A new article in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences will interest AHP readers: “Julian Ochorowicz’s experiments with Eusapia Palladino 1894: The temporality of mass media and the crisis of local credibility,” Jan Surman. Abstract:
Julian Ochorowicz (1850–1917) belonged to the first generation of psychologists who regarded this discipline as a scientific, positive endeavor. At the same time, he was a representative of psychic sciences, following a strictly positivist attitude to researching psychic phenomena. This article discusses the key event of his career, experiments with the famous medium Eusapia Palladino, in Warsaw, between late 1893 and early 1894. Ochorowicz’s séances with Palladino attracted wide local and international attention and improved his standing as an internationally leading psychic researcher. In Warsaw, however, these experiments were fiercely controversial and, as a result, Ochorowicz was discredited and left the city. As I argue, this dissociation of credibilities was the outcome of a changing media landscape in the late nineteenth century. While Ochorowicz’s strategy of boundary-work and asserting his credibility aimed at scholarly media, it proved fatal when facing intensive, daily coverage in the popular press.