philosopher, poet, scholar, author of significant books on anthropology, mythology, psychology, ghost lore, history, biography, and fairy tales. He joined the
SPR in 1906 but his interest in psychical phenomena was of longer standing. He studied them rather from the historic and anthropologic, than from the experimental viewpoint. To crystal gazing he contributed some valuable personal evidence. His earliest paper was read before the
SPR on the Cock Lane Ghost in 1894.
Subsequently, he frequently contributed to the Proceedings and the
Journal. In Journal, Vol. VII. he wrote on Queen Mary's Diamonds, in
Proceedings, Vol. XI. on the Voices of Joan of Arc. The telepathy a trois was his conception in a paper on the mediumship of
His Custom and Myth, published in 1884 contained a chapter on the divining rod which he regarded as a mischievous instrument of superstition. The investigations of Prof.
William Barrett convinced him that it is "a fact, and a very serviceable fact."
He wrote several articles on psychical research for the Encyclopaedia Britannica in 1902.
The Making of Religion, Magic and Religion, Cock Lane and Common Sense, The Book of Dreams and
Ghosts are valuable for the students of psychical research.
The Maid of France, 1908, was the first attempt to consider Joan of Arc in the light of psychical research. In 1911 he was President of the
SPR. According to the Rev. M. A. Bayfield's appreciation in Proceedings, Vol.
XXVI it is fair to infer from his later writings that he found the exclusion of an external agency from some phenomena increasingly difficult.
Source (with minor modifications):
The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History by Renée Haynes (1982, Macdonald & Co (Publishers) Ltd, London).