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Author Topic: Need 19th Century Occult and Pseudoscience Glossary  (Read 664 times)
RJBowman
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« on: November 04, 2016, 05:09:14 am »

I was just looking at the Google NGram Viewer to try to find the origin date of certain words that related to 19th century occultism.

I had read somewhere that words like "telepathy", "clairvoyance", and "psychic" had been coined in the 19th century by people who wanted to create a science to study these reported phenomena; these words, derived from Latin or ancient Greek, replaced earlier terms like "second sight" which lacked the scientific ring that occult scholars wanted.

So I was looking for a glossary of all of the words created in the 19th century to describe occult concepts and pseudoscience.

Here are a few:

telepathy: supposed communication of information through means other than the known senses. Coined circa 1880.

clairvoyance: supposed ability to perceive future events through means other than the known senses. Coined circa 1820.

psychic: relating to or denoting faculties or phenomena that are apparently inexplicable by natural laws, especially involving telepathy or clairvoyance. (definition from Google). Coined circa 1870.

And here's an odd one:

Animal Magnetism, AKA Mesmerism: A term devised by by the German doctor Franz Friedrich Anton Mesmer to describe what he believed to be an invisible natural force exerted by animals. Mesmer promoted a form of pseudomedicine based on his theories, and inspired others to to import the oriental practice of hypnotism to the west. Coined circa 1760.

Can anyone suggest others?
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Atterton
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2016, 10:40:19 am »

Psychometry? Phrenology?
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2016, 12:18:51 pm »

There is also the Akashic Records coined by the theosophists. A kind of vast database of all human knowledge and experience.
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polyphemus
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« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 12:30:08 am »

Not occult exactly, but aether is always good. Ectoplasm perhaps. Phlogiston was pretty much washed up by the 1780's, but also has a good ring to it.
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2016, 12:39:40 am »

Modern thanatology deals with the psychology of dying, death and grief, but "back in the day" thanatologists were attempting to physically measure and quantify death, photograph departing souls &c.
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 02:02:35 am »

The belief that a photograph could capture the image of the soul departing.  The study of Auras.  Theosophists championing Eugenics.
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 06:47:25 am »

How about Homeopathy?  This is a pseudo-scientific belief that is still with us today, arguably followed by significant numbers of people. I myself was treated by this method as a child when traditional doctors would not give my family any alternative to surgery (which I eventually had to have anyway):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

Samuel Hahnemann, originator of homeopathy

Quote
Homeopathy (Listeni/ˌhoʊmiˈɒpəθi/) or homoeopathy is a system of alternative medicine created in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann, based on his doctrine of like cures like (similia similibus curentur), a claim that a substance that causes the symptoms of a disease in healthy people would cure similar symptoms in sick people.[1] Homeopathy is a pseudoscience – a belief that is incorrectly presented as scientific. Homeopathic preparations are not effective for treating any condition;[2][3][4][5] large-scale studies have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, suggesting that any positive feelings that follow treatment are only due to the placebo effect and normal recovery from illness
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Nephele
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 04:59:07 pm »

phrenology (n.) 1815, literally "mental science," from phreno- + -logy "study of." Applied to the theory of mental faculties originated by Gall and Spurzheim that led to the 1840s mania for reading personality clues in the shape of one's skull and the "bumps" of the head. Related: Phrenological; phrenologist.

graphology (n.) "study of handwriting," 1882, from French graphologie, coined 1868 by Abbé Jean-Hippolyte Michon (1806-1881) from Greek graphein "to write" (see -graphy) + -ologie (see -ology). Especially, "character study based on handwriting" (1886); an earlier word for this was graptomancy (1858).

anthropometry (n.) 1839, "acquaintance with the dimensions of the parts of the human body," from anthropo- + -metry. Perhaps modeled on French anthropometrie.

theosophy (n.)   "knowledge of divine things obtained through mystic study," from Medieval Latin theosophia (c.880), from Late Greek theosophia (c.500).  Applied variously over the years, including to the followers of Swedenborg. Taken as the name of a modern philosophical system (sometimes called Esoteric Buddhism), founded in New York 1875 as "Theosophical Society" by Madame Blavatsky and others, which has elements of Hinduism and Buddhism and claims supernatural knowledge of the divinity and his words deeper than that obtained from empiricism. Related: Theosophist.

Source:  Etymonline.com
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