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William Fletcher Barrett, Spiritualism, and Psychical Research in Edwardian Dublin

Author(s): Shane McCorristine

Journal: Estudios Irlandeses : Journal of Irish Studies
ISSN 1699-311X

Issue: 6;
Start page: 39;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: William Fletcher Barrett | Psychical research | W.B. Yeats | Spiritualism | Dublin society

Although primarily known today as a physicist and founder member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), William Fletcher Barrett (1844-1925) was an important figure in social and scientific circles in late Victorian and Edwardian Ireland. From the 1870s onwards, when he became Professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal College of Science for Ireland, Barrett created an interest in psychical research among prominent members of the social and cultural elite in Dublin. This article reconstructs the history and membership of thelittle-known Dublin Section of the SPR (1908-c.1914), in which Barrett was the leading personality, and sketches out some conclusions which can be drawn from the make-up of this forgotten group.
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