Friday, February 3, 2012   6:55 PM

New Article about Ernesto Bozzano

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

Atlantic University (

Italian psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano (1862-1943), a favorite of mine, has received some attention over the years. Unfortunately for English-language students with the exception of my papers about aspects of his work, most of these discussions have appeared in Italian. Among them we may mention Giovanni Iannuzzo’s and Silvio Ravaldini’s works (see the bibliography at the end).


                                                                        Ernesto Bozzano

More recently Luca Gasperini has joined the ranks of the students of Bozzano’s life and work, producing a comprehensive thesis for academic work at the University of Bologna, aspects of which have appeared in the Italian journalLuce e Ombrain which Bozzano published a good proportion of his work when he was alive. I have appended at the end of these comments a brief bibliography of modern writings about Bozzano.


                                                                            Luca Gasperini

Gasperini has published an overview of Bozzano’s life and work in his article “Ernesto Bozzano: An Italian Spiritualist and Psychical Researcher” (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2012, 25, 755-773) which is the best English-language introduction to Bozzano available today. In addition to biographical information the article has a very good introduction to Bozzano’s approach and methodology, not to mention his analyses and evaluations of psychic phenomena in relation to the issue of survival of death.


Gasperini writes: “Ernesto Bozzano . . . was probably the most important Italian representative of psychical and spiritualistic studies before the 1940s, as well as one of the few to emerge on the international scene, thanks to his numerous publications which gained him the esteem of scientists, philosophers, and psychical researchers. He was at the center of an intense network of correspondence with Italian, European, and American intellectuals, receiving an average of 200 letters a month, and was furthermore one of the few Italian scholars to have been named an honorary member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), and the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI) . . . [But] Bozzano is completely unknown in Italy to those who do not deal with the history of psychical research.”


He wrote that Bozzano attempted to “create a ‘metapsychical philosophy’ capable of interpreting and coherently connecting paranormal phenomena, above all considering the demonstration of human survival, the topic which interested him primarily, but also secondarily deriving some notions of metaphysical and cosmological order of the general guiding hypotheses with which to return and compare the psychic phenomena in order to justify and organize them in a wider perspective, namely that of the spiritual evolution of the universe.”


Finally, Gasperini concluded: “Bozzano was deeply convinced of his Spiritistic hypothesis and therefore spent 50 years of his life collecting his immense paranormal record of cases in order to demonstrate them scientifically, so that no one could any longer voice doubts about them . . . . The methods of Bozzano, which Iannuzzo . . . defined as observational and naturalistic and which we can also call bibliographic, must have seemed rather simplistic to the parapsychologists of the experimental school . . . . Nevertheless, from a historical point of view, he symbolically epitomized the interest of his time and place for spiritualism and psychical phenomena, and to study him permits, if nothing else, a more in-depth reconstruction of the Italian situation . . . . ”


Some Writings About Ernesto Bozzano (for a bibliography of Bozzano's writings see

Alvarado, C.S. (1987). The life and work of an Italian Psychical Researcher: A review of Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e L'Opera by Giovanni Iannuzzo. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 81, 37-47.

Alvarado, C. S. (2005). Ernesto Bozzano on the phenomena of bilocation. Journal of Near-Death
Studies, 23
, 207–238.

Alvarado, C. S. (2007). Remarks on Ernesto Bozzano’s La Psiche Domina la MateriaJournal of Near-Death Studies, 25,

Biondi, M. (1984). Pagine d’appunti di Ernesto Bozzano [A page of notes about Ernesto Bozzano]. Luce e Ombra, 84, 156–164.

Bozzano, E. (1924). Autobiographical sketch. Journal of the American Society for Psychical
Research, 18
, 153–155.

Di Porto, B. (no year). Ernesto Bozzano. In Dizionario Biografi co degli Italiani (Vol. 13, pp. 578–580). Rome: Treccani.

Gasperini, L. (2009-2010). Ernesto Bozzano: Tra Spiritismo Scientifico e la Ricerca Psichica [Ernesto Bozzano" Between Scientific Spiritism and Psychical Research]. Laurea thesis, University of Bologna.

Gasperini, L. (2010). L’annosa disputa Bozzano–Morselli [The age-old dispute Bozzano-Morselli]. Luce e Ombra, 110, 290–306.

Gasperini, L. (2011). Ernesto Bozzano, i “popoli primitivi” ed Ernesto de Martino (Ernesto Bozzani, "primitive people," and Ernesto de Martino]. Luce e Ombra, 111, 17–25.

Gasperini, L. (2011). Criptestesia o ipotesi spiritica? Ch. Richet ed E. Bozzano a confronto [Cryptesthesia or spiritistic hypothesis? The confrontation of Ch. Richet and E. Bozzano] Luce e Ombra, 111, 113-126.

Iannuzzo, G. (1983). Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e l’Opera [Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work]. Verona: Luce e Ombra.

Ravaldini, S. (1993). Ernesto Bozzano e la Ricerca Psichica: Vita e Opere di un Pioniere della
[Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work of a Pioneer of Parapsychology]. Rome: Mediterranee. (For a review see

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