Charles Smith (Western Kentucky University): "Arthur Conan Doyle and Alfred Russel Wallace: The Science and Spiritualism Connection"
Daniel Stashower: "Infinitely The Most Important Thing in the World: Conan Doyle and the Spiritualist Crusade"
In the 1880s, Arthur Conan Doyle became interested in Spiritualism - the belief that spirits of the dead have the ability and desire to communicate with the living. In 1893, Doyle joined the British Society for Psychical Research, a society that investigated scientifically the claims of Spiritualism and other paranormal phenomena. Other members of the Society included the future Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, philosopher William James, and naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace. Along with holding numerous séances to communicate with members of his family killed in World War I, Doyle also wrote over twenty works on the subject of Spiritualism. Our two speakers at this year's symposium will discuss the connection between Spiritualism and science, as well as Doyle's interest in the phenomenon.