Bozzano, Ernesto (1862-1943)

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Bozzano, Ernesto (1862-1943)

The dean of Italian psychic researchers and Spiritualists during the formative years of psychic research. His attention was first directed to psychic phenomena in 1891 by Prof. Theodore Ribot, who forwarded to him the first number of the Annales des Sciences Psychique. He accompanied Profs. Enrico Morselli and Porro at many sittings with Eusapia Palladino and ended by accepting the spiritualistic hypothesis and by becoming a most prolific writer on psychic subjects. He wrote over two dozen books and contributed, for a period of 30 years, hundreds of articles to the Luce e Ombra and the Revue spirite. His psychic library at Savona was believed to be unique.

He summarized his belief: "Whoever, instead of losing himself in idle discussions, undertakes systematic and deep researches in metaphysical phenomena, and who perseveres in them for long years, accumulating immense material in happenings and applying to these the methods of scientific inquiry, must, without fail, end by convincing himself that metaphysical phenomena constitute an admirable assemblage of proofs, all converging as to a centre toward the rigorously scientific demonstration of the existence and of the survival of the Spirit. This is my firm conviction, and I do not doubt that time will show that I am right."

Having accepted the Spiritualist explanation of medium-ship, Bozzano was looked upon by his English contemporaries as much too uncritical. In 1930 Theodore Besterman wrote a scathing criticism of Bozzano's reports of sittings in his home. (Besterman's article led Spiritualist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to resign from the Society for Psychical Research. ) In retrospect, however, his methodology of gathering numerous reports of sittings and subjecting them to comparative analysis has been more fully understood and appreciated.

Bozzano's pioneer researches have not been fully recognized outside Europe, because most of his many books have not been translated into English. Among the few available to English-speaking readers are Animism and Spiritism (1932), Polyglot

Mediumship (1932), and Discarnate Influence in Human Life (1938). Bozzano also contributed a preface and articles to Modern Psychic Mysteries by Gwendolyn K. Hack (1929).


Alvarado, C. S. "The Life and Work of an Italian Psychical Researcher; A Review of Ernesto Bozzano: La Vite a l'Opera by Giovanni Iannuzzo." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 81 (1987): 37.

Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Bozzano, Ernesto. Polyglot Mediumship. London: Rider, 1932.