Tags: constance fenimore woolson

Young Mrs. Clarke

Telepathic Scarabs

A research question -- very odd, but I do get lured down strange by-ways when I do research -- that I'm hoping someone who reads this may be able to help with.  Probably not, but no harm in trying.

Constance Fenimore Woolson had a scarab pin from Egypt -- a gift from her friend Dr. Baldwin -- that she believed to possess 'ancient telepathic powers.'    I read about this in a wonderful biography by Lyndall Gordon,  A Private Life of Henry James. 

I wrote to Lyndall Gordon for more details but, alas, she didn't know any more than that -- not even exactly what Woolson meant by 'telepathic powers" -- was the scarab communicating with her?  or enhancing her own telepathic abilities?  This detail came from one of her letters, and was not glossed.   Lyndall Gordon suggested I might try asking Joan Weimer, who is something of an authority on the life and works of Constance Fenimore Woolson, so I wrote to her, but she had no more insight into the scarab, although she did explain that Woolson was much impressed by a book by Thomas Jay Hudson (The Law of Psychic Phenomena) making the argument that a ghost is effectively an "embodied thought" or telepathic communication from the dead.  I went on to read Joan Weimer's book, Back Talk: Teaching Lost Selves to Speak,  which is, among other things, a sort of meditation or fantasy on the idea of the modern day author (Joan Weimer) having a sort of telepathic link with her subject (Constance Fenimore Woolson) -- all EXTREMELY interesting, but takes me no further towards satisfying my curiosity about that scarab! (Or, indeed, other scarabs.)

Attempts to use search engines just threw up some sort of fantasy role playing game... I am not interested in that, nor in any modern fantasies featuring telepathic or any other types of scarab. [Fiction written before about 1930 could be of interest, however.]

But if anyone knows anything else even remotely connected with the subject -- or has any hints or ideas about it -- please get in touch!