On ‘Mars and the Mediums’

Today Mars turns retrograde, appearing to carve a backwards path against the backdrop of the zodiac. This is reason enough to turn our attention to the Red Planet. Now scholar Clive Davenhall has examined our cultural conceptions of Mars in his article ‘Mars and the Mediums’ reproduced in its entirety here. This work appears in our forthcoming volume Imagining Other Worlds, an anthology of the latest work in astronomy and culture based on the 2016 Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena (INSAP) conference at London’s Gresham College. So as the ambient Mars embarks on its retrograde journey, join us in celebrating past engagements with the red planet and our cultural imagination.

 


 

Mars and the Mediums
by Clive Davenhall

The second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth were the heyday of both spiritualism and the Martian ‘canal craze’.1 The canal craze imagined the planet as a dying, desert world where an advanced civilisation had hoarded its dwindling water resources. A surprising confluence of these ideas led to reports of occult communication with Mars. These reports are widely scattered and, unsurprisingly, rarely feature in the astronomical literature, though there have been a few modern surveys.2 Mediums reported travelling to Mars, and less frequently elsewhere, by astral projection and similar techniques. They reported communication with intelligent Martians by thought transference, recollected past lives on Mars and anticipated reincarnation there. This paper outlines this unexpected corner of the interaction between astronomy and wider culture. Subsequent sections summarise the relevant background, both spiritualist and astronomical, present examples of actual reports by mediums and similar ideas employed in fiction, and finally discuss the phenomenon.

Background

Mars was seen to display a disk soon after the telescope was applied to astronomy in the early years of the seventeenth century and the first permanent markings on it were identified later in the same century.3 Thereafter it was the subject of careful if sporadic observation. By the mid-nineteenth century a consensus understanding of the planet had been achieved. The rotation period differed by only a few minutes from that of the Earth. There were permanent markings on the surface, though their appearance varied somewhat. The darker, greenish patches were usually thought to be seas and the lighter red-brown regions to be continents. The polar caps waxed and wained with the seasons and were considered to be made of water ice. A substantial atmosphere supported occasional clouds. There was already speculation about whether the planet was inhabited, in an established tradition of ‘the plurality of worlds’.4

The 1877 perihelic opposition brought the planet unusually close, thus positioning it favourably for observation, and it was extensively studied by a large number of observers. The most unexpected results were obtained by Giovanni Schiaparelli (1853–1910), a Professor of astronomy from Milan, who had previously shown little interest in the planet.5 He produced maps showing unprecedented detail and introduced a new, elegant system of names, based on classical mythology and geography, which still forms the basis of Martian nomenclature. His maps were notable for showing, particularly in the northern hemisphere, a grid of hitherto unsuspected dark lines criss-crossing the lighter ‘continents’ and linking the darker ‘seas’.6 Schiaparelli called these features canali, Italian for ‘channels’, but the term was mis-translated into English as ‘canals’, suggesting an artificial origin, though Schiaparelli always remained non-comital about their nature. At successive oppositions Schiaparelli produced further maps showing an increasingly complex canal network. Initially only he saw the canals, but soon other observers were reporting them and by around 1890 their existence, if not their nature, was considered well-established.

The nature of the canals remained a matter of debate (and in the event they turned out to be optical illusions). The idea that they were artificial and constructed by intelligent beings was never accepted by most astronomers. However it had two powerful and effective advocates, Camille Flammarion and Percival Lowell, who popularised it amongst the wider public.7 Camille Flammarion (1842–1925) was a prolific, self-educated French astronomer and populariser of astronomy. He was widely-read in France and discussed his ideas in numerous popular astronomy books, articles and also in works of fiction. Percival Lowell (1855-1916) was a wealthy American businessman, traveller and orientalist. He became fascinated by Mars in the early 1890s (initially by reading one of Flammarion’s books) and founded the observatory that bears his name in Flagstaff, Arizona principally to study the planet. He was an eloquent and persuasive author who wrote several books expounding his ideas about the planet and his observatory issued a blizzard of press releases.

Flammarion and Lowell’s ideas about Mars differed somewhat. Flammarion adhered to the earlier idea that the dark patches were seas and the lighter ones continents.8 These continents supported lush vegetation of a riot of colours, but predominantly red and orange rather than green (H.G. Wells borrowed this idea for the ‘red weed’ that briefly overran South East England in The War of the Worlds). Percival Lowell’s conception of the planet was significantly different. For him the orange areas were true desert and the darker ones arid semi-desert supporting sparse vegetation. The seas that the planet once possessed had long-since vanished. Both, however, saw the canals as the artificial constructs of an advanced civilisation.

Spiritualism in its modern form emerged in 1848 with the Fox sisters from Hydesville in Wayne County, New York State, with table-rapping and other phenomena.9 It quickly became popular throughout the US and Europe and by the turn of the century had become a mass-movement with about eight million followers. The central tenet of spiritualism is that the spirit or soul enjoys a continued existence after death and, further, it is possible for the living to communicate with the spirits of the deceased. Some people were particularly adept at such communication and would act as ‘mediums’, mediating communications for others by relaying questions and answers. The movement quickly developed its now-familiar trappings: groups of communicants sitting in a darkened room with a medium, speaking in altered voices, automatic writing, sound effects such as bells and trumpets, and even the manifestation of ‘aports’ or physical objects.

Though spiritualism was a mass-movement it had little formal organisation. Rather, communication was through periodicals, lectures and practitioners. The later nineteenth century also saw the development of similar movements, such as theosophy and the founding of societies to investigate and assess the validity of these ideas, such as the Society for Psychical Research (in 1882) and the American Society for Psychical Research (in 1885).

Examples

Writing in 1959 the psychoanalyst and journalist Nandor Fodor recalled that ‘at least a dozen well-known mediums have been involved with the planet Mars’ and it seems likely that there were others.10 Only a few examples will be mentioned here.

William Denton (1823-83), originally from Darlington, County Durham, settled in Ohio, where he became a geologist and political activist, advocating women’s rights, the abolition of slavery and temperance.11 He and his family also practiced ‘psychometry’, a form of divination that purports to discern the nature and history of objects merely by handling them. Between 1863 and 1874 William and his wife Elizabeth wrote the three volumes of The Soul of Things which included reports of trips that several family members had made to Mars while in a trance state.12 Together they found several more-or-less human races (each member encountered a somewhat different species), all with civilisations broadly similar to the terrestrial one. Anne Denton Cridge, William’s sister, reported a dense life-sustaining atmosphere, great mountains and lush valleys that were home to large crocodile-like reptiles.

Daniel Paul Schreber (1842-1911), originally from Leipzig, was a successful and highly respected judge, presiding over the Saxon High Court of Appeals, until in early middle age he suffered the onset of the mental illness that would periodically plague him for the rest of his life. Its underlying cause may have been an unusually strict upbringing. He suffered three periods of illness: 1884–85, 1893–1902 and 1907–11, separated by periods of recovery. After the second he wrote a book about his condition, Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (1903).13 It scandalised his family, but was quickly adopted by psychiatrists; a
rare example of a textbook written by the patient rather than the doctor. It remains well-known, perhaps because Freud subsequently wrote a book re-assessing it in terms of psychoanalysis.14

Schreber’s illness took several forms, including memories of previous incarnations. He wrote:

…I had lived for years in doubt as to whether I was really still on earth or whether on some other celestial body. Even in the year 1895 I still considered the possibility of my being on Phobos, a satellite of the planet Mars mentioned by the voices in some other context, and wondered whether the moon, which I sometimes saw in the sky, was not the main planet Mars.15

Interplanetary journeys were peripheral to Schreber’s condition, but played an important part in the case of Hélène Smith, one of the better-known examples of spirit voyages to Mars. She was studied by Théodore Flournoy (1854–1920), the first Professor of psychology at the University of Geneva.16 Flournoy, a contemporary of Freud and early mentor to Jung, was an important figure in the development of psychology, particularly in Switzerland. He reported Mlle Smith’s case in From India to the Planet Mars which on publication in 1899 became something of a best-seller, running through several editions in a few months. An English translation appeared in the same year.17

Hélène Smith (or Helen Smith in the English edition, real name Catherine-Elise Müller; Flournoy adopted the pseudonym to protect her identity) came from a respectable Geneva family and worked as a secretary. She was also a well-known medium who gave seances to a circle of friends. She would enter a trance state in which she spoke in the persona of spirits she encountered, and produce automatic writing and drawings. During a trance she would recall previous lives, mostly under the tutelage of ‘Leopold’, a spirit guide. Most of Mlle Smith’s previous lives were terrestrial (and included an Indian princess; hence the title of Flournoy’s book). However, one sequence involved communication with Mars. Amazingly she produced an entire Martian language, complete with script, vocabulary and grammar, and also drawings of the Martian scenes she witnessed. The language was later discovered to be a version of her native French, but it had been produced entirely automatically.

Flournoy thought Mlle Smith entirely sincere, but did not believe her experiences were real. He describes them as products of cryptomnesia and as a ‘romance of the subliminal imagination’. Mlle Smith considered Flournoy’s skepticism a betrayal and ended cooperation when the book was published.While Hélène Smith is well-documented, little is known of Sara Weiss other than that she was the American author of two books reporting astral journeys to Mars (or Ento in the Martian tongue): Journeys to the Planet Mars (1903), and Decimon Huydas: A Romance of Mars (1906).18 Both journeys were made with the assistance of spirit guides. Her principal guide was one Carl De L’Ester but others included such luminaries as Giordano Bruno and Alexander von Humboldt. The journeys had occurred during 1893–94 though the books were not published until a decade later.

The first book, Journeys, is a rambling, digressive travelogue with detours into spiritualist doctrine. There are sections on the Martian language and flora and several well-executed drawings of the latter. Decimon Huydas is similar but has a narrative, relating a domestic tragedy that had occurred a few hundred years earlier. Both books are informed by a contemporary understanding of Mars. Giant irrigation projects, embankments and other civil engineering projects are mentioned and there are explicit references to Schiaparelli and Flammarion.

Finally, Hugh Mansfield Robinson was a practicing solicitor who had been the Town Clerk of Shoreditch (1900–11).19 He was also a psychic and medium; his first astral visit to Mars was in 1918. His Mars was home to an advanced civilisation and on his first visit he arrived at a radio station. The Martians had a highly developed radio technology and generated hydro-electric power using waterfalls in the mountains and canals. The Martians themselves were 6–8 feet tall, with oriental features and large ears. Robinson’s guide was the Lady Oomaruru, who later turned out to be a reincarnation of Cleopatra.

During Mars’ 1926 opposition Robinson tried to validate his astral communication by also establishing radio contact with the planet. He tried sending messages using standard commercial services and equipment then available to the public. No convincing replies were received, though his efforts were widely reported in national and local newspapers. He made further attempts in 1928 and on subsequent occasions before sinking in obscurity. The idea of communicating with Mars by radio had been discussed intermittently since the turn of the century and the idea resurfaced in the early 1920s, which may have sparked Robinson’s interest. During the 1924 opposition the astronomer David Todd had organised a coordinated and widely-reported attempt to listen for signals.20

Examples from Fiction

The idea of astral communication with Martians or astral travel to the planet was not unusual in proto-science fiction of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The best-remembered of these stories is undoubtedly Edgar Rice Burroughs A Princess of Mars, first published in 1912, and its many sequels.21 In the first story the hero projects himself to Mars basically by force of will and strength of desire. There he finds a vaguely Lowellian desert world, criss-crossed by canals and inhabited by various advanced (and not so advanced) civilisations.

George du Maurier (1834–96) was a book illustrator and cartoonist best remembered for his work for Punch.22 He also wrote three novels: Peter IbItson (1891), Trilby(1894) and The Martian (published posthumously in 1897).23 Both of the two earlier novels include some supernatural elements. The Martian is largely a conventional story that tells a fictionalised version of its author’s own career. However, towards the end it is unexpectedly revealed that throughout his life the author has been unwittingly directed by a telepathic Martian. She had arrived on Earth about a hundred years earlier in a meteor shower and in the interim had tutored several earthlings. Latterly some of the Martians have taken an interest in directing suitably inclined earthlings towards an interest in and appreciation of higher things: aesthetics, philosophy etc. Du Maurier’s Mars is an aged world that is nearing the end of the period during which it can support life. The amphibious seal-like Martians live near the equator, the only part of the planet still habitable.

Richard Ganthony’s A Message from Mars (1899) was a popular and widely-performed play. Though it was first performed in 1899 the earliest reference to a printed version appears to be a revision from 1923.24 Ganthony, collaborating with the novelist Mabel Knowles, later adapted it into a novel.25 It also inspired both a spin-off by Owen Hall and a spoof by Mostyn T. Pigott, and was filmed three times, in: 1903 (New Zealand), 1913 (UK) and 1921 (US).26

The story concerns one Horace Parker, the ‘most selfish man on earth’. He is visited by a messenger from Mars, who has come to show him the error of his ways, rather in the manner of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The visitor has considerable psychic powers, and they are the means by which he journeyed to earth. The stage production was a notable success for the celebrated actor Sir Charles Hawtrey (1858-1923) who also starred in the 1913 film.

Finally To Mars via the Moon (1911) by Mark Wicks is an early space adventure.27 The narrator designs and builds a spaceship, the Areonal, in which he and two companions travel to Mars. The book was partly intended as an introduction to astronomy for younger readers and early chapters present astronomically-accurate descriptions of the Sun, Moon and Mars. Once the explorers arrive on Mars its geography is entirely Lowellian; indeed the book is dedicated to Lowell. The Martian civilisation is also similarly Lowellian: peaceful and technologically and spiritually advanced, with all the usual attributes of a literary utopia. So far, there has been no connection with spiritualism, but it turns out that the Martians, or at least some of them, are reincarnated earth-humans, and the narrator meets his dead son.

Little is known of Wicks: his only other published work is on the entirely different topic of making organs.28 However, the astronomical descriptions and familiarity with Lowell’s ideas clearly demonstrate a sound general knowledge of astronomy and the dedication and preface make it clear that he was familiar with Lowell’s books.

Discussion

Ideas of interplanetary spirit travel and reincarnation on other planets seem odd, if not ridiculous, now. However, they have a long pedigree. Following the Copernican revolution of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries the Earth and the other planets became essentially the same sort of body, all orbiting the Sun. The question of whether the other planets were inhabited then arose naturally and a tradition of the ‘plurality of worlds’ was widely, if not universally, accepted: as all the planets were God’s creation they were thought likely to be inhabited. Bernard de Fontenelle’s Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (1686) in which a philosopher discusses astronomy with a marquise as they walk in the latter’s garden under the stars effectively and eloquently spread the idea.29

The modern idea of communicating with the inhabitants of other planets begins with the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) who amongst his voluminous writings reported conversations with spirits from all the then-known planets and described the nature of each of them.30 Swedenborg’s writings remained known and he was certainly an influence on some of the authors of astral journeys. A more direct influence, however, seems likely to have been Camille Flammarion. In addition to being an influential populariser of astronomy whose books were widely read he was a firm believer in spiritualism. In this respect he differed from Percival Lowell who consistently adopted a skeptical attitude to spiritualism and an entirely materialist approach to his Martian studies. Flammarion joined the Societé Parisienne des Études Spirites as a young man and later held office in it. Towards the end of his life he was also President of the Society for Psychical Research. He regularly contributed to spiritualist journals and pamphlets. These publications discussed reincarnation on other planets and the idea features in his novels Lumen and Urania.31

The influence of Flammarion is obvious, for example, in Gustave Le Rouge’s early space adventure Prisoner of the Vampires of Mars and its sequel.32 The version of Mars that features in this story, particularly the description at the start of Chapter 8, might have been taken from one of Flammarion’s astronomy books. Le Rouge does not use reincarnation or astral travel but does introduce his own variation: his hero travels to Mars in a physical spacecraft, but it is propelled by the psychic power of Indian mystics. There are also instances of telepathy in the novels.

Hélène Smith and Theodore Flournoy were both French-speaking Swiss. Flournoy was certainly familiar with Flammarion’s work; he quotes from one of his books in From India to the Planet Mars.33 He notes that Hélène Smith moved in spiritualist circles and that, though he did not know if she had ever read an astronomy book, she was certainly familiar with Flammarion’s ideas about both astronomy and spiritualism, including reincarnation on other worlds. The question of communication with Mars was first discussed amongst Mlle Smith’s group in 1892, but there was then a gap of two years before it resurfaced.

During 1894 the circle to which Mlle Smith belonged began holding seances at the house of one M. Lemaître, who expressed an interest in knowing ‘what is happening upon other planets’. Mlle Smith was also introduced to a Mme Mirbel, a widow seeking to contact her recently deceased son, Alexis. During a seance held in October 1894 Hélène Smith relayed messages to Mme Mirbel from Alexis and a companion, Prof. Raspail. Both Alexis and Prof. Raspail were communicating from an unspecified location that was not discussed. The next seance was held the following month on 25 October. Alexis and Prof. Raspail reappear, but are now explicitly located as resident on Mars. The 1894 opposition of Mars occurred on 20 October, between these two seances. This opposition was well-placed for observation and was both anticipated and widely reported. Mlle Smith may well have read reports about it in either newspapers or periodicals and, remembering M. Lemaître’s remark earlier in the year, inserted Martian elements into her communication for Mme Mirbel. Following this episode Mlle Smith’s Martian narrative does not reappear until February 1896 when it is fully developed.

The various accounts of spiritual journeys to Mars, both purportedly real and avowedly fictional, were influenced by the contemporary understanding of the planet to varying degrees, ranging from none to re-capitualisations of astronomical texts, complete with the reproduction of maps. However, where there is astronomical influence it always followed the popular accounts of Lowell or Flammarion. I am not aware any accounts that describe the rather more inhospitable planet that had become the consensus amongst astronomers by the early twentieth century, let alone the considerably more inimical world later revealed by robotic spacecraft. This failure to find the real Mars is further convincing evidence, if such is needed, against spiritualism.

While Mars was the most common destination for spiritual interplanetary travel it was not the only one. Other examples include Flammarion’s own Lumen, where the recently deceased narrator travels to several external star systems, and the early German film Algol: Tragedy of Power (1920) which sees a visit from an extra-terrestrial, presumably from a planet orbiting the eponymous star.34

Astral journeys were not the only engagement between astronomy and spiritualism; astronomers feature amongst the membership of the Society for Psychical Research and its American counterpart, and some have served terms as President. A few have been more directly involved. For example Farie MacGeorge, Chief Observer at the Great Melbourne Telescope from 1870–73, resigned in order to be free to pursue his spiritualist interests.35 Sir William Peck (1862–1925), the respected Director of the Edinburgh City Observatory on Calton Hill, was a member of the Golden Dawn who reportedly undertook astral journeys, as did other members of the Golden Dawn.36

Finally, this discussion stops at the end of the inter-war period, but interplanetary spiritual journeys continued post-war, merging into the UFO and ‘new age’ movements. As robotic spacecraft revealed an inhospitable solar system the destinations receded to planets orbiting other stars. The Aetherius Society will serve as an example.37


 

We hope you enjoyed this article from Imagining Other Worlds. If you would like read this and the many other articles on the intersections of astronomy, history, and art, you may purchase this volume here. A limited prelaunch discount applies until July 7th!

The featured image is composite map of Mars drawn by Schiaparelli from his observations made during the six oppositions between 1877–88 (reproduced from Camille Flammarion, La planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité (Paris: Gauthier-Villars), 1892 ed., betw.  pp. 440–41.

Jenn Zahrt

Jenn Zahrt

Jenn Zahrt, PhD is an honorary research fellow at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Creative Director of the Sophia Centre Press. Her research areas include the history of astrology in early twentieth century Germany and the epistemology of astrologies. You can learn more about her work at www.jennzahrt.com
Jenn Zahrt

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  1. For a comprehensive discussion of spiritualism see Janet Oppenheim, The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England 1850–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985). For a more popular account see Ronald Pearsall, The Table Rappers (1972; repr. Stroud: Sutton, 2004). The Martian canal craze has been well-studied. Michael Crowe gives a succinct account in ‘The Battle over the Planet of War’, Chapter 9 of his The Extraterrestrial Life Debate 1750–1900 (New York: Dover, 1999), 480–546. There is also much relevant material in: O. Morton, Mapping Mars (London: Fourth Estate/HarperCollins, 2003); R. Markley, Dying Planet (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005); Robert Crossley, Imagining Mars (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2011); Maria D. Lane, Geographies of Mars (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); and H.V. Hendrix, G. Slusser and E.S. Rabkin, eds., Visions of Mars (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2011).
  2. The most comprehensive recent survey of Mars and spiritualism is Chapter 7 of Crossley, Imagining Mars, pp. 129–48. There is also useful material in Chapter 8 of Jerome Clark, Hidden Realms, Lost Civilizations and Beings from Other Worlds (Detroit: Visible Ink, 2010), pp. 129–68 and Gareth Medway, ‘Mediums, Mystics and Martians’, Magonia 99 (2009): pp. 3–9.
  3. The definitive account of the early history of observation of Mars is Camille Flammarion, La planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité (Paris: Gauthier-Villars, 1892). An English edition has recently been published: William Sheehan, ed., Camille Flammarion’s the Planet Mars, trans. Patrick Moore (New York: Springer, 2015). See also Patrick Moore, ‘The Mapping of Mars’, J. Brit. Aston. Assoc, 94 no. 2 (1984), 45-54.
  4. Michael Crowe, Extraterrestrial Life Debate, 480-546.
  5. See M. Beech, ‘Schiaparelli, Giovanni’ in the Biographical Encyclopaedia of Astronomers (henceforth BEA), T. Hockey (ed.), 2007 (New York: Springer, 2007a), 1020-1021 and also obituaries Anon., Astrophys J. 32 (1910), 313-319 and ‘E.B.K.’ (probably E.B. Knobel), Mon. Not. R. Astron Soc. 71 (1911), 282–87.
  6. [See featured image of this blog post. —Ed.] Schiaparelli produced maps for the 1877 opposition and several subsequent ones. They were originally published as memoirs of the Milan Observatory, of which he was Director, and were reproduced in Flammarion’s La planète Mars and have appeared many times since. See Sheehan, Flammarion’s Mars, 248, 258, 280–81, 288, 302–3. On-line versions are available at, for example http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.com/2008/04/channelling-Martian-maps.html [accessed 21 August 2016].
  7. Flammarion was a prolific author and wrote many popular astronomy books, including La Pluralité des Mondes Habités (Paris: Mallet-Bachelier, 1861), Les terres du ciel (Paris: Didier, 1877) and Astronomie populaire (Paris: C. Marpon et E. Flammarion, 1880). For an English-language account of his ideas about Mars see, for example, book IV, chapter IV of the English translation of Astronomie populaire: Camille Flammarion and J. Ellard Gore, Popular Astronomy: a General Description of the Heavens (Chatto and Windus: London, 1894), 373–98, especially 382 onwards. For biographical details see R. Baum, ‘Flammarion, Camille’ in BEA, 934–35 and the obituary by A.F. Miller, ‘Camille Flammarion: his Life and his Work’, J. R. Astron. Soc. Canada 19 (1925), 265–85. Lowell wrote three books setting out his ideas about Mars: Mars (Boston: Houghton Mifflin: 1895), Mars and its Canals (New York: Macmillan, 1906) and Mars as the Abode of Life (New York: Macmillan, 1908). His life and career have been well-studied. His most comprehensive biography is David Strauss’ Percival Lowell (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). More concisely, Strauss also contributed Lowell’s entry in BEA, 710–11.
  8. See Flammarion and Gore, Popular Astronomy, or Sheehan, Flammarion’s Mars, 435–41.
  9. See Janet Oppenheim, Other World or Ronald Pearsall, Table Rappers.
  10. Nandor Fodor, The Haunted Mind: a Psychoanalyst Looks at the Supernatural (New York: Helix Press, 1959), 262.
  11. For William Denton see Jerome Clark, Hidden Realms, 142-143, 151. For additional details see the biographical note prepared by the Wellesley Historical Society and available at http://www.wellesleyhistoricalsociety.org/documents/Denton%20Family%20Papers%20-%20Research%20Guide.pdf [accessed 21 August 2016].
  12. William and Elizabeth M.F. Denton, The Soul of Things: or Psychometric Researches and Discoveries (Boston: Walker Wise and Co, 1863); William and Elizabeth M.F. Denton, The Soul of Things: or Psychometric Researches and Discoveries II (Wellesley, Mass: E.M.F. Denton, 1873) and William and Elizabeth M.F. Denton, The Soul of Things: or Psychometric Researches and Discoveries III (Wellesley, Mass: E.M.F. Denton, 1874).
  13. Daniel Paul Schreber, Denkwürdigkeiten eines Nervenkranken (1903); edition consulted: Ida Macalpine and Richard Hunter (eds, trans.), Memoirs of my Nervous Illness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). Alex Pheby’s recent novel Playthings (Norwich: Galley Beggar, 2015) is a fictional account of Schreber’s case.
  14. Sigmund Freud, The Schreber Case, trans. Andrew Webber (London: Penguin, 2002).
  15. Schreber, Memoirs, p. 88.
  16. See Ronald Earl Goldsmith, The Life and Work of Theodore Flournoy, 1854–1920, 1979, PhD Thesis, Michigan State University, Dept. of History; and James Witzig, ‘Theodore Flournoy, A Friend Indeed’, J. Ann. Psychology, 27 (1982), pp. 131-48.
  17. Théodore Flournoy, Des Indes à la planète Mars: étude sur un cas de somnambulisme avec glossolalie (Paris: F. Alcan ; Geneva: Ch. Eggimann, 1900). English edition (somewhat abridged): From India to the planet Mars: a Study of a Case of Somnambulism with Glossolalia, trans. Daniel B. Vermilye (New York; London: Harper & Bros, 1900). See https://archive.org/details/cu31924022985299 [accessed 21 August 2016].
  18. Sara Weiss, Journeys to the Planet Mars; Or, ‘Our mission to Ento’ (New York: The Bradford Press, 1903); Decimon Hûŷdas: A Romance of Mars (Rochester, NY: The Austin Publishing Co., 1906). A review of the former appeared in the New York Times, 19 December 1903, available at http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/nytarchive.html [accessed 21 August 2016].
  19. Nandor Fodor, Haunted Mind, ‘Interplanetary Fantasies’, pp. 259–69.
  20. Steven J. Dick, The Biological Universe: the Twentieth-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 401–10.
  21. Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars (Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1917). Originally serialised under the pseudonym Norman Bean and title ‘Under The Moons of Mars’ in The All-Story magazine, beginning February 1912.
  22. Leonée Ormond, ‘Du Maurier, George Louis Palmella Busson (1834–1896)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, October 2008, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/8194, [accessed 21 August 2016].
  23. George Du Maurier, The Martian (London: Harper & Bros., 1897).
  24. Richard Ganthony A Message from Mars (New York: Samuel French, 1923).
  25. Richard Ganthony and Lester Lurgan, Message from Mars (London: Greening & Co, 1912). Lester Lurgan was a pseudonym for the novelist Mabel Knowles (1875–1949).
  26. Owen Hall, The Silver Slipper: a Modern Extravaganza (London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1901); Mostyn T. Pigott, ‘The Messenger from Mars’, The World Christmas number, 1900 (London) 5-17; The British Film Institute has recently released a full restoration of the 1913 version: A Message from Mars, dir. J. Wallett Waller. See: http://player.bfi.org.uk/film/watch-a-message-from-mars-1913/ [accessed 21 August 2016].
  27. Mark Wicks, To Mars via the Moon: an Astronomical Story (London: Seeley & Co, 1911).
  28. Mark Wicks, Organ Building for Amateurs. A Practical Guide for Home-workers (London: Ward, Lock and Co. Ltd, 1887).
  29. Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds, 1686). Three English translations appeared within a couple of years of the French original. The second of these, by playwright and author Aphra Behn, has recently been republished: Bernard de Fontenelle, A Discovery of New Worlds, trans. Aphra Behn (London: Hesperus, 2012).
  30. Swedenborg’s extra-terrestrial visitations were originally collected as De Telluribus in Mondo Nostro Solari (1758), which was largely extracted from his earlier Arcana Caelestia (1749–56). For a modern English translation see E. Swedenborg, The Worlds in Space, trans. J. Chadwick (London: The Swedenborg Society, 1997). For a general introduction to Swedenborg see, for example, G. Lachman, Into the Interior: Discovering Swedenborg (London: The Swedenborg Society, 2006).
  31. Camille Flammarion, ‘Lumen’ in Recits de L’Infini (Stories of Infinity, 1872). A modern English edition is available: Lumen, trans. Brian Stableford (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2002). Camille Flammarion, Uranie (1889), trans. Mary J. Serrano (New York: Cassell, 1890).
  32. Gustave Le Rouge, Le Prisonnier de la Planête Mars (Paris: Méricault, 1908) and La Guerre des vampires (Paris: Méricault, 1909). A recent English translation of both novels is available: Prisoner of the Vampire of Mars, trans. David Beus and Brian Evenson (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2015).
  33. Théodore Flournoy, From India to the planet Mars, pp. 139–53.
  34. Hans Werckmeister, Algol. Tragödie der Macht (Algol: Tragedy of Power, 1920).
  35. Richard Gillespie, The Great Melbourne Telescope (Melbourne: Museum Victoria, 2011).
  36. For brief biographical details of Sir William Peck see Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 Biographical Index Part Two, available online: https://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp2.pdf [accessed 21 August 2016]. For Peck and the Golden Dawn see Murphy Pizza and James R. Lewis, eds., Handbook of Contemporary Paganism (Leiden: Brill), p. 33. For the Golden Dawn and astral travel see Alex Owen, The Place of Enchantment: British Occultism and the Culture of the Modern (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
  37. The Aetherius Society, http://www.aetherius.org/ [accessed 21 August 2016].

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