Notes on Early Discussions of Mediumship

Carlos S. Alvarado, Michael Nahm, Andreas Sommer

Abstract


The purpose of this note is to dispel the notion that ideas of human agency to account for the veridical mental phenomena of mediums began with persons associated with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in England, or with certain later individuals. In fact, the appearance of these ideas preceded the founding of the Society in 1882. Examples of earlier writers who discussed these ideas include Carl Gustav Carus, Edward W. Cox, Justinus Kerner, Asa Mahan, André-Saturnin Morin, Maximilian Perty, B.W. Richmond, and Edward C. Rogers. In contrast to the speculation by later SPR authors and others, the concepts that appeared in the old literature involved belief in physical forces. Later authors who presented human agency as an explanation for mental mediumship included Walter Leaf, Frederic W.H. Myers, Charles Richet, and Eduard von Hartmann.

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