davey, Hodgson and Sidgwick in the SPR journal exposed the slate writing tricks of the medium William Eglinton. Hodgson with his friend, S. J. Davey had staged fake séances for educating the public. Davey gave sittings under an assumed name, duplicating the phenomena produced by Eglinton, and then proceeded to point out to the sitters the manner in which they had been deceived. Because of this, some spiritualist members such as Stainton Moses resigned from the SPR. Among the Societies first important works of the was the two-volume publication in 1886, Phantasms of the Living, concerning telepathy and apparitions, co-authored by Gurney, Myers and Frank Podmore.In 1891, Alfred Russel Wallace requested for the Society to properly investigate spirit photography. Eleanor Sidgwick responded with a critical paper in the SPR which cast doubt on the subject and discussed the fraudulent methods that spirit photographers such as Édouard Isidore Buguet, Frederic Hudson and William H. Mumler had utilized.