Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The comforts of spiritualism

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e3316 (Published 11 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3316
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Poor Sir Oliver Lodge! An eminent physicist, pioneer of radio, competitor with Marconi, he is remembered today, if at all, mainly for having been a propagandist for spiritualism. His best known book, Raymond or Life and Death, first published in 1916 and subsequently reprinted many times, recounts his efforts to get in posthumous touch with his son, Raymond, who was killed at Ypres in 1915.

Sir Oliver’s pain at losing his son clearly was assuaged by what he thought was evidence of Raymond’s continued existence on “the other side,” and his book, which came with all the authority of a celebrated fellow of the Royal Society, was just what tens of thousands of bereaved parents, for obvious reasons, wanted …

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