Carington, W(alter) Whately (1884-1947)

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Carington, W(alter) Whately (1884-1947)

British psychic researcher who investigated Mrs. Osborne Leonard and the Irish medium Kathleen Goligher of the Goligher Circle. He was born Walter Whately Smith in London. He studied science at Cambridge University, but had to postpone completion of his degree until after his service in the British army during World War I. In 1933 he adopted his older family name from Brittany, modifying the spelling from Carentan to Carington.

In 1920 he became a member of the council of the Society for Psychical Research, London, and worked with E. J. Ding-wall and others investigating the French medium Marthe Beraud (see also Eva C. ). By the early 1930s he had come to believe that further study of spontaneous cases was a dead end and began to advocate quantitative research. His first important paper was presented in several parts (1934-1937) as "The Quantitative Study of Trance Personalities" and was a watershed paper in parapsychology.

As with most parapsychologists, Carington turned his attention to the survival hypothesis. His initial quantitative studies in the 1930s had led him to believe that the mediums' controls were not separate entities but secondary personalities of the medium. He eventually came to postulate the "psyhcon hypothesis" of survival. He believed the mind is a cluster of sense-data and images that together constitute a single system, a system which may survive bodily death and even continue to evolve.

Carington founded and edited the journal Psychic Research Quarterly and wrote several books. He turned down an academic post and lived most of his life in poverty in order to devote his time to psychic research. In 1940 he was awarded a Perrott Studentship in Psychical Research and a short time later a Leverhulme Research Grant. He died March 2, 1947, at Sennen, Cornwall, England.


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

Carington, Walter Whately. The Death of Materialism. N.p., 1932.

. The Foundations of Spiritualism. N.p., 1920.

. Matter, Mind and Meaning. Completed by H. H. Price. London: Methuen, 1949.

. "The Quantitative Study of Trance Personalities." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. Part 1, 42 (1934): 173. Part 2, 43 (1935): 319. Part 3, 44 (1937): 189.

. Telepathy: An Outline of its Fact, Theory and Implications. London: Methuen, 1945. Reprint, New York: Gordon Press, 1972.

. A Theory of the Mechanism of Survival. N.p., 1920. Murphy, Gardner. "W. Wately Carington: In Memoriam." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 41 (1947): 123.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

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Carington, W(alter) Whately (1884-1947)

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