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'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's critique of occultism.
Med Hist 2012; 56(2):277-95MH

Abstract

In July 1925, the psychiatrist Albert Moll appeared before the district court in Berlin-Schöneberg charged with having defamed the medium Maria Vollhardt (alias Rudloff) in his 1924 book Der Spiritismus [Spiritism]. Supported by some of Berlin's most prominent occultists, the plaintiff--the medium's husband--argued that Moll's use of terms such as 'trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce' in reference to Vollhardt's phenomena had been libellous. In the three-part trial that followed, however, Moll's putative affront to the medium--of which he was eventually acquitted--was overshadowed, on the one hand, by a debate over the scientific status of parapsychology, and on the other, by the question of who--parapsychologists, occultists, psychiatrists or jurists--was entitled to claim epistemic authority over the occult. This paper will use the Rudloff-Moll trial as a means of examining Moll's critique of occultism, not only as it stood in the mid-1920s, but also as it had developed since the 1880s. It will also provide insight into the views of Germany's occultists and parapsychologists, who argued that their legitimate bid for scientific credibility was hindered by Dunkelmänner [obscurantists] such as Albert Moll.

Authors+Show Affiliations

School of Humanities, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. heather.wolffram@canterbury.ac.nz

Pub Type(s)

Historical Article
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

23002297

Citation

Wolffram, Heather. "'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's Critique of Occultism." Medical History, vol. 56, no. 2, 2012, pp. 277-95.
Wolffram H. 'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's critique of occultism. Med Hist. 2012;56(2):277-95.
Wolffram, H. (2012). 'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's critique of occultism. Medical History, 56(2), pp. 277-95.
Wolffram H. 'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's Critique of Occultism. Med Hist. 2012;56(2):277-95. PubMed PMID: 23002297.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - 'Trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce': Albert Moll's critique of occultism. A1 - Wolffram,Heather, PY - 2012/9/25/entrez PY - 2012/9/25/pubmed PY - 2012/12/10/medline KW - Albert Moll KW - Boundary Work KW - Maria Vollhardt KW - Occultism KW - Parapsychology KW - Rudloff–Moll Trial SP - 277 EP - 95 JF - Medical history JO - Med Hist VL - 56 IS - 2 N2 - In July 1925, the psychiatrist Albert Moll appeared before the district court in Berlin-Schöneberg charged with having defamed the medium Maria Vollhardt (alias Rudloff) in his 1924 book Der Spiritismus [Spiritism]. Supported by some of Berlin's most prominent occultists, the plaintiff--the medium's husband--argued that Moll's use of terms such as 'trick', 'manipulation' and 'farce' in reference to Vollhardt's phenomena had been libellous. In the three-part trial that followed, however, Moll's putative affront to the medium--of which he was eventually acquitted--was overshadowed, on the one hand, by a debate over the scientific status of parapsychology, and on the other, by the question of who--parapsychologists, occultists, psychiatrists or jurists--was entitled to claim epistemic authority over the occult. This paper will use the Rudloff-Moll trial as a means of examining Moll's critique of occultism, not only as it stood in the mid-1920s, but also as it had developed since the 1880s. It will also provide insight into the views of Germany's occultists and parapsychologists, who argued that their legitimate bid for scientific credibility was hindered by Dunkelmänner [obscurantists] such as Albert Moll. SN - 2048-8343 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/23002297/'Trick'_'manipulation'_and_'farce':_Albert_Moll's_critique_of_occultism_ L2 - https://www.cambridge.org/core/product/identifier/00037/type/journal_article DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -