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Periodical: The Biological Review

Summary:  From Pat Deveney's database:

Biological Review, The.
A Monthly Repertory of the Science of Life.
1858--1859 Publisher: W. Freeman; William Horsell. Editor: Kenneth Robert Henderson Mackenzie, editor and publisher.
Succeeds: The Zoist
1/1, October 1858-January 1859, 4 nos. only. 32-40 pp., one shilling per issue.

The title was originally to be "The Pythagorean," but, as the editor explained in the first issue, adopted Biological Review in reference to "bios" (life in all its aspects) and "logos" (study or discourse), a meaning reflected in the subtitle. This was a short-lived journal published by Kenneth Robert Henderson Mackenzie (1833-1886), it is said at his own expense, and written mainly by him and by the homeopathic physician and Mesmerist Jacob Dixon. The journal announced in its first issue that its purpose was "to be a strictly scientific work is the purpose of this Review, and its subject matter will include phenomena of every kind incidental to the life of man. Mathematical and Physical Science, Medicine, Ethnology, Archeology, Mesmerism, Phrenology and the Finer Physics generally, will be considered and reported upon, and a record of cases and facts will be made." The intention was to comprehend and continue the work begun in the Zoist and, as Christopher Cooke in his Curiosities of Occult Literature (1861) notes (274), to "connect and harmonize the results of practical science with the little understood laws governing the structure of man; and the symbol of the work was the Crux Ansata, or handled cross -- the sign of immortality," which symbol figures on the cover of the journal. In practice, perhaps compelled by the material that was available to publish, the journal devoted itself principally to homeopathy, the medical side of mesmerism (including dry compilations of the admissions and income of Dr. Elliotson's Mesmeric Infirmary over the years), and the messages derived from calling spirits into mirrors.

Mackenzie figures in all histories of the occult in the period. While he tried to make a living with translations and books on exotic lands, he really busied himself with his own automatic trance writing, seeing visions in magic mirrors, the Societas Rosicruciana, the Swedenborgian Rite and other obscure rites, the Brothers of Luxor, etc. He contributed to the journal the year-long communications from a spirit received through a young woman member of Mackenzie's family by automatic writing. He was a pupil of the scryer Fred Erick Hockley, who, as "F.H.," contributed a communication "Spirit, Who Art Thou, and Where" to the first issue, explaining the method of procuring the message:

"For many centuries it has been known to a few, that by means properly employed, and under favourable conditions. Spirits can be induced to appear in mirrors prepared for the, and that they will reply to questions upon metaphysical, moral, religious, or, in fact, almost any subjects of vital importance to the interrogator. In this manner, an inhabitant of the Spiritual Spheres, upon the 6th of October, 1857, delivered, between 7.30 p.m., and 0.20 p.m. the foregoing discourse, which must be read upon its own merits, and upon which it is not desired to make any comments here, as the opinions contained in it are open, as are all opinions, to the examination of the intellect. F. H."

The astrologer Richard James Morrison ("Zadkiel," 1795-1874), who advertised in the journal both as Lieutenant Morrison (his carefully concealed identity) and as Zadkiel, contributed several articles on astrology ("The Universality of Astrology") and a careful article "On Astrology: As Applicable to a Knowledge of Antiquity") to elucidate the relationship between the position of the stars and scrying:

"The spirits or angels of the planets, when summoned in the Magic Crystal, invariably confirm the doctrine, that their several charges are confined to those hours. And thus, if a Crystal dedicated to Michael, the angel of the Sun, be used, the angel should be called on the day of the sun (the 1st day of the week), and in the hour of the sun, viz., the 1st after sunrise, or the 8th hour of the day."

Christopher Cooke contributed "Astrology and the Statute Book" to the journal, and it also carried an extended discussion of the new science of "Electro-Dentistry," a review of Dixon's Confessions of a Truth Seeker and noted that the appendix contained P.B. Randolph's "The Laws of Spiritual Intercourse," delivered in England the preceding year, and admiring notes on the philosophy of Auguste Comte. Besides the advertisements by Morrison and Zadkiel, the journal carried a notice by Thomas Welton, "Manufacturer of artificial limbs to the hospitals, infirmaries and railways."

The journal would appear to have been doomed from its start since it appeared at the same time (and with generally the same interests) as Dixon's The Two Worlds and William Carpenter's The Spiritual Messenger, both of which had the same publisher as this journal. Horsell (1807-1863), who also published the British Spiritual Telegraph, was an earnest and indefatigable enthusiast, a vegetarian, Chartist, radical progressive, and a believer in hydropathy and supporter of Temperance and phrenology, and published about 30 ephemeral journals on all these subjects. He was also the English publisher of Walt Whitman. Microfilm in BL, and copy in the (American) National Library of Medicine.

Issues:Biological Review V1 N1 Oct 1858
Biological Review V1 N2 Nov 1858
Biological Review V1 N3 Dec 1858
Biological Review V1 N4 Jan 1859

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