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Look Inside Essay on Superstition

Essay on Superstition
Being an Inquiry into the Effects of Physical Influence on the Mind in the Production of Dreams, Visions, Ghosts, and Other Supernatural Appearances


Part of Cambridge Library Collection - Spiritualism and Esoteric Knowledge

  • Date Published: February 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108044233

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About the Authors
  • William Newnham (1790–1865) was a general medical practitioner, also qualified as an apothecary, who played a prominent role in his profession and was widely recognised for his skill. His particular medical interest lay within the fields of gynaecology and obstetrics, although he also published several papers on topics including phrenology and human magnetism. This 1830 publication contains a series of essays he had recently written for The Christian Observer. In them, Newnham argues that dreams, visions, apparitions and other apparently spiritual manifestations, whether good or bad, arise from physiological rather than supernatural causes. He provides evidence that the effects on the brain from disease, medications (including nitrous oxide and opium) and trauma, causing 'disturbance of brainular function', can produce such experiences. Anticipating criticism, he insists that the light of science benefits true religion rather than undermining it, contrasting 'real Christianity' with 'superstitious' creeds including Catholicism, Islam and Hinduism.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108044233
    • length: 452 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 26 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introductory remarks
    2. Division of the subject
    3. Materiality of the brain, and its subjection to the agency of physical causes
    4. Particular sympathies of the brain
    5. Phenomena of disordered brainular function, and its influence on the manifestations of mind
    6. The same subject continued
    7. Phenomena of sleep, and its morbid states
    8. The same subjects continued
    9. The same subject continued
    10. The same subject continued
    11. On presentiments
    12. Agency of evil spirits
    13. Critical inquiry into the views of a recent writer in The Record, on the subject of apparitions
    14. Influence of nitrous-oxyde gas on the brain
    15. Influence of brainular disease on the function of volition
    16. The same subject continued
    17. Summary review of the preceding argument
    18. The same subject continued
    19. The same subject continued
    20. Conclusions arising from a review of the whole subject.

  • Author

    William Newnham

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