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A Halloween post: Victorian parapsychology

dreams and ghostsThere was much interest in spiritualism and occultism in 19th century Great Britain (and in the United States as well). To get in the Halloween “spirit,” we’ve found a few examples of books on spooks, ghosts, and other supernatural beings from the Victorian and J.F.C. Harrison collections to share:

  • Catherine Crowe, The Night Side of Nature (1849). Crowe, who wrote novels and children’s stories, was fascinated by the supernatural. This book collects numerous tales of ghosts, hauntings, hypnotism, and other paranormal events. It was also Crowe’s most popular work, reprinted many times through the 19th century.
  • Frederick George Lee, The Other World, or Glimpses of the Supernatural (1875) and Sights and Shadows (1894). Lee was an Anglican bishop who wrote several books on spiritualism and the supernatural, along with many theological works. He converted to Catholicism shortly before his death.
  • Phantasms of the Living (1886). This work was written by three founding members of the Society for Psychical Research, a group which still researches paranormal activity today.
  • Andrew Lang, The Book of Dreams and Ghosts (1897). A collection of supernatural legends collected by an eminent Victorian folklorist.

These books and others like them can be found by searching the library catalog for such subject terms as “Ghosts,” “Parapsychology,” “Spiritualism,” “Clairvoyance,” “Supernatural,” and  “Occultism.”

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