World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1919 carried many souls from this earth. But could those left behind actually still communicate with them? It is this question that is at the heart of The Witch of Lime Street. David Jaher presents the background of the time, and those who championed each side, including Sir Author Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini. The two sides debated mightily with perhaps the culmination being offered by Scientific American magazine: $2500 to any medium who could physically produce proof of life after death and another $2500 for a genuine example of spiritual photography. The panel of experts included MIT physicists, respected judges and Harvard psychologists. And Harry Houdini, a man bereft from loss, but soured by the frauds and schemers bilking other bereaved out of masses amounts of money. But also a man who was an expert on illusion, and who vehemently unmasked charlatans. The panel dismissed many applicants: frauds, delusional, mentally ill. And then came Margery (aka Mrs Crandon, or The Witch of Lime Street.)
The author did good job presenting both sides, allowing the reader to act as their own judge. The book reads well, though the pace dropped for me a midstream. However, if this period of time is of interest, and the phenomenon of clairvoyance and interacting with the sprits of the dead intrigues, this presents a good picture of a time in history when these pastimes were prominent.
Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewers and to the publisher for sending me this copy.