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Harry Price (January 17, 1881 – March 29, 1948) was a British psychic researcher and author.

Early lifeEdit

He was educated in London at Waller Road School and Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, the Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Boys School[1]. When he was 15 years of age Price founded the Carlton Dramatic Society [2] and wrote small plays including a drama about his early experience with a poltergeist[3], which he said took place at a haunted manor house in Shropshire.[4],

A few years later, Price came to the attention of the Press when he claimed an early interest in space-telegraphy. He set up a receiver and transmitter between Telegraph Hill, Hatcham and St Peter's Church Brockley and captured a spark on a photographic plate, though according to the most recent biography of Price by Richard Morris, this was nothing more than Harry writing a press release saying he had done the experiment. Nothing was verified. The young Price also had an avid interest in coin collecting and wrote several articles for The Askean, the magazine for Haberdashers' School. In his autobiography, Search for Truth, written between 1941 and 1942, Price claimed he was involved with archaeological excavations in Greenwich Park, London but in earlier writings on Greenwich denied he had a hand in the excavation. From around May 1908 Price continued his interest in archaeology at Pulborough, Sussex where he had moved to before marrying Constance Mary Knight that August. As well as working for paper merchants Edward Saunders & Sons as a salesman he wrote for two local Sussex newspapers the West Sussex Gazette and the Southern Weekly News where he wrote about his remarkable propensity for discovering 'clean' antiquities. One of these, a silver ingot, (later announced a fake) was stamped around the time of the last Roman emperor Honorius, a few years after another celebrated Sussex archaeologist Charles Dawson found a brick at Pevensey Fort in Sussex which was purportedly made in Honorius' time. In 1910 Professor E.J Haverfield of Oxford University, the country's foremost expert on Roman history and a Fellow of the Royal Academy announced it a fake.

A report for the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (number 23, pages 121-9) in the same year reported that:

'..the double axe type of silver ingot was well known and dated from late Imperial times but the one recovered from Sussex was an inferior copy of one found at the Tower of London, with alterations to give it an air of authenticity. Both the shape and lettering betrayed its origin.'

Interest in magic and conjuringEdit

In his autobiography, Search for Truth, Price said the “Great Sequah” in Shrewsbury was “entirely responsible for shaping much of my life’s work”[5], and lead to him acquiring the first volume of what would become the Harry Price Library, Price later became an expert amateur conjurer, joined the Magic Circle in 1922 and maintained a lifelong interest in stage magic and conjuring. His expertise in sleight of hand and magic tricks stood him in good stead for what would become his all consuming passion, the investigation of paranormal phenomena.

Psychical researchEdit

File:Williamhopehoax2.jpg

Price's first major success in psychical research came in 1922 when he exposed the 'spirit' photographer William Hope.[6] During the same year, Price traveled to Germany together with Eric Dingwall and investigated Willi SchneiderCite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag. During Duncan's famous trial in 1944, Price gave his results as evidence for the prosecution.

Price's psychical research continued with investigations into Karachi's Indian rope trick and the fire-walking abilities of Kuda Bux in 1935. He was also involved in the formation of the National Film Library (British Film Institute) becoming its first chairman (until 1941) and was a founding member of the Shakespeare Film Society. In 1936, Price broadcast from a supposedly haunted manor house in Meopham, Kent for the BBC and published The Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter and The Haunting of Cashen's Gap. This year also saw the transfer of Price's library on permanent loan to the University of London, followed shortly by the laboratory and investigative equipment. In 1937, he conducted further televised experiments into fire-walking with Ahmed Hussain at Carshalton and Alexandra Palace, and also rented Borley Rectory for one year. The following year, Price re-established the Ghost Club, with himself as chairman, conducted experiments with Rahman Bey who was 'buried alive' in Carshalton and drafted a Bill for the regulation of psychic practitioners. In 1939, he organized a national telepathic test in the periodical John O'London's Weekly. During the 1940s, Price concentrated on writing and the works The Most Haunted House in England, Poltergeist Over England and The End of Borley Rectory were all published.

Published worksEdit

  • Revelations of a Spirit Medium, with Eric J. Dingwall, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd, London, hardback, 1922.
  • Cold Light on Spiritualistic "Phenomena" - An Experiment with the Crewe Circle, by Harry Price, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd, 1922.
  • Stella C. An Account of Some Original Experiments in Psychical Research, Hurst & Blackett Ltd., hardback, 1925.
  • Rudi Schneider: A Scientific Examination of his Mediumship, Methuen & Co. Ltd., hardback, 1930.
  • Leaves from a Psychist’s Case Book, by Harry Price, Victor Gollancz Ltd., hardback, 1933.
  • Confessions of a Ghost-Hunter, Putnam & Co. Ltd., London, hardback, 1936.
  • The Haunting of Cashen's Gap: A Modern "Miracle" Investigated - With R.S. Lambert, Methuen & Co. Ltd., hardback, 1936.
  • Fifty Years of Psychical Research: A Critical Survey Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd., hardback, 1939.
  • The Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years' Investigation of Borley Rectory, Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd., hardback, 1940.
  • Search for Truth: My Life for Psychical Research, Collins, London, hardback, 1942.
  • Poltergeist Over England: Three Centuries of Mischievous Ghosts, Country Life Ltd., hardback, 1945.
  • The End of Borley Rectory, Harrap & Co. Ltd., hardback, 1946.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Harry Price, Biography of a Ghost Hunter by Paul Tabori. Page 21.
  2. Harry Price, Biography of a Ghost Hunter by Paul Tabori. Page 22.
  3. The Sceptic, performed December 2, 1898 at Amersham Hall
  4. Harry Price, Biography of a Ghost Hunter by Paul Tabori. Page 25.
  5. Harry Price, Biography of a Ghost Hunter by Paul Tabori. Page 21.
  6. Leaves from a Psychist’s Case Book by Harry Price, Page 213.

BibliographyEdit

  • Harry Price, Biography of a Ghost Hunter by Paul Tabori, Athenaem Press, hardback, 1950.
  • Leaves from a Psychist’s Case Book, by Harry Price, Victor Gollancz Ltd., hardback, 1933.
  • Harry Price: The Psychic Detective by Richard Morris, Sutton 2006

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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