Review of Reviews,  4 (1891), 257–58.

Wanted, a Census of Ghosts! An Appeal to our Readers for Statistics of Hallucinations



Editorial, Announcement


Supernaturalism, Psychical Research, Theory, Experimental Psychology

    Appeals to 'the half-million readers whose eyes will fall upon this page in all parts of the habitable world' to 'help the Psychical Research Society in their most useful and suggestive inquiries' by sending in details of encounters with apparitions. Although confessing that he has 'never yet had the pleasure of interviewing a ghost', William T Stead insists that 'it is supremely unscientific not to believe in ghosts' for to 'reject all the mass of testimony [...] out of deference to a preconceived theory, is absolutely opposed to the scientific spirit'. Rather, the true inquirer must 'confine himself strictly and judicially to the collection and observation of facts', which has been 'the principle on which the Psychical Research Society has for several years pursued its most interesting labours' and has 'succeeded in establishing beyond all gainsaying [...] that apparitions really appear'. Furthermore, the 'discovery of the reality of what the Society calls the Phantasms of the Living', which provides new clues as to the 'nature and latent possibilities of human beings', removes the 'degree of creepiness' usually associated with 'all discussion concerning the ghosts of the dead'. (257)

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