Article ID: CBB969052654

‘Report of the Committee on Mediumistic Phenomena’, by William James (1886) With an introduction by (2016)


Mediumship was a topic of great interest to some nineteenth-century students of mental phenomena. Together with the phenomena of hypnosis and other manifestations, mediumship was seen by many as a dissociative phenomenon. The purpose of this Classic Text is to present an excerpt of an article about the topic that William James (1842–1910) published in 1886 in the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research about American medium Leonora E. Piper (1857–1950). The article, an indication of late nineteenth-century interactions between dissociation studies and psychical research, was the first report of research with Mrs Piper, a widely investigated medium of great importance for the development of mediumship studies. In addition to studying the case as a dissociative experience, James explored the possibility that Piper’s mentation contained verifiable information suggestive of ‘supernormal’ knowledge. Consequently, James provides an example of a topic neglected in historical studies, the ideas of those who combined conventional dissociation studies with psychical research.

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Authors & Contributors
Wadge, Elisabeth
Noakes, Richard J.
Monroe, John Warne
Weber, Thomas P.
Raia-Grean, Courtenay
Novella, Enric J.
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Asclepio: Archivo Iberoamericano de Historia de la Medicina
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism
History of the Human Sciences
Cornell University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
University of Notre Dame
University of North Carolina Press
Occult sciences
Parapsychology; psychic phenomena
Periodicals; serials
James, William
Tyndall, John
Home, Daniel Dunglas
Varley, Cromwell Fleetwood
Du Prel, Carl
Flammarion, Camille
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
Great Britain
Anthropological Society of London
British Association for the Advancement of Science
Ethnological Society of London

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