Servants of the Supernatural, By Antonio Melechi

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The Independent Culture

Although the author's membership of the Anomalous Experience Research Unit at York University inevitably brings to mind the academic protagonists of Ghostbusters, this is a scrupulous and absorbing account of the Victorian supernatural obsession.

Figures such as the levitator Daniel Dunglas Home split society and even families. Elizabeth Barrett Browning found his séance "wonderful and conclusive", but Robert Browning responded with his scathing poem "Mr Sludge".

Many mediums were remarkably plausible. It took Faraday to disprove the "epidemic" of table moving, while one rapper eventually admitted that the cracks came from her toe joints.