Peter Lamont on ‘the First Psychic’

Dr Peter Lamont, the author of The Rise and Fall of the Indian Rope Trick [read The legend of the Indian Rope Trick: An interview with Peter Lamont], and co-author of Magic in Theory, has published his third and latest book: THE FIRST PSYCHIC: The Peculiar Mystery of a Notorious Victorian Wizard.

As the title suggests the eminent historian and magician traces the life and times of the “first psychic” Daniel Dunglas Home.

Picture Credit: TOBY WILLIAMS – image sourced from The Evening News

Judging by the reviews of the book in various publications, Peter seems to have come out with another good book on the history of the magical arts:

None the less, this is a well researched and illuminating book.
To many, Home was just a Yankee conjuror; but Lamont’s entertaining essay in human credibility shows that he was much more than that.
A talent for ectoplasm by Philip Hoare in The Guardian

For all its levity – and laughter arises like – oh, like a piano – this is a serious and thought-provoking book about how we witness and interpret the world. My own uncanny powers forecast a feast called Christmas, not far distant, when The First Psychic should, if there is any justice, mysteriously levitate from bookshop shelves and appear in intelligent people’s stockings.
– Unearthly powers by Hilary Mantel in The New Statesman.

This is a clever book, and occasionally a self-admiring one: Lamont’s relentlessly ironic tone can produce sentences that are too ready to slap themselves on the back. However, it is precisely this mixture of self-doubt and self-belief that keeps Lamont’s work so close to the world he is describing. Not a wonderful biography, then, but entertaining enough to keep its readers wondering.
The medium is the message by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst in The Daily Telegraph

A spirited look at an enigma by Sarah Howden in the Evening News – Scotland
Psychic who outraged Charles Dickens by Kenny Farquharson in The Sunday Times – Scotland

While I am yet to read the book myself, knowing Peter and his earlier works, I am confident that this book would be more than an interesting read for anybody interested in the magical arts, especially mentalism and psychic entertainment.

I will of course share my thoughts after I have managed to get myself a copy of this what-sounds-to-be extremely interesting book.