By Paul Adams
Harry Price – An Appreciation of his Life and Times: All fields of human activity have their pioneers in whose footsteps the next generations follow, and by laying down the foundations of their particular disciplines they enable these future colleagues to build their contributions and discoveries. Psychical research is no exception. In its modern terms as ‘parapsychology’ it has been defined by the work of the American Joseph Banks Rhine (1885-1980), indeed the ‘Father of Modern Parapsychology’ who began carrying out experiments in telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition at Duke University in North Carolina in the 1930s.
Before Rhine, psychical research as it was still termed continued to be quite a mixed bag which the investigators of the time attempted to study and evaluate - séance room phenomena, spontaneous cases of haunting, crisis apparitions, dream cases and so on. During the early decades of the 20th century, exponents on both sides of the Atlantic continued the study of phenomena that was the staple fare of the Victorian scientists and academics that had founded institutions such as the Society for Psychical Research at Cambridge and the American Society for Psychical Research in Boston. In particular some of these notables acted as popular educators in bringing the subject of the scientific study of the paranormal before the general public.
In America, British born Hereward Carrington (1880-1958) was a prolific writer who personally carried out much work with spiritualist mediums before the First World War and continued this on into the 1920s and 1930s. His most famous association was with the great Italian medium Eusapia Palladino. Carrington was to be followed by Hans Holzer (born 1920) who began to produce a series of popular guides to the supernatural chronicling his investigations in the 1960s. In England notable Victorian scientists Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) and Sir William Crookes (1832-1919) carried out extensive work with the mediums of the day, Crookes famously with Florence Cook with whose ‘spirit’ entity Katie King he was photographed...