Monday, July 24, 2006

Science and the Occult

July 24, 1907
Los Angeles

On a speaking tour of America, former Columbia professor James H. Hyslop is trying to raise interest in a scientific approach to psychic research while deflating the fabulous claims of mediums and other fakers.

“There is so much fraud in connection with the physical demonstrations, said Dr. Hyslop, that much time would be wasted in making the investigation,” The Times said. “To see a table get up and prance across the floor doesn’t prove anything in connection with a future life.”

“We want this study to stand on the same plane as the search for the North Pole and experimentations in the use of balloons and airships,” Hyslop said.
In a presentation at Blanchard Hall, Hyslop told of what he described as scientific experiments involving in contacting the deceased: his brother, who died at the age of 4; his wife, who had been dead for 18 months; his father; and father-in-law.

Working with a medium identified as Mrs. Leonora Piper of Boston, Hyslop said he received accurate replies to questions although Piper knew nothing about him.

Hyslop wrote extensively about the psychic world in books like “Science and a Future Life” and “Enigmas of Psychical Research.” In 1918, he got in trouble with the family of Mark Twain over claims that he had contacted the deceased author. He died in 1920.

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