Christopher Josiffe, a librarian on the staff of Senate House Library, has just published “Dr Dingwall’s Casebook: A Sceptical Enquirer” — part one of a two-part article about the anthropologist, librarian and psychical researcher Eric John Dingwall (1891?-1986) — in the Fortean Times (April 2013, pp. 45-9). As David Sutton writes in his editorial (p. 2): “Christopher Josiffe has enjoyed access to the Dingwall papers at Senate House Library and shines a long overdue light onto the life and career of a man who, in his own way, was as intriguing and interesting an investigator as Harry Price himself”.
The psychical researcher and publicist Harry Price (1871-1948) and Eric Dingwall were well acquainted with each other and were both friends and rivals. They disputed over the nature (genuine or fake?) of two Austrian mediums, Willi and Rudi Schneider. Other topics for disagreement included Harry Price’s library, over which Dingwall presided at the Society for Psychical Research: Dingwall queried its level of interest to the Society, and Price the quality of Dingwall’s custodianship of it.
Senate House Library is privileged to hold both the library and archive of Harry Price and the Dingwall archive, and one of the fascinating elements of Josiffe’s research has been to bring together two sides of a sometimes wistful, sometimes waspish, correspondence to shed light on both men.