Monthly Archives: December 2018

A Mesmeric Tea Party

There will be a slight change of format for my Random History posts this year. The random number generator will still pick the year (any year between 1850 and 1999), but the date will be as close as possible to the actual calendar date of the post. For the 1st of January we are going to a rather strange tea party in Bradford ….. in 1881.

Bradford Daily Telegraph Saturday 1st January 1881

If you were in Bradford on New Year’s Day in 1881 you could have entertained yourself by going to the Mechanic’s Institute to a “Mesmeric Tea Party”, courtesy of Professor Kershaw, Electrician, of Southport. “Mesmeric entertainments” used a combination of hypnotism, psychic demonstrations, and new-fangled electric tricks to entertain the general public. Performers such as Professors Kershaw, Smalley and others of their like used pseudo-science to entertain the general public.