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Philosopher, poet, author, president (1911), Society for Psychical Research, London. B. March 31, 1844, Selkirk, Scotland; d. July 20, 1912, Banchory, Kincardineshire, Scotland. Educ. Edinburgh Academy; St. Andrew's University; Balliol College, Oxford (D. Litt.). Fellow Royal British Academy; honorary fellow, Merton College, Oxford.

Lang was a student of folklore and one fo the first to apply anthropology to the study of myths. He was famous both for his translations of Greek prose and for his collections of fairy tales for children. Although he did not join the SPR until 1906, his interest in psychical research, which was largely from the historical and anthropological point of view, was of much longer standing. In 1894 he read a paper to the SPR on the Cock Lane Ghosts, a famous case of apparent poltergeist activity which occurred in London in 1762 and had been attributed to the spirit of a woman who was murdered in the house concerned. This paper was published in the same year as his pamphlet entitled "Cock Lane and Common Sense."

Lane carried out a large number of experiments in crystal gazing, or "scrying," and also took a special interest in dowsing. His publications include Custom and Myth (1884); the two-volume Myths, Literature and Religion (1887); Book of Dreams and Ghosts (1897); the Making of Religion (1898); Magic and Religion (1901); the articles on psychical research in the tenth and eleventh editions of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1902, 1910) and numerous contributions to the SPR Journal and Proceedings, including the SPR presidential address of 1911.

Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications



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