Society for Psychical Research

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"The first President of the SPR was Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University, who had enormous standing and moral authority in the intellectual circles of the day. Apart from a prodigious amount of work, he contributed “the weight which his known intelligence and integrity gave to the serious study of the subject” (quoted from Broad’s obituary after Haynes, p. 176). His chief associates in the early stages were Frederic Myers, a classical scholar but also a man of lively and wide-ranging interests, and the brilliant Edmund Gurney, the main author of what is now the classic of psychical research, Phantasms of the Living.

"Among the early members were also such prominent figures as the physicist William Barrett; the experimental physicist Lord Rayleigh; Arthur Balfour, philosopher and Prime Minister in the years 1902-1905; Gerald Balfour, classical scholar and philosopher; and Eleanor Sidgwick, one of the Balfour clan and wife of Henry Sidgwick, herself a mathematician and later Principal of Newnham College at Cambridge."[1]



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  1. Society for Psychical Research History, organizational web page, accessed May 23 2012.