Bray, Charles (1811–1884)
British philosopher and author born in Coventry, England,
on January 31, 1811. His father was a ribbon manufacturer and
he too learned the trade, taking over the business in 1835. As
a young man he became interested in many social issues and
established an infants’ school in one of Coventry’s poorest
neighborhoods. At that time he also began writing.
Bray wrote The Philosophy of Necessity (1841) and several volumes
touching on Spiritualistoccult themes. In On Force, its
Mental and Moral Correlates; and on that which is Supposed to Underlie
All Phenomena; with Speculations on Spiritualism, and other
Abnormal Conditions of Mind (1866), Bray postulated that the
force which produced the phenomena of Spiritualism is ‘‘an
emanation from all brains, the medium increasing its density
so as to allow others present to come into communion with it;
and the intelligence new to every one present is that of some
brain in the distance acting through this source upon the mind
of the medium, or others of the circle.’’ He also spoke of ‘‘a
mental or thought atmosphere the result of cerebration, but
devoid of consciousness till it becomes reflected in our own organisations.’’
In The Science of Man (1868), he dealt with the occult
powers of man.
A few weeks before his death on October 5, 1884, he wrote
as part of a postscript to Phases of Opinion and Experience, ‘‘For
fifty years and more I have been an unbiassed and an unprejudiced
seeker after truth, and the opinions I have come to however
different from those usually held, I am not now, at the last
hour, disposed to change. They have done to live by, they will
do to die by.’’

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