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President, Society for Psychical Research, London, 1924-25; secretary, 1899-1907; treasurer, 1917-21; member of SPR Council, 1899-1932. B. 1869; d. April, 1952. Piddington, who virtually devoted hsl long life to psychical research, first joined the SPR in 1890. Originally J. G. Smith, he adopted his mother's family name in order to avoid confusion with other prominent members of the SPR.

In 1902 Piddington took a leading part in the creation of the SPR research endowment fund, the aim of which was to secure sufficient capital to enable a full-time researc officer to be paid out of income. After the death in 1905 of Richard Hodgson (q.v.), Piddington visited the United States and helped to negotiate the separation of the American Branch of the SPR and its organization as an independent society.

Apart from his valuable administrative services to the SPR, Piddington's great contribution to psychic research was his part in interpreting the scripts of the "SPR group" of automatists which constituted the famous cross correspondences, a task he shared with Mrs. Henry Sidgwick, G. W. Balfour, Sir Oliver Lodge and Alice Johnson (qq.v.). These scripts, which numbered over three thousand, included automatic writing and records of trance utterances, inspirational speech, and impressions received by the automatists in sleep or waking or in various states between. Individually meaningless, the scripts, when pieced together, appeared to indicate that purposeful intelligences were originating them, and they have been widely cited as evidence in support of the survival hypthesis, which Piddington himself favored.

Piddingtons publications in the SPR Proceedings included "A Series of Concordant Automatisms" (Vol. 22, Part 57, 1908); "Supplementary Notes on "A Series of Concordant Automatisms" (Vol. 24, Part 60, 1910); "Note on Mrs. Piper's Hodgson-Control in England" (with Mrs. Henry Sidgwick; Vol. 23, Part 58, 1909); "Further Experiments with Mrs. Piper" in 1908" (with Mrs. Henry Sidgwick and Mrs. A. W. Verrall, q.v.; Vol. 24, Part 60, 1910); "A Hitherto Unsuspected Answer to the Horace Ode Question" (Vol. 26, Part 65, 1913); "Cross Correspondences of a Gallic Type" (Vol. 29, Part 72, 1916); "Fresh Light on the "One-Horse Dawn" Experiment" (Vol. 30, Part 76, 1918); "A Reply to Sir Oliver Lodge's Note" (Vol. 30, Part 77, 1918); "Forecasts in Scripts Concerning the War" (Vol. 33, Part 87, 1923); "Presidential Address" (Vol. 34, Part 89, 1924); "One Crowded Hour of Glorious Life" (Vol. 36, Part 100, 1926-28); "A Reply to Mr. Hall" (Vol. 36, Part 102, 1926-28); "The Master Builder" (Vol. 36, Part 102, 1926-28).

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



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