Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind

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9780099478867: Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind

Born of the so-called Victorian "pseudo science" of mesmerism, the séance enjoyed a late 19th-century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics, and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirized hilariously in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the séance endured—and does so to this day. A revelatory exploration of the darker side of Victorian science, this narrative-driven history is full of literary and scientific anecdote and evocative depiction of 19th-century England.

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Born of the so-called Victorian ‘pseudo science’ of mesmerism (aptly described by Ambrose Bierce as 'Hypnotism before it wore good clothes, kept a carriage, and asked incredulity to Dinner'), the séance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment.

It assumed myriad forms - from entranced maids lecturing on theology to clairvoyants giving notice of stolen property, rapped out messages from the spirit world and ghostly shapes appearing from dark cabinets. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of the séance endured – and does so to this day.

Among the broad gallery of Victorians who found spiritual succour in the mysteries and wonders of the séance are the quacks, bluffers and rogues, but also respected physicians like Dr. John Elliotson, an early champion of mesmerism, aristocrats and writers as real and rational as Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle. Servants of the Supernatural tells their fascinating story.

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PRAISE FOR FUGITIVE MINDS:

'Gives a wonderful sense of the richness and strangeness of our mental lives.' Guardian

'Melechi admirably avoids closing down his subjects with explanations, and he never loses sight of questions about creativity and cultural value as well as pathology.' TLS

'Refreshingly undogmatic... Very well written and filled with literary and historical references... Even the most rigid biological determinist would surely be able to read these for profit and entertainment.' Fortean Times

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Melechi, Antonio
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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 193 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Born of the so-called Victorian pseudo science of mesmerism, the seance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the seance endured - and does so to this day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099478867

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 193 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Born of the so-called Victorian pseudo science of mesmerism, the seance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the seance endured - and does so to this day. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099478867

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Book Description 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 127mm x 20mm x 196mm. Paperback. Born of the so-called Victorian 'pseudo science' of mesmerism, the seance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, a.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 290 pages. 0.227. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099478867

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Book Description Arrow 2009-01-01, 2009. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-GRD-00485775

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Book Description Random House UK, 2009. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: " Servants of the Supernatural takes us on a joyously weird circuit of the Victorian obsession with the supernatural. R iotously enjoyable .". Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0099478862

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Book Description Cornerstone. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Servants of the Supernatural: The Night Side of the Victorian Mind, Antonio Melechi, Born of the so-called Victorian 'pseudo science' of mesmerism, the seance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin; their performances imitated and exposed by magicians, denounced by clerics, satirised in the press. Yet the popularity of spiritualism and the seance endured - and does so to this day. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099478867

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Book Description Cornerstone, 2009. Book Condition: New. Born of the so-called Victorian 'pseudo science' of mesmerism, the seance enjoyed a late 19th century golden age that ministered to the Victorian obsession with science, religious doubt, and entertainment. Mediums, psychics and somnambulists were also investigated by amateur sleuths and by scientists like Faraday and Darwin. Num Pages: 320 pages, black & white illustrations. BIC Classification: 3JH; HRQM2. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 20. Weight in Grams: 222. . 2009. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099478867

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