I have an idea for a story in which Trace has to either pose as or debunk a parlor medium/spiritualist. Not sure how or whether it will play out yet, so don't start second-guessing me, hear? But in preparation for said topic, I've been doing a little reading. The Internet, for all its faults, is the ideal place to read up on stuff like this.
Voila: The International Survivalist Society and their impressive collection of archives. The biographies are of particular interest to me.
In the mere half-hour that I've been surfing, I've already seen several implications--if not outright assertions--that the learned men of the nineteen century were more open-minded than we are today: that most scientists were quick to accept the truth of spiritualism, mesmerism, and other para-sciences.
Anyway, this guy particularly interests me, because of the religious angle. I must also do some reading about Catholicism and the general state of faith in the late 1900's, and I must say I'm not looking forward to exploring either of these topics. Religion and psychic phenomenae fall into the category of things that seem to be discussed only by those with an axe to grind.
You know, on a total aside note: I'm the only writer I know who's so chatty about her ideas. Even among my writing colleagues who are actually producing, I never know a thing about what they're working on until there's a copy in my hands. In fact, I've heard writers say that a story will die on them if they talk about it too much beforehand. Am I just weird, or what? Desperate for approval, in love with the sound of my own voice, thinking aloud? Careless or naive about somebody stealing my ideas? Don't know. Don't care.