Morselli, Enrico (1852–1929)
Born July 17, 1852, Enrico Morselli was a professor of psychiatry
at the University of Turin and after 1889 at Genoa University.
He had been a bitter skeptic of psychic phenomena and
had published several books including Il magnetismo animale; La
fascinazione e gli stati ipnotici (1886) and I fenomei telepatici e le allucinazioni
veridiche (1897). However, his encounter with the
medium Eusapia Palladino (later revealed to have been falsified)
completely convinced him of the reality of Spiritualist
phenomena. He held some 30 sittings with Palladino in 1901–2
and 1906–7. He announced his change of thinking in 1907 in
the Annals of Psychic Science (vol. 5, 1907, p. 322)
‘‘The question of Spiritism has been discussed for over 50
years; and although no one can at present foresee when it will
be settled, all are now agreed in assigning to it great importance
among the problems left as a legacy by the nineteenth
century to the twentieth.
‘‘If for many years academic science has depreciated the
whole category of facts that Spiritism has, for good or ill, rightly
or wrongly, absorbed and assimilated, to form the elements of
its doctrinal system, so much the worse for science! And worse
still for the scientists who have remained deaf and blind before
all the affirmations, not of credulous sectarians, but of serious
and worthy observers such as Crookes, Lodge and Richet. I am
not ashamed to say that I myself, as far as my modest power
went, have contributed to this obstinate skepticism, up to the
day on which I was enabled to break the chains in which my absolutist
preconceptions had bound my judgment.’’
The next year he published an account of his sightings in
the book Psicologia e Spiritismo. Here he presented his psychodynamic
theory of materialization phenomena as a compromise
between psychological orthodoxy and the spirit theory.
Morselli died February 18, 1929, in Genoa, Italy.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Morselli, Enrico. I fenomei telepatici e le allucinazioni veridiche.
N.p., 1897.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.

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