Beyond Faith and Reason – Early Paranormal Theories of the Late Nineteenth Century

This talk explores the complex culture and history of the late nineteenth century and how the earliest theories of the paranormal were developed.

While considering the fundamental questions of nature and humanity’s place within the universe, many of the key thinkers of the late-Victorian period found science or religion alone as inadequate individual tools with which to help with the answers. Some of them, who were often from the cultural elite – scientists, academics, politicians, clergy, writers – combined these existing domains with research into paranormal phenomena, which they found provided more comprehensive and cohesive theories. This talk takes a historo-cultural look at some of what took place at the time, highlighting the key early paranormal theories, and asks what relevance there is for today’s paranormal researchers.


Your speaker for this event is Dr Robert Radakovic, an ex-astrophysicist and ex-management accountant who left the corporate world over a decade ago to study for an MA in Western Esotericism, followed by a PhD which considered the interplay between Science, Religion, Philosophy and the Paranormal in the nineteenth century. He has had a lifelong interest in ghosts, UFOs and psychic phenomena, and undertakes independent research in each of these. He has been a council member of The Ghost Club (1862) since 2019.

Your host and curator for this event will be the writer Edward Parnell, author of Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country. Edward Parnell lives in Norfolk and has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. He is the recipient of an Escalator Award from the National Centre for Writing and a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship. Ghostland (William Collins, 2019), a work of narrative non-fiction, is a moving exploration of what has haunted our writers and artists – as well as the author’s own haunted past; it was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley 2020 prize, an award given to a literary autobiography of excellence. Edward’s first novel The Listeners (2014), won the Rethink New Novels Prize. For further info see: