If you're at all interested in cultural studies of technology and/or medicine, the history of electricity is a fun rabbithole of weirdness. From Victorian spiritualists linking the charges of the supernatural and human nervous systems, to Edison electrocuting an elephant, to ether and violet wands, it's a dissertation section I can't wait to sit down and write.
(And yes, talking about how I can't wait to write part of my dissertation is one of the geekier things I'd said all week.)
I was reminded of it by NERVOUS ATMOSPHERES: PARASCIENTIFIC THEORIES OF THE MIND & HYPNOSIS DURING THE VICTORIAN ERA at Diary of a Voodoo Sithist. It's reposted from Wunderkammer, an Ozzie scientific and medical curiosity shop. (The author also a groovy article on French neurologist and inventor of hysteria Jean-Martin Charcot and the performance of pain.)
Some of my fave electro-reads:
- When Old Technologies Were New: Thinking About Electric Communication in the Late Nineteenth Century, by Carolyn Marvin.
- Haunted Media: Electronic Presence From Telegraphy to Television by Jeffrey Sconce.
- Ether: The Nothing That Connects Everything by Joe Milutis
- Dark Light: Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray by Linda Simon
- Blood and Volts: Edison, Tesla, and the Electric Chair by Th. Metzger