Charles Darwin and Associates, Ghostbusters; October 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Milner; 6 Page(s)
After lunch on September 16, 1876, Charles Darwin stretched out on his drawing-room sofa, as was his unvarying routine, smoked a Turkish cigarette and read the "bloody old Times." He often fumed at its politics (the editors supported the South in the American Civil War), and his wife, Emma, suggested that they give up the paper altogether. But he replied he would sooner "give up meat, drink and air."
In the "Letters" column, he noticed a report that a young zoologist named Edwin Ray Lankester was bent on jailing a celebrated spirit medium, "Dr." Henry Slade, who was bilking gullible Londoners. By hauling Slade into court as "a common rogue," Lankester would become the first scientist to prosecute a professional psychic for criminal fraud-- an action Darwin thought long overdue. Although he was delighted at Lankester¿s attack on Slade, Darwin was distressed to learn that Alfred Russel Wallace, his friendly rival and co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection, was also a target.