Harry Price is England's foremost investigator of psychic phenomena. For 30 years he has tracked down alleged miracles at home and abroad, slept in "haunted" houses, uncovered the frauds of tricksters. Having inherited money from his family, he spends about $5,000 yearly on his researches. He has acquired 14,000 volumes, some of them rare, on every phase of his hobby from talking animals to stage wizardry. He started doing magic tricks at the age of 8, published a psychic play called The Sceptic at 17. In 1925 he founded and became director of the National Laboratory for Psychical Research, which he later turned over to the London Council for Psychical Investigation. He would like to see London University institute a chair of psychic research with himself as professor, has offered the university his library and equipment plus a yearly endowment of $2,500. A heavyset, quietly dressed man of 55 who smokes Players cigarets from a silver case and has false teeth, Mr. Price works in his South Kensington laboratory every week day until 5 o'clock unless he is"out on a case," commutes to his home in Sussex 50 mi. out of London. Last week Mr. Price:
¶ Tried to duplicate the experiments in telepathy and clairvoyance of Duke University's Psychologist Joseph Banks Rhine, who in a great number of carefully controlled laboratory tests has apparently demonstrated that ordinary people can learn to "read" an unseen pack of cards much better than could be explained by chance (TIME, Dec. 10, 1934). In this endeavor Mr. Price reported no success.
¶ Agreed to visit a house in Canonbury, through which the ghost of a murdered man was said to be stalking nightly.
¶ Cabled to a professor in Riga urging him to attend a meeting in Cologne next week to discuss the mind-reading performances of a prodigy named Ilga Kirps.
¶ Planned for November a hotel exhibition of 10,000 rare books on psychic marvels.
Mr. Price's newest book is Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter.* Published in the U. S. last month, this is an omnibus memoir of his experiences, theories, accomplishments. The author follows the terminology of both spiritualists and scientific investigators by not calling anything"supernatural." For those phenomena which cannot be explained by the known laws of Nature he reserves the term supernormal. He considers that at least 999 out of 1,000 of the wonders produced at spiritualistic seances are tricks. What will surprise many a reader is that, with his almost endless experience of frauds, Mr. Price is willing to accept one phenomenon out of 1,000 as genuine. He believes that a psychic investigator who maintains a blind and stubborn skepticism under all circumstances gets nowhere. He states that he has never encountered scientific proof of the survival of the "soul, ego or personality" after death, but that occasionally an extraordinary medium seems to get in touch with a sort of dissociated psychic remnant of the deceased. For example: