Books by Harry
Harry Price considered his collaboration with Dr Eric. J. Dingwall on the facsimile edition of Revelations of a Spirit Medium in 1922 as his "first psychic work". This coincided with his report into the exposure of the notorious spirit photographer William Hope of the Crewe Circle being published in the May Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. The following month Price made a reprint of his Cold Light on Spiritualistic Phenomena as a separate edition in order to give the Hope exposure a wider audience. This slim red volume & his republication of the obscure American work into fraudulent séance room practices started Harry Price on the road of psychic journalism which would end successfully twenty-four years later with his second volume on the hauntings at Borley Rectory. This section of the website looks at Harry Price's major written contributions to psychical research and includes his books, book-length reports and published pamphlets as separate from his articles & essays in magazines, newspapers & scientific journals. Several were issued as publications by the National Laboratory of Psychical Research & the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation. The books are listed in chronological order and are written entirely by Price unless stated otherwise. Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.
Images of several copies of the following titles signed & inscribed by Price to fellow magicians and psychical researchers can be viewed by clicking here.
The original edition of Revelations of a Spirit Medium was published in 1891 in America by Farrington & Co. of St. Paul, Minnesota. The actual authorship of the book is somewhat obscure as several names have been put forward. Hereward Carrington initially thought the author to be a medium called Mansfield but in 1908 he published an article in the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research & in it named another medium called Donovan as the writer. This is the author that Eric J. Dingwall & Harry Price favour for reasons they cite in their Bibliographical Note. However, there is other evidence that the book may be the work of two people, Charles F. Pidgeon & a 'spirit photographer' Frank N. Foster. Dingwall & Price's reissue is a photographic facsimile of the original - Harry Price possessed two copies of the rare first edition in his library & one copy was sacrificed in order for this new volume to be made. The Revelations of a Spirit Medium was a devastating exposé of the fraudulent séance room practices of bogus mediums operating in America towards the end of the nineteenth century. Apparently many copies were bought up by the mediums themselves & destroyed with the result that the first edition of the book is exceedingly rare. Dingwall & Price considered that the resurgence of interest in spiritualism in the years following the First World War would undoubtedly be accompanied by an increase in the activity of bogus psychics and they decided to republish the work in order to educate people into the ways of the fakers. To the original text which was reproduced in its entirety our dynamic duo added an extensive bibliography, a set of notes on the text & a glossary of terms.
Cold Light on Spiritualistic "Phenomena" - An Experiment with the Crewe Circle (Reprinted with a Preface from the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research for May 1922. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1922. 15pp.)
On February 3rd 1922, Harry Price kept an appointment at the British College of Psychic Science with the now notorious spirit photographer William Hope. He took with him a prepared set of photographic plates which enabled him to subsequently prove that the photograph taken at the sitting that day which showed a spirit form in the picture with him was a fake & that Hope was a fraud. Price published a report on his 'experiment' in the May issue of the Journal of the S.P.R. and it was reprinted soon after as a separate hard-backed pamphlet so that people other than those of the Society could be given as Price says in his Preface "a useful lesson in the observation of alleged psychic photography". In his report Price published the photographs taken by Hope as well as the design of the markings which were X-rayed onto his plates before the sitting. Click here for the complete online paper.
Stella C. A Page of Psychic History compiled from the Records of Thirteen Sittings (John M. Watkins, 1924. 32pp.)
This appears to be a pamphlet on the Stella C sittings which was published a year before the Hurst & Blackett edition (see below). Information on this work will be added when it becomes available.
Harry Price published the results of the thirteen séances which comprised the first of the three series of sittings he had with the English psychic Stella Cranshaw in book form in 1925. In this book he established the format of his presentation of the procedures & protocols of his experimental work by describing the layout of the séance room, the precautions taken to eliminate fraud, technical information on the instruments used during the sittings (in this case this included two devices which he designed himself specifically for the occasion) and details of the events of the individual sittings themselves. The book was reprinted by the Souvenir Press in 1973 with an Introduction by James Turner.
Comprehensive report on the visit paid to the National Laboratory by the Rumanian 'Poltergeist Girl' Eleonore Zügen in September and October 1926. This is the first part of the first volume of National Laboratory's Proceedings which does not appear to have continued beyond the initial volume.
This is the catalogue of Price's books on magic and the occult which became the Research Library of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research and later that of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation.
This book covers the first two series of sittings which Rudi Schneider gave at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research in Queensberry Place, South Kensington in April 1929 and between November 1929 & January 1930. The report is a minute-by-minute record on each of the sittings (twenty-six in total) reproduced from the notes taken down on each occasion by Lucy Kaye, Price's secretary. The layout of the séance room is described together with a large amount of technical information on the electric system of controlling the medium which Price developed from the techniques he saw employed by Baron von Schrenck-Notzing in Munich, to whom the book is dedicated.
On Monday May 4th 1931 the Scottish-born physical medium Helen Duncan visited the National Laboratory & gave the first of five sittings. She was highly regarded in spiritualistic circles so the publication of this report by Harry Price was greeted with outrage by her supporters. The Bulletin contains detailed protocols of each of the séances together with extensive photographs of the medium & her alleged phenomena (including 13 stereograms which when placed in a suitable viewer created a three-dimensional image) together with the technical analysis of the 'teleplasm' which was collected during the fifth séance. Price also includes an account of some famous regugitators from the past with illustrations drawn from books in his own library.
This book-length report of the third series of sittings that Rudi Schneider held at the National Laboratory of Psychical Research between February & May 1932 was published on March 6th the following year. In this report Harry Price published the controversial evidence that he had caught Rudi breaking control during the twenty-fifth séance and the timing of its publication & the report's contents caused bitter rows between Price & several members of the Council of the National Laboratory. The Bulletin follows the same pattern of previous documents & gives a minute-by-minute account of the twenty-seven sittings together with technical details of the equipment used & extensive photographs taken during the séances.
By 1933, Price obviously considered that it was time to write a résumé of the major investigations he had been involved with since the establishment of the National Laboratory ten years earlier. The result was his Leaves from a Psychist's Case-Book which covers all his important cases to date including the spirit photographer William Hope, Stella C, the Schneider brothers, Joanna Southcott's box, Helen Duncan, Eleonore Zungun, the R.101 séance with Eileen Garrett, his tempestuous relations with Conan-Doyle as well as several other mediums who had crossed his path at that time.
Harry Price continued to express his views that the mediumship of Rudi Schneider was subjective by devoting another publication of the National Laboratory to the Austrian psychic soon after his initial exposure was published in Bulletin IV. This report comprises a review of the séances carried out with Rudi in Vienna in 1923 & 1924 by Professor Stefan Meyer and Professor Karl Przibram. During their sittings they found that Rudi was able to evade their control procedures & free a hand during a séance although their findings were not published at the time. Price also includes in this Bulletin the Vienna professors' opinions on how Rudi was able to simulate levitation in the séance room by natural means and articles from two Viennese newspapers which charge Rudi with fraudulent practices. Click here for the complete online paper.
On Wednesday, October 18th, 1933, a dinner was organised by the National Laboratory at the Hôtel Splendide in Piccadilly to entertain M. René Sudre the French scientist & physicist. The diners included psychical researchers as well as orthodox scientists, together with the editors of The Listener & The Spectator magazines and the spiritualist newspaper Light. The Chairman for the evening was C.E.M. Joad who had accompanied Price to the Brocken the previous year. The evening was the initiative of Harry Price with the intention of trying to emphasize to official science the importance of psychical research & to stress the need for more research work into the paranormal being carried out in Britain's universities. The Bulletin is a record of the evening's events including transcriptions of the various addresses which were delivered which included Joad, René Sudre, Sir Richard Gregory and R.S. Lambert.
Exhibition of Rare Works from the Research Library of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, from 1490 to the Present Day - Foreword by Harry Price (University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, 1934. 48pp. with 8 illustrations)
On Thursday December 6th 1934, the offices of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation at Roland Gardens, South Kensington were opened for a week to the public. The event was an exhibition of 500 rare works chosen from the Research Library of Price's organisation & a catalogue was produced especially for the occasion listing all the items on display to which Harry Price added a foreword. These included books on survival & witchcraft, privately printed works on spiritualism and rare volumes on legerdemain, charlatanism and ghosts.
Supplement to Short-Title Catalogue of Research Library From 1472 A.D. to the Present Day (Bulletin I of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, 1935. 112pp. with 9 illustrations)
The National Laboratory of Psychical Research had become the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation by the time that Harry Price up-dated the catalogue of his library, exactly six years after the publication of the initial volume. The full title of this book is Supplement to Short-Title Catalogue of Works on Psychical Research, Alleged Abnormal Phenomena, Spiritualism, Magic, Witchcraft, Legerdemain, Charlatanism and Astrology.
A Report on Two Experimental Fire-Walks (Bulletin II of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, 1936. 15pp. with 20 illustrations and a Bibliography)
At a meeting of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation held on 17th October 1934, the subject of fire-walking was discussed, the result of which was that Price's organisation decided to investigate the subject. The person who eventually undertook the testing in two experiments held at Carshalton in Surrey was the young Indian Kuda Bux, known under his 'professional' name of Professor K.B. Duke. Price's report covers the protocols of the tests and reproduces the photographs taken by The Times newspaper.
In February 1936, Harry Price published another compilation of his adventures aimed at the popular market. Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter was a survey of some of the interesting cases which had taken place since his Leaves from a Psychist's Case-Book had appeared four years earlier, as well as including an investigation of an allegedly haunted mansion from the days of his youth. The investigations covered include the Talking Mongoose, Kuda Bux's eyeless sight & fire-walking feats, his last series of sittings with Rudi Schneider and although heavily disguised, an account of his first two visits to Borley Rectory in June 1929 & October 1931. In the first edition of Confessions the last line of the chapter dealing with Borley (which states that at that time Price was of the opinion that the supernatural played no part in the alleged haunting of the Rectory) was omitted in subsequent editions in case the Foysters took objection to Price's views.
In the summer of 1935, Harry Price visited the Isle of Man in the company of R.S. Lambert who was then the current editor of The Listener magazine. The object of their visit was to investigate the claims of the Irving family who lived in a remote farmhouse at Cashen's Gap in the centre of the island. The Irvings had hit the headlines at the beginning of the 1930s with their story of a strange talking mongoose called Gef which had decided to haunt their farm, becoming attached to the Irving's young daughter Voirrey. During the time of Price & Lambert's visit there was no sign of Gef. However hair samples which the Irving's claimed belonged to the creature turned out to be identical to the coat of the Irving sheep dog Mona. Price was able to collaborate with Lambert & produce a monograph on this bizarre case which was published the following year.
The Alleged Haunting at B----- Rectory - Instructions for Observers (University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, 1937)
This is the famous 'Blue Book' of instructions which Harry Price gave to each of the forty eight investigators during his year long tenancy of Borley Rectory which began on 19th May 1937. The book describes the protocols required when visiting the Rectory in the capacity of an official observer of the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, in connection with vigils inside the building & within its grounds, report writing & procedures for dealing with phenomena. The pamphlet also gives a résumé of all the principle paranormal events which had been reported as having occurred in or around the former Bull residence over the years & this was seized upon by Price's critics after his death as his way of using the powers of suggestion in order to influence his observers into reporting things which he could subsequently use to his advantage when writing about the case after the tenancy had come to an end.
In 1937 the Department of Psychology headed by Dr. J.B. Rhine at Duke University in America issued an official set of Zener cards for the testing of extra-sensory perception. When Harry Price received a set he found that because of the particular design which had been used on the reverse it was possible for someone being tested for E.S.P. to recognise some of the symbols on the cards from their backs. Price decided to produce his own set of cards which could not be read easily in this way and the backs of which were the same whichever way up the cards were held. The result was his 'Telepatha cards' which were made by Messrs. Waddington & subsequently marketed by Messrs. George Newnes Ltd of London. The cards had the standard Zener symbols (rectangle, star, plus sign, circle & wavy lines) on their faces while the reverse side had an impenetrable 'dazzle' design. The slim box for these cards also contained a set of printed instructions & a score sheet. Click here for the complete instructions online.
This book is the result of Price's intention to write a continuation of Frank Podmore's Modern Spiritualism which was published in 1902 and is a standard work on the paranormal of the period to which it relates, namely the latter years of the nineteenth century. Price details the beginnings of organised research with the history of the foundation of the Society for Psychical Research as well as describing the many types of paranormal phenomena (physical as well as mental) which have been investigated over the years. He covers several of his own cases including the Schneider brothers, Stella C, the 'Rosalie' materialisation and the fire-walking experiments as well as giving a history of the formation of his own National Laboratory of Psychical Research.
Christmas Ghosts (St. Hugh's Press Ltd, London, 1939) A short commentary by Price on aspects of his ghost hunting adventures which took place during or around the Christmas period. They include part of his tenancy of Borley Rectory, a New Year visit to Austria, sittings with Rudi Schneider and the 'Parton Magna' ghost which Price attempted to photograph in his youth. Also included are brief chapters on the association of the supernatural with Christmas time and Charles Dickens's creation of the Christmas ghost story tradition. A rare title which was part of a series of similar short books with a seasonal theme.
Harry Price's most famous book about his most famous case. Price used the confidential report known as the 'Locked Book' compiled by Sidney H. Glanville, one of his official observers during the 1937-38 tenancy, as part of the case material when writing this, his first book on the Rectory hauntings, as well as his own observations & experiences which date back to June 1929. He covers the history of the Rectory from the days of the Bulls through to the incumbencies of the Smiths & the Foysters, his own tenancy, the fire of February 1939 and the period following the destruction of the building up until the publication of the book in October 1940.
Price's next book following the publication of The Most Haunted House in England was his autobiography Search for Truth. All his famous & most important adventures previously related in Leaves from a Psychist's Case-Book and the Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter are included as well as his early days, his interests in archaeology and coin-collecting, his early involvement with conjuring & spiritualism and the foundation of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research. Although he does not state it, Price gives the impression in this book of memoirs that he was born in Shropshire and that his father was the owner of a paper manufacturing business. He was actually born in Holborn in London and his father was a travelling salesman, a profession which Price himself adopted until his marriage in 1908. These facts were seized upon by Price's chief detractor Trevor Hall who wrote a scathing series of essays which were published collectively in 1978.
An online version of Search for Truth is now in preparation. Click here for the Preface and the available chapters.
An extensive study of poltergeist phenomena which covers many historical cases researched from Price’s own extensive occult library such as the Tedworth Drummer, Hinton Ampner, Willington Mill & the Bealings Bells as well as featuring cases with which Harry Price had personal involvement, namely Stella C, Eleonore Zungun, the Battersea poltergeist house & Borley Rectory.
Price’s second Borley monograph (as he described it) proved to be his last book as he died while a third study of the haunted Rectory was in preparation. The End of Borley Rectory carried on from where Price left off in 1940 and covers the events which followed on from the fire of February 1939 – most notably the discovery of human remains in the ruined cellars in 1943 & Canon W.J. Pythian-Adams’s all-embracing theory concerning the nun Marie Lairre brought to England from Le Havre & subsequently murdered by a member of the Waldegrave family in the seventeenth century, as well as visits to the Rectory site by a group of Polish officers, the reports of the ‘Cambridge Commission’ of undergraduates who carried out investigations in the ruins over a five year period and the notorious ‘flying brick’ episode.
A Caccia Degli Spiriti Italian translation of Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter (Ulrico Hoepli, Milan, 1937. VII+432pp.)
Een Parapsycholoog Vertelt Zijn Ervaringen Dutch edition of Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter. Edited by Dr. W.H.C. Tenhaeff. Translated by Yge Foppems (Erven J. Bijleveld, Utrecht, 1936. 253pp.)
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