Psychic Dreams and Newspapers in the Late Nineteenth Century
Psychic researchers in the late nineteenth century urged newspaper readers to survey their acquaintances for cases of telepathy, clairvoyance, psychic dreams and hallucinations. Dreams proved to be the most wayward of these research objects, requiring additional controls in order to attain evidential value. Media networks helped to stabilise the forms of truth that psychic dreams might offer, with newspapers and telegrams serving to verify the dream’s relationship to external, waking events. As dreams gained new status in the psychological disciplines around the turn of the century, psychic researchers revisited the dream as a valid superconscious phenomenon, drawing the new media technologies of wireless and cinema into the verification process. This paper will track the relationship between media forms and psychic dreams in the work of British, American and French psychic researchers from the 1880s to the 1930s, exploring tensions around evidence that emerged between dream collectors, their subjects, and the media.
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