As many of you know “ghost hunters,” “spirit investigators” and “spook hunters” have been around for many years. Little did I know that there was a society out of London focused heading most of these investigations. This article was found on GenealgoyBank.com and was from the Trenton Evening Times paper out of Trenton, New Jersey and appeared in November of 1906. There are many names mentioned in this article and some might surprise you.
WELL PAID WORKERS
They Verify Ghost Stories and
Run Down Visitors from
Chicago, Ill. Nov. 23. –Surely one of the most unusual businesses is that of a ghost detector. There are hundreds of them scattered thoughtout the world. There are a few in Chicago and all of them, both in this country and abroad, work under the direction and for the power and glory of an association in England that is backed by some of the most conservative and best known scientists and thinkers in the United Kingdom.
A ghost detector is an investigator for the Society for Physical Research, which was founded in London in 1882. The society, which already has published twenty-on octavo volumes of proceedings, in addition to bales and bales of records of investigations made by the ghost detectors, has had as its presidents men like the Rt. Hon. O.J. Balfour, late Prime Minister of England; Professor William James, the noted psychologist of Harvard University, and brother of the mystical Henry James; Sir William Crookes, of Crookes tube fame and Professor Henry Sidgwick, a philosopher, whose book, “The Method of Ethics,” is a standard.
Now, these men are not to be fooled by the ordinary or garden variety of ghost story. A ghost story has to be well ballasted and well buttressed to receive credence at their hands, and it is to sift the wheat from the chaff, to throw the bad ghost stories into the discard and place the real, genuine ones in the best possible light that there is in existence a class of workers whose work deals not with men of flesh and blood and has little to do with material tangible things.
LARGE SUMS EXPENDED
It is the business of these investigators to run down every case of apparition, ghost walking, presentiment, materialization, ghost photographs, telepathy and the like that they hear of. Expenses is no object. Each investigation costs money, but influenced by a sincere desire to get to the bottom of every story of the other world and it knows that such inquiries cost money. One of the men who has contributed liberally to the work of the society is Andrew Lang, the champion two-handed author of the world who writes as much in England as the Rev. Cyrus Townsend Brady does in this country.
Every time that the officials of the Society for Physical Research hear of any extraordinary ghost story or other story that has to do with the supernatural they dispatch an investigator –a ghost detector – to the scene. It is difficult to deceive this personage. He has read about all there is to read of ghost lore. He enjoys the personal acquaintance of many persons who have seen ghosts or who have thought that they have seen them. He knows mediums, trance artists, materialists, hypnotists and other artists in spiritualism and its kindred pursuits, and what he doesn’t know about the inhabitants of the spirit would isn’t worth knowing.
He investigates. It doesn’t make any difference how long it takes him. Neither time nor money is considered when the cause of truth is at stake. He stays on the ground until he has gathered every bit of available evidence, until he has interviewed everybody who by any chance might know anything about the case.
Then he prepares a long written report full of signed statements and circumstantial detail, and this he mails back to London. It is gone over by other experts and if there is anything in it worthy of preservation in the archives of the society it is filed away along with the reports made by the hundreds of other investigators.