(25 August 1850 – 4 December 1935)
Charles Richet was a prominent French psychologist. His particular interest was in extrasensory perception and hypnosis. In 1891, he founded the Annales des sciences Psychiciques and kept in correspondence with occultists and spiritualists such as Frederic William Henry Myers and Albert von Schrenck-Notzing.
His main aim was to discover a physical explanation for supernatural phenomenon and explain them in scientific terms. He wrote about his beliefs in a ‘Sixth Sense’ which mediums could access beyond ordinary senses. However, Richet did not believe in the afterlife or spirits.
1894, Richet coined the term ectoplasm; he hypothesised that mediumship could be explained by the external projection of a material substance from the body of the medium. He focused on establishing metaphysic as a scientific discipline and used the science in explaining supernatural phenomenon and the human mind.
In 1905, Richet became president of the Society for Psychical Research and dedicated his time to investigating famous mediums, such as Eva Carriere and Eusapia Palladino. However, some argue that his willingness and want for a belief in the supernatural prevented his experiments from being pragmatic.
Richet gained the Nobel Prize for his work on anaphylaxis in 1913, which was important in the development of our modern understanding of allergies.
Notable works include:
Traité de Métapsychique (Treatise on Metapsychics, 1922)
Notre Sixième Sens (Our Sixth Sense, 1928)
L'Avenir et la Prémonition (The Future and Premonition, 1931)
La Grande Espérance (The Great Hope, 1933)