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Unnoticed by popular science, historical scholarship has begun to fundamentally question modern standard assumptions of the incompatibility of scientific practice and belief in ‘occult’ phenomena. This talk provides an overview of historical links between elite science and the marvellous, and reconstructs the involvement of some of the founders of modern psychology in research on telepathy and spiritualism.
Dr Andreas Sommer is a historian of science at the University of Cambridge currently working on a book investigating the co-emergence of psychical research and psychology in the late nineteenth century. He guest-edited a special section on psychical research for Studies in History and Philosophy of Science C and is adviser on an upcoming BBC television series, The Living and the Dead.