The late 19th century was a time of remarkable scientific advancement. New discoveries by scientists, engineers and inventors were transforming the very basis of human society. In this heady atmosphere, it is hardly surprising that a number of these would ultimately turn their attention to the biggest question of all. Led by the philosopher William James, brother of the prominent author, this group began a determined investigation into the very nature of death itself.
Although billed as the “hunt for scientific proof of life after death,” the actual investigations were a rather dull and repetitious look at the world of mediums and spiritualists. More anecdotal than scientific, the results are all too familiar when viewed against a modern background of similar unproven phenomena such as UFOs, clairvoyance and the like. While the fact that such an effort was undertaken by some of the luminaries of the day is interesting, and the details of their lives are intriguing, their actual activities prove to be less so. This book stands more as a glimpse into 19th century minds rebelling against the headlong acceptance of science, rather than a chronicle of hunting for ghosts.