Spiritualism and Insanity (12 february 1920)
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Spiritualism and Insanity
Sir, — I must apologise for leaving Father Thurston's letter unanswered. When I wrote before, I was far from home, and had to trust to my memory. This has not entirely betrayed me, but it has confused two sets of figures, each of which is excellent for my purpose. The first set is that of Dr. Crowall, correctly quoted by Father Thurston, showing that out of 32,313 male patients 215 were clergymen, while the total male and female Spiritualists under treatment were 45. There is no reason at all to think that the word Spiritualists was confined only to mediums. This is shown by the result obtained by the British Medical Journal Inquiry, as stated on February 13th, 1879. It stated "We have been at the pains to turn over a file of last year's reports of American State Asylums. In these reports appear the tables of assigned causes of insanity among the inmates, 14,550 in number. The only cases attributed to Spiritualism are four." The journal adds "We have before us the 62nd report of last year of the Commissioners of Lunacy, and not one single case due to Spiritualism is there recorded."
It should be added that there has notoriously been a great increase of Spiritualism in this country since the war began, and yet there has been a considerable drop in the lunacy statistics. The report of January 1st, 1919, showed a decrease of nearly 10 per cent. over the similar report of 1918.
Those facts have been frequently pointed out, and the excuse of ignorance when these misrepresentations are made, can not be much longer maintained.
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex. February 10th.