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Parapsychology on the couch: the psychology of occult belief in Germany, c. 1870-1939.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences
Publication Date
Volume
42
Issue
3
Pages
237–260
Identifiers
PMID: 16892450
Source
Medline

Abstract

This article considers the attempts of academic psychologists and critical occultists in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to construct a psychology of occult belief. While they claimed that the purpose of this new subdiscipline was to help evaluate the work of occult researchers, the emergence of a psychology of occult belief in Germany served primarily to pathologize parapsychology and its practitioners. Not to be outdone, however, parapsychologists argued that their adversaries suffered from a morbid inability to accept the reality of the paranormal. Unable to resolve through experimental means the dispute over who should be allowed to mold the public's understanding of the occult, both sides resorted to defaming their opponent.

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