About the Society For Psychical Research
The Society was founded in 1882 and it's members were drawn from the educated elite of British Society. Prime minister Gladstone once remarked that the work of the SPR was "probably the most important research being carried out anywhere in the world at the present time", and membership elevates ones battle against the forces of darkness from eccentricity to acceptable academic research.
The SPR was founded in 1882 by some of the best known thinkers of the Victorian age, and was from the beginning scientific, rationalist and sceptical (in an open minded sense). It still exists and actively researches today.
Membership of the SPR in this period required a certain respectability. Mrs Sidwick a society matiach of very determined conservative beliefs dominated the society, but charladies and greengrocers could and did become members rubbing shoulders with the elite of Britain. The most famous President was lord Balfour (1904) who was at the time also Prime Minister of Britain!
Members recieved the quarterly Journal of the SPR in which reports of mediumistic experiments, exposures of frauds, research into Dream, Hypnotism and Thought Transference as well as accounts of investigated hauntings and readers own experiences were published, although often with pseudonymns to protect the innocent. All reports were of a highly academic style, and the research often puts the police and criminal investigations of the time to shame with their thoroughness and examinations of all possibilities. The conventional Occult and the doings of Crowley and the Golden Dawn were not an area of interest. The emphasis on this period was still on investigations of mediums.
As well as the Journal the SPR also produced an irregular volume of "Proceedings". These cost eight shillings / $2.50 and are longer, even more technical, reports on aspects of psychical research. A complete list of Proceedings of the 1890-1900 is included below for your amusement and to give you the feel of the organisation, but is unecessary for the game so don't bother to plough through it all!!! Based in Tavistock Square in London, with a library of over 4,000 volumes covering all aspects of the occult and psychical research this has to be a major resource for all British investigations.
A Ridicolously Brief History of Psychical Research
1860 The Ghost Club founded at Cambridge University, England. It's members meet to tell stories and to investigate hauntings. The Club exists to the present day as a Gentleman's society, membership by invitation only.
1882 The Society for Psychical Research founded in London. The SPR begins intensive investigation of hypnotism, haunted houses, astral projection, mediumship and other phenomena.
1884 The American Society for Psychical Research founded in Boston, Mass.
1889 Financial difficulties force the ASPR to become a local branch of the London SPR.
1906 The ASPR reestablishes itself as an independent psychical research society, based in New York.
1909-1910 Eusapia Palladino, internationally famous medium visits U.S and gives 31 seances. She is found cheating and the trip proves a dismal failure.
Some Proceedings of the SPR 1890 - 1900
Evidence in Psychical Research; The Census of Hallucinations
(Prof. Sidgwick); Apparitions Occurring One Year after Death (FWH Myers); Experiments in Hypnotism and Clairvoyance (Prof Richet); Multiple Personality Cases (T Barkworth); Experiments with Medium D.D.Home (W. Crookes, FRS).
Phantasms of the Dead - a debate between F. Podmore (con)
and FWH Myers (pro); Miss X's psychic experiences; Clairvoyance; Statistics and analysis ESP results (Lt.-Col.Taylor).
More on The Census of Hallucinations (Prof Sidgwick); Experiments with
Mrs Piper, Medium (Prof O. Lodge,FRS, W Leaf, LittD, Prof William James and FWH Myers.)
Thought Transference Experiments (Baron Von Shrenck-Notzing,MD);
Automatic Writing Experiments (T. Barkworth);Clairvoyance Evaluated (Mrs Sidgwick); Visions of the Virgin Mary in Dordogne, France (L. Marillier)
Poltergeist phenomena (FWH Myers); Clairvoyance (Dr Backman); A
Multiple Personality Case - Ansel Bourne (R. Hodgson); Spirit Photography (Mrs Sidgwick)
Subliminal Consciousness (FWH Myers); Thought Transference (O. Lodge,
FRS); Poltergeist Phenomena (FWH Myers).
A Study of Mrs Pipers Mediumship (R.Hodgson,LLD)
Continued Knowledge by the Dead (FWH Myers); Conjuring Tricks Used by
False Psychics (R Hodgson,LLD); The Cheltenham Ghost - report by occupant (R.Despard under pseudonym Rose Morton); Subliminal Consciousness and Dreams (FWH Myers)
The Nature of Time in Dreams (M. Delboeuf); Thought Transference (Dr
Blair-Thaw, Mrs Sidgwick and Miss A. Johnson); Induced Hallucinations (FWH Myers).
Hysteria (FWH Myers); Theosophy (R Hodgson); Faith Healing, Psychosomatic
Cures and Lourdes (Dr A. & FWH Myers).
Partial Anaesthesia (Prof. Ramsay); Indian magic critically examined
in light of conjuring tricks (R Hodgson).
Theory of analysing source of "Spirit" messages under
conditions (Prof O. Lodge, FRS); Presidential Address by Arthur Balfour, MP (and soon to be Prime Minister of U.K.); Further Report on the Census of Hallucinations.
Alcoholism and Hypnotism (Dr.Dill, MA); Sources of "Spirit"
ications (Miss X); Experiments in Thought Transference (H.Rawson)
Experiments in Mediumship (Mrs Verall); The Voices of Joan of
(Andrew Lang); Discussion of Myers theory of Mind (A Pierce and F.Podmore)
Paranormal and Time; Retrocognition; Precognition (FWH Myers).
Presidential address (Prof William James); Subconscious Reasoning
(W. Romaine-Newbold); Poltergeists (F Podmore); Glossary of Psychic Research (FWH Myers).
Involuntary Whispering in ESP Tests (Prof.H Sidwick); A Case of Speaking
in Tongues (Albert Le Baron); Hypnotism (Dr Bramwell).
On the Divining Rod (Prof. Barrett)
A Study of the Mediumship of Mrs Piper (R Hodgson).
Reports on Mrs Piper's mediumship (various); Lectures given to British
Medical Association on Hypnotism (Dr. Bramwell).
Coincidences (Miss A. Johnson); Ghosts in West Africa (Mary Kingsley); Study
of Visions (FWH Myers).
Fire Walking (Andrew Lang); Mrs Piper's Mediumship (Mrs Sidwick,
Andrew Lang); Philosophical Reflections on Afterlife (FCS Schiller).
Presidential Address (FWH Myers)
Dowsing (Prof Barrett); Pseudo-Possession (FWH Myers)
In Memory of H. Sidwick (FWH Myers)
A Case of Multiple Personality - the Misses Beauchamps (Dr Morton-Prince)