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Science and spiritualism in an Irish context. The psychical research networks of William Fletcher Barrett

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Shane McCorristine


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© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2021William Fletcher Barrett (1844–1925) has long been recognised for his key role in the foundation of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882, but this came after years of working as a physicist and psychical researcher between Ireland and Britain, conducting mesmeric experiments, maintaining correspondence, and sharing research ideas at forums like the British Association for the Advancement of Science. This article reevaluates Barrett’s career by focusing on his networks, projects, and organisations in Ireland. These acted as bridges connecting his work as a teacher of physics with his work as a psychical researcher and investigator of spiritualism. In doing so, this article also contributes to the history of spiritualism in Ireland by demonstrating the rich connections which existed between scientists, intellectuals, and amateur investigators in the area of spiritualism and psychical research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McCorristine S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Aries

Year: 2021

Volume: 22

Issue: 1

Pages: 89–113

Online publication date: 22/11/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2021

ISSN (print): 1567-9896

ISSN (electronic): 1570-0593

Publisher: Brill Academic Publishers


DOI: 10.1163/15700593-02201005


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