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Frank Podmore

Frank Podmore, ca. 1895

Frank Podmore (5 February 1856 – 14 August 1910) was an English author, founding member of the Fabian Society and psychical researcher.

Contents

  • Life 1
  • Reception 2
  • Works 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Life

Born at Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Podmore was the son of Thompson Podmore, headmaster of Eastbourne College. He was educated at Haileybury and Pembroke College, Oxford (where he first became interested in Spiritualism and joined the Society for Psychical Research — this interest remained with him throughout his life).

In October 1883 Podmore and Sidney Webb conducted a study into unemployment, eventually published as a Fabian Society pamphlet, The Government Organisation of Unemployed Labour.

Podmore married Eleanore Bramwell in 1891, however, the marriage was a failure and they separated. They had no children.[1]

His major work was a detailed study of the life and ideas of Robert Owen (1906).

Podmore resigned from a senior post in the Post Office in 1907. Psychical researcher Alan Gauld wrote "In 1907 Podmore was compelled to resign without pension from the Post Office because of alleged homosexual involvements. He separated from his wife, and went to live with his brother Claude, rector of Broughton, near Kettering."[2]

Podmore died by drowning at Malvern, Worcestershire, in August 1910.

Researcher Ronald Pearsall wrote that the it was generally believed that Podmore was a homosexual and that it was "very strange" that his brother Claude, his wife or any member of the Society for Psychical Research did not attend his funeral.[3]

Reception

Most works published by members of the SPR have received negative reviews by the scientific community, however, Podmore was an exception as he gave rationalistic explanations for much of the psychical research that he studied and his books received good reviews in science journals.[4][5] His book Studies in Psychical Research received a positive review in the British Medical Journal which described his debunking of fraudulent mediums as scientific and came to the conclusion the "book is well worth reading, and it is agreeable reading, for the style is generally vigorous and not infrequently brilliant."[6]

Works

Podmore's publications include:

  • Phantasms of the Living (1886, written with Frederick Myers and Edmund Gurney).
  • The Government Organisation of Unemployed Labour (1886).
  • Apparitions and Thought-Transference (1892).
  • Studies in Psychical Research (1897).
  • Modern Spiritualism (1902). Reprinted as Mediums of the 19th Century, vols. 1 & 2.
  • The Naturalisation of the Supernatural (1908).
  • Mesmerism and Christian Science (1909).
  • Telepathic Hallucinations: The New View of Ghosts (1909).
  • The Newer Spiritualism (1910).

See also

References

  1. ^ Stanley Kunitz, Howard Haycraft. (1973). Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature. H. W. Wilson Company. p. 1112
  2. ^ Alan Gauld. (2004). Frank Podmore (1856–1910). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  3. ^ Ronald Pearsall. (1972). The Table-Rappers. Book Club Associates. p. 221
  4. ^ The Naturalization of the Supernatural by Frank Podmore. (1909). American Journal of Psychology. Vol. 20, No. 2. pp. 294-295.
  5. ^ Modern Spiritualism. A History and a Criticism by Frank Podmore. (1903). American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 14, No. 1. pp. 116-117.
  6. ^ Studies In Psychical Research by Frank Podmore. (1898). British Medical Journal. Vol. 1, No. 1931. pp. 25-26.

External links

  • Edward R. Pease, The History of the Fabian Society.
  • Andrew Lang, "The Poltergeist and his explainers" (Appendix B), The Making of Religion, London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1900, pp. 324–39.
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