I came across so many interesting people while researching my book, more people than I could possibly research myself. Among them was Frederic W. H. Myers, from the Society of Psychical Research. It always bothered me that I couldn’t spend more time looking into Myers, mostly because of his book with the tantalizing title, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death, which was published in 1903.
Like the 700 boxes of Parapsychology Lab archives at Duke University, I was sure investigating Myers and his work would be like getting to go through buried treasure. All that largely forgotten history, from someone who believed he found evidence of life after death—just what did he come up with?
I know from my experience researching the Parapsychology Lab that just because most of us have never heard about his results doesn’t mean he didn’t come up with anything worth looking at, even if there are other ways of interpreting his findings today.
So I was excited to see this new biography by historian Trevor Hamilton. Hamilton has done all the work, and now I can finally learn what Myers discovered. I’ll also to be curious to see what Hamilton makes of it. Did Myers’ insights leave clues that might be worth revisiting today? The book can be purchased here. (I skipped ahead to a couple of sections and what I read showed honesty, intelligence and compassion.)
(The picture of Myers was taken by his wife Eveleen. I found it at the National Portrait Gallery, where the author is going to give a talk on June 18th.)