Spiritualism and Sanity

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Spiritualism and Sanity is an article published in the Daily Mail on 20 october 1919, including a part of an interview with Arthur Conan Doyle.

Spiritualism and Sanity

Daily Mail (20 october 1919, p. 5)


Dr. Haydn Brown, the London neurologist, on Friday, as reported in The Daily Mail on Saturday, told the Magic Circle, a society of professional illusionists, that spiritualistic seances are risky things for the human mind, and that would-be believers attend at their peril. A representative of The Daily Mail on Saturday found that many medical men support Dr. Brown's theory.

One doctor, who secretly attended a spiritualistic demonstration said he had formed the opinion that the majority of the people present were on the border line of insanity.

Colonel R. H. Elliot, I.M.S., chairman of a committee of men of a wide range of professions formed at the Magic Circle to sift spiritualistic phenomena, said:

"There is a general idea that becomes a number of eminent scientists have adopted spiritualism the case is proved. We reject that emphatically. Because a man is an expert in one line there is no reason for supposing he is expert in another."


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at Leicester last night dealt with some criticisms made at the Church Congress.

"Dean Inge," he said, "may ill-treat the spiritualist, but he must not murder the King's English. He accuses us of necromancy. He ought to know that necromancy means incantations round a corpse, and if there is anything which will have nothing to do with a corpse it is spiritualism, because spiritualists look on a dead body as merely matter."

Dean Inge accused them of giving spurious consolation. Was it spurious consolation for him (Sir Arthur) when he met his son face to face eleven months after his death? They conversed about a private thing. His voice was as in life. Did they think it was spurious consolation for him to know that his boy was happy, for he told him he was happy?