Bozzano, Ernesto (1862–1943)
The dean of Italian psychic researchers and Spiritualists
during the formative years of psychic research. His attention
was first directed to psychic phenomena in 1891 by Prof. Theodore
Ribot, who forwarded to him the first number of the Annales
des Sciences Psychique. He accompanied Profs. Enrico Morselli
and Porro at many sittings with Eusapia Palladino and
ended by accepting the spiritualistic hypothesis and by becoming
a most prolific writer on psychic subjects. He wrote over two
dozen books and contributed, for a period of 30 years, hundreds
of articles to the Luce e Ombra and the Revue spirite. His
psychic library at Savona was believed to be unique.
He summarized his belief
‘‘Whoever, instead of losing himself in idle discussions, undertakes
systematic and deep researches in metaphysical phenomena,
and who perseveres in them for long years, accumulating
immense material in happenings and applying to these
the methods of scientific inquiry, must, without fail, end by convincing
himself that metaphysical phenomena constitute an admirable
assemblage of proofs, all converging as to a centre toward
the rigorously scientific demonstration of the existence
and of the survival of the Spirit. This is my firm conviction, and
I do not doubt that time will show that I am right.’’
Having accepted the Spiritualist explanation of mediumship,
Bozzano was looked upon by his English contemporaries
as much too uncritical. In 1930 Theodore Besterman wrote a
scathing criticism of Bozzano’s reports of sittings in his home.
(Besterman’s article led Spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to
resign from the Society for Psychical Research.) In retrospect,
however, his methodology of gathering numerous reports of
sittings and subjecting them to comparative analysis has been
more fully understood and appreciated.
Bozzano’s pioneer researches have not been fully recognized
outside Europe, because most of his many books have not
been translated into English. Among the few available to English-speaking
readers are Animism and Spiritism (1932), Polyglot
Bottle Imps Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
Mediumship (1932), and Discarnate Influence in Human Life
(1938). Bozzano also contributed a preface and articles to Modern
Psychic Mysteries by Gwendolyn K. Hack (1929).
Alvarado, C. S. ‘‘The Life and Work of an Italian Psychical
Researcher; A Review of Ernesto Bozzano La Vite a l’Opera by
Giovanni Iannuzzo.’’ Journal of the American Society for Psychical
Research 81 (1987) 37.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Bozzano, Ernesto. Polyglot Mediumship. London Rider,