THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY
WALTER FRANKLIN PRINCE
Psychic investigator; principal research officer, American Society for Psychical Research, 1920-25; a founder of Boston Society for Psychic Research, 1925; president, Society for Psychical Research, London, 1930-31. B. April 22, 1863, Detroit, Maine; d. August , 1934, Hingham, Massachusetts. Grad. 1881 Maine Wesleyan Seminary; B.A., 1896, Ph.d., 1899, Yale University; B.D., 1896, Drew Theological Seminary. M. 1885, Lelia Madora Colman (d. 1925); foster daughter, Theodosia. Pastor, Methodist Episcopal churches, Maine, Connecticut; pastor, Protestant Episcopal churches, Pittsburgh, San Bernadino, Calif., New York City.
In 1910, while pastor of All Saints Church, Pittsburgh, Dr. Prince, a student of abnormal psychology, uncovered a case of "multiple personality" in a young woman parishioner. For three years he worked to restore the girl to health, noting day-by-day developments. To the young woman, whom Dr. and Mrs. Prince adopted as their foster daughter Theodosia, he gave the pseudonym "Doris Fischer." Prince sought guidance in his work with "Doris" from James H. Hyslop (q.v.), then president of the ASPR; in 1915 and 1916, Prince's "The Doris Case of Multiple Personality" was published as Vols. 9 and 10, Proceedings, ASPR.
Prince became director of psychotherapeutics, St. Mark's Church, New York City, in 1916; in 1917, he joined the ASPR staff as investigator and assistant to Hyslop, posts he held until 1920, when he became principal research officer of the society. He served as editor and secretary of the Advisory Scientific Council, ASPR, 1921-23. In 1925, he resigned from the ASPR and helped organize the Boston Society for Psychic Research, becoming its executive research officer and editor, offices which he held until his death.
In eighteen years with the ASPR and teh BSPR, Prince investigated hundreds of cases involving evidence for and against virtually every type of paranormal phenomenon. An amateur magician and a member of the Society of American Magicians, he used his knowledge of legerdemain in his many studies of the phenomena of physical mediumship. Shortly before his death, he declared himself still skeptical of physical phenomena, although he considered the case for telepathy and clairvoyance "absolutely and scientifically proved." He expressed belief in survival of personality beyond death, although he felt this remained unproved despite "very promising" evidence.
Dr. Prince was delegate to the First International Congress on Psychical Research, Copenhagen, 1921, and to the Third International Congress, Paris, 1927. Besides The Doris Case, his books include The Psychic in the House, 1926; The Case of Patience Worth, 1927; Noted Witness for Psychic Occurrences, 1928; The Enchanted Boundary, 1930, all published by the BSPR.
Of the scores of bulletins and articles Prince wrote, a few of the most significant follow: BSPR bulletins: "Experiments with Physical Mediums in Europe" (1928); "Human Experience" (1931,1933); "The "Walter" - "Kerwin" Thumb Prints" (1934); in the ASPR Proceedings: "The Great Amherst Mystery" (1919); "Keeler-Lee Photographs" (1920); "A Survey of American Slate-Writing Mediumship" (1921); "The Mother of Doris" (1923); in the ASPR Journal: "Dreams Seeming or Interpreted to Indicate Death" (Apr. 1922); "An Investigation of Poltergeist and Other Phenomena Near Antigonish" (Aug. 1922); "A Case of Fraud with the Crewe Circle" (Aug. 1922); "My Psychic Adventures" (July 1922); "My Doubts About Spirit Photographs" (Dec. 1925); "Mrs. Sinclair's Mental Radio" (Mar. 1932); "The Case of Margery" (May 1933); "Extra-Sensory Perception" (July 1934). See "Walter Franklin Prince, A Tribute to His Memory" (BSPR, 1935); "Walter Franklin Prince," by Alson J. Smith (Tomorrow Magazine, Summer 1955).
Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications