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far from denying the reality of
certain data definitely associated with the psychic movement, but
interpreted by partisans as spiritualistic evidences. Though
psychical phenomena are of ancient origin, modern spiritism began in
1848 with the famous Fox sisters, of Wayne County, N. Y., who before
they died confessed to fraudulent methods. Mediums have come and gone
since— Slade, Foster, Daniel Dunglas Home, Stainton Moses, Mrs.
Verrall, Mrs. Holland, Mrs. Piper, Eusapia Palladino—and with
scarcely an exception the professionals of the trade have been
discredited as imposters. Mrs. Leonora Piper, the American medium who
gained the confidence of William James and Professor Hyslop, has
perhaps survived with the best reputation for honesty. She alone put no
restrictions on her sittings and cooperated frankly with
investigators. The well known habit of mediums to stage their performances
only under obscure conditions of their own choice has justifiably
prejudiced scientists against the whole tribe.
A vast literature has
grown up around the subject, of which a few of the best references are:
Sir William Barrett, On the Threshold of the Unseen
James H. Hyslop, Contact with the Other World (Century,
F. W. H. Myers, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily
Death (Longmans, 1920).
Camille Flammarion, Before Death; At the Moment
of Death; After Death, 3 vols. (Century, 1923 and earlier).
Sir Oliver Lodge, section on " Psychic Science," in Vol. Ill, The Outline
of Science, edited by Prof. J. Arthur Thomson. (Putnam, 1922).
Joseph Jastrow, Fact and Fable in Psychology
(Houghton Mifflin, 1901). Still the best statement from the side of
Amy E. Tanner, Studies in Spiritism (Appleton,
1910). A case report on Mrs. Piper.