In the past due 18th century, it appeared as even though technology would be a bulwark in opposition to the mystics and charlatans. Female Witch A 1784 French fee, which blanketed Antoine Lavoisier and Benjamin Franklin, become charged with assessing the claims of the German physician Franz Anton Mesmer that he ought to control a pressure referred to as “animal magnetism” for clinical and paranormal ends. The fee concluded that there has been nothing in it. And in 1853 Michael Faraday disregarded the fashion for “desk turning” (a kind of séance) as a myth produced by way of involuntary motions.
Yet as the enthusiasm for spiritualism, theosophy and different mystical moves gathered pace inside the latter 1/2 of that century, scientists – and mainly physicists – more and more lent their careful assist. It’s no longer completely clean why this became so, however 3 key elements were in all likelihood at play. First, the secularization and materialism of clinical thought left devout Christians which include Maxwell and Rayleigh uneasy. They started to are looking for ways to rescue articles of religion, which includes the immortal soul, from the strictures of physical regulation.
Second, overdue-19th-century physics more and more revealed invisible forces, emanations and impacts: electromagnetic waves (studied by way of Maxwell and Lodge), cathode rays (Thomson and Crookes), X-rays and radioactivity (the Curies). These developments in technology itself left its proponents ever less positive approximately what changed into, and turned into no longer, bodily viable. The ether, concept to be the carrier of Maxwell’s waves, turned into extensively suspected of being a “bridge among worlds”, able to transmitting facts from some unseen realm (where possibly tenuous but clever beings existed) to our mundane sphere.
The 1/3 factor was new telecommunications technologies – such as the telegraph (which Varley helped broaden) and the radio waves found through Heinrich Hertz in 1887 and soon used for transatlantic messaging. Together, they confirmed that it clearly turned into feasible to transmit “voices” invisibly and wirelessly over superb distances. If you could ship them between London and New York, why now not among the dwelling and the useless?