Physics in Carnacki’s Investigations: the Role of New Scientific Discoveries in Literature
International Journal of Literature and Arts
Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2013, Pages: 11-15
Received: Jul. 5, 2013; Published: Aug. 10, 2013
Views 3206      Downloads 138
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
Article Tools
Follow on us
In the stories of Carnacki, a fictional supernatural detective created by the English writer William H. Hodgson, and written between 1910 and 1913, we can find an interesting mixture of science and fantasy. Carnacki is a ghost finder, who investigates in an environment where supernatural is occurring. However, we find that he is using scientific discoveries and technologies of the beginning of the 20th century to reveal the hidden clues leading to the solution of the mysteries. Therefore, bringing the modern science into the fiction, Carnacki’s investigations are mirroring some of the popular knowledge of physics and technology of that time.
English Literature, History of Science
To cite this article
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Physics in Carnacki’s Investigations: the Role of New Scientific Discoveries in Literature, International Journal of Literature and Arts. Vol. 1, No. 1, 2013, pp. 11-15. doi: 10.11648/j.ijla.20130101.13
W.H. Hodgson, The Complete Stories of Carnacki the Ghost-Finder, Universal Tandem Publishing Co., Great Britain, 1974.
S. Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly, Oxford World's Classics, 1993.
S. Quinn, The Casebook of Jules De Grandin, Paperback Popular Library, 1976.
W.H. Hodgson, The Gateway of the Monster, The Idler, January 1910.
W.H. Hodgson, The House among the Laurels, The Idler, February 1910.
W.H. Hodgson, The Thing Invisible, The New Magazine, January 1912.
W.H. Hodgson, The Haunted Jarvee, available at
A.R. Wallace, The Scientific Aspect of the Supernatural, ~smithch/wallace/S118A.htm, 1866.
Sir William Crookes, Researches into the Phenomena of Spiritualism, Two Worlds Publishing Company Ltd., 1904.
J. Reece Roth, Industrial Plasma Engineering: Principles, IOP, Bristol, 1995.
M.J. Pinheiro, Plasma: the Genesis of the Word, arxiv:0703260v1, 2007.
N. Tesla, On Light and Other High Frequency Phenomena, Lecture before the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, 1893, reproduced in the Twenty First Century Books, 2007.
S. van Dulken, Inventing the 20th-Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the World. New York University Press, 2002.
Daylight Seen in Tubes: McFarlan Moore Publicly Demonstrates, The New York Times, May 28, 1897.
W.H. Hodgson, The Horse of the Invisible, The Idler, April 1910.
For more details on the history of photography or X-rays, see Wikipedia.
W. Crookes, Electricity in Transit from Plenum to Vacuum, Scientific American Supplement, No. 795, March 28, 1891, p.4.
A Puluj Lamp is shown at the web page
D. Kulynyak, Noteworthy Ukrainians, Ivan Pului, the Discoverer of X-rays, available at the web page
W. Crookes, Experiments on the Dark Space in Vacuum tubes, Proc. Roy. Soc. London, vol. 79, n.528, pp:98-117, 1907.
N. Tesla: Lecture at New York Academy of Sciences, April 6, 1897, at
M. Cheney, R. Uth and J. Glenn, Tesla, Master of Lightning, Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1999.
An interesting collection is shown at the site
F. Sanford, On an Undescribed Form of Radiation, Phys. Rev. I, vol. 17, pp:441-459, 1903.
F. Sanford, Some Experiments in Electric Photography, Phys. Rev. I, vol. 2, n.1, pp:59-61, 1894.
T. Wyman, Fernando Sanford and the Discovery of X-rays, Imprint from the Associates of the Stanford University Libraries. pp. 5-15, 2005.
The appendix is a short abstract for reader's convenience of the item of Wikipedia on William Hope Hodgson.
S. Moskowitz, William Hope Hodgson. West Kingston, 1975.
Science Publishing Group
1 Rockefeller Plaza,
10th and 11th Floors,
New York, NY 10020
Tel: (001)347-983-5186