Philadelphia: Franklin Institute, 1853. 1st Edition. 1853 PAPER BY MICHAEL FARADAY (reprinted from the London Athenaeum) PROVING THAT THE SUPERNATURAL PHENOMENA OF TABLE-TURNING HAPPENS AS THE RESULT OF PARTICIPANTS UNCONSCIOUSLY MOVING THE TABLES THEMSELVES. This remains the accepted explanation today.
“Table-turning was among the many supernatural phenomena that caught the public’s attention during the 19th century. Similar to the movement of the planchette during a Ouija board séance, a table would begin moving among the participants sitting around it.
“Michael Faraday came out in public against table-turning and all supernatural séance activities. He censured both the public and the British education system for buying into it. But many continued to attribute these table movements to an invisible force, like electricity or magnetism.
“Always the scientist, Faraday tried using a variety of insulators, such as wood and rubber, to interfere with the table’s movement, and observed no difference in the movement. He concluded that no special force was at work. Finally, in 1853 [and presented in this paper] Faraday conducted an experiment proving (to him and most other scientists) that table-turning was the result of participants’ ideomotor action” (MIT Special Collections). As he wrote, "tables are moved simply by unconscious muscular action, having nothing to do with electricity, magnetism, attraction, or any unknown force whatever, much less, as some have boldly asserted, the motion of the earth, or supernatural agency” (Faraday, 1853). Again, this remains the accepted explanation today. Item #1136
CONDITION & DETAILS: Philadelphia: The Franklin Institute. Ex-libris with a plate on the front pastedown and a small stamp on the title page. 8vo. (9 x 6 inches). , 441, . Bound in three quarter calf over marbled boards; minor scuffing and rubbing at the edges. Four raised bands, gilt-lettered and ruled at the spine. Bright and very clean within. Very good.