W. H. Salter

W. H. Salter

     W. H. SALTER went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, with a Classical Scholarship in 1899, took a first class degree in 1901, turned to read Law, and was called to the Barin 1905. 'He was', wrote Professor C. D. Broad in his obituary, 'a typical cultured Liberal Nonconformist' who 'exhibited ... the many virtues and occasional angularities of that once powerful and now almost extinct Victorian species.' He added to great learning, a talent for administration, and a profound - and comforting - self assurance, a very useful gift for getting on with most people (though one must except Miss Moberley and Miss Jourdain of Versailles fame) and considerable bonhomie, which once led to his being crowned with flowers from the tables of a Paris bistro, by some French students who had seen him keeping his own small party there in explosions of laughter. A man of rock-like integrity, he had, in later life, an odd resemblance to an extremely intelligent and respectable white Aberdeen terrier.

He married in 1915 Helen Verrall, daughter of two classical scholars at Cambridge. Like her mother, she produced much automatic writing. In 1916 W. H. Salter joined the Society for Psychical research, to become a member of its Council three years later. From 1920 to 1931, a very difficult financial period, he served as Honorary Treasurer; and from 1924 to 1948 he was Honorary Secretary. He was President from 1947-8. The Society owed an enormous amount to his steady, firm, efficient guidance, to his hard and unremitting work, and to the confidence he inspired.

He deposited two collections of SPR material in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. The first, handed over in 1956, consisted of his own reminiscences of the Society. It was not opened till 1996. The second, handed over in 1963, not opened till 1995, is labelled 'Matter of Importance in connection with the Cross Correspondences', and contains inter alia, a number of unpublished scripts, diaries and letters.

He made many contributions to the SPR Journal and Proceedings, and published two admirable books, Ghosts and Apparitions (1938) and Zoar (1961).

Source (with minor modifications): The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History by Renée Haynes (1982, Macdonald & Co (Publishers) Ltd, London).

Books by W. H. Salter on this website:

Zoar: or the Evidence of Psychical Research concerning Survival



Some parts of this page The International Survivalist Society 2004