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Frank Podmore

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Frank Podmore
BornFrank Podmore
February 5, 1856
Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England
DiedAugust 14, 1910 (age 54)
Malvern, Worcestershire, England

Frank Podmore (1856–1910) was an English author, and founding member of the Fabian Society. He is best known as an influential member of the Society for Psychical Research and for his sceptical writings on Spiritualism.


Born at Elstree, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, he was educated at Haileybury and Pembroke College, Oxford (where he first became interested in Spiritualism and joined the Society for Psychical Research – this interest remained with him throughout his life).

He was a member of the Oxford Phasmatological Society which dissolved in 1885.

Podmore who considered most mediums fraudulent, was open minded about the telepathic hypothesis for Leonora Piper's séances. Podmore was critical of Helena Blavatsky and her claims of Theosophy. He evaluated poltergeist cases and concluded they are best explained by deception and trickery.

Podmore did defend the validity of telepathy and ghosts, the latter of which he believed to be "telepathic hallucinations."



  • Phantasms of the Living (1886, written with Frederick Myers and Edmund Gurney).
  • The Government Organisation of Unemployed Labour (1886).
  • Apparitions and Thought-Transference (1892).
  • Studies in Psychical Research (1897).
  • Modern Spiritualism (1902). Reprinted as Mediums of the 19th Century, vols. 1 & 2.
  • The Naturalisation of the Supernatural (1908).
  • Mesmerism and Christian Science (1909).
  • Telepathic Hallucinations: The New View of Ghosts (1909).
  • The Newer Spiritualism (1910).


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