Physiology of the haunted mind: naturalistic theories of apparitions in early nineteenth-century Scotland

Bill Jenkins*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a resurgence of interest in the supernatural in Scotland as elsewhere in the United Kingdom. A number of intellectual figures responded by proposing naturalistic explanations for supernatural phenomena, drawing on the legacy of Scottish Enlightenment philosophy. These included the geologist and antiquarian Samuel Hibbert and the phrenologist George Combe. This paper explores the interrelations between these theories, their roots in the troubled cultural politics of Scotland in the early nineteenth century, and the reaction of different protagonists in the cultural conflicts of the period to their ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-597
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of the History of Ideas
Volume81
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2020

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