Salter, W(illiam) H(enry) (1880-1970)

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Salter, W(illiam) H(enry) (1880-1970)

British lawyer who was president of the Society for Psychical Research, London. He was born on March 19, 1880, in London, England. He was educated at St. Paul's School, London and Trinity College, Cambridge University (M.A., LL.B.). In 1915 he married Helen Woollgar de Gaudrion Verrall, the daughter of medium Margaret Verrall. Helen Salter, who actually introduced her husband to psychical research, became an important officer at the SPR and even served a term as vice president.

Salter served with the Ministry of Munitions during World War II (1916-21) and was awarded the Member of the British Empire in 1918. He joined the SPR in 1916, and was honorary treasurer (1920-31), honorary secretary (1924-48), and president (1967-68). Salter participated in a number of experiments and became an authority on the subject of automatic writing. He was also interested in telepathy, apparitions, mediumship, and the evidence for survival. Helen Salter, above and beyond her work for the society, was well-known for her automatic writing and took part in the famous "cross-correspondence" tests. After his death in 1970, William Salter left a series of papers concerned with these correspondences and his reminiscences of life at the SPR at Trinity College, Cambridge, with instructions that they were not to be opened until 1995 and 1996 respectively.


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

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

Salter, William H. "An Experiment in Pseudo-Scripts." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 36, no. 103(1927).

. Ghosts and Apparitions. London: G. Bell & Sons,1938.

. The Society for Psychical Research; An Outline of Its History. London: Society for Psychical Research, 1948.

. "Some Automatic Scripts Purported to be Inspired by Margaret Veley." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 38, no. 110 (1928-29).

. Trance Mediumship: An Introductory Study of Mrs. Piper and Mrs. Leonard. London: Society for Psychical Research,1950.

. Zoar: The Evidence of Psychical Research Concerning Survival. New York: Arno Press, 1961.