On This Day … 13 May

People (Births)

  • 1895 – Nandor Fodor, Hungarian-American psychologist, parapsychologist, and author (d. 1964).

People (Deaths)

  • 2013 – Joyce Brothers, American psychologist, author, and actress (b. 1927).

Nandor Fodor

Nandor Fodor (13 May 1895 to 17 May 1964 in New York City, New York) was a British and American parapsychologist, psychoanalyst, author and journalist of Hungarian origin.

Fodor was born in Beregszász, Hungary. He received a doctorate in law from the Royal Hungarian University of Science in Budapest. He moved to New York to work as a journalist and to Britain in 1929 where he worked for a newspaper company.

Fodor was one of the leading authorities on poltergeists, haunting and paranormal phenomena usually associated with mediumship. Fodor, who was at one time Sigmund Freud’s associate, wrote on subjects like prenatal development and dream interpretation, but is credited mostly for his magnum opus, Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science, first published in 1934. Fodor was the London correspondent for the American Society for Psychical Research (1935-1939). He worked as an editor for the Psychoanalytic Review and was a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Fodor in the 1930s embraced paranormal phenomena but by the 1940s took a break from his previous work and advocated a psychoanalytic approach to psychic phenomena. He published sceptical newspaper articles on mediumship, which caused opposition from spiritualists.

Among the subjects he closely studied was the case of Gef the talking mongoose.

Joyce Brothers

Joyce Diane Brothers (20 October 1927 to 13 May 2013) was an American psychologist, television personality, advice columnist, and writer. She first became famous in 1955 for winning the top prize on the American game show The $64,000 Question. Her fame from the game show allowed her to go on to host various advice columns and television shows, which established her as a pioneer in the field of “pop (popular) psychology”.

Brothers is often credited as the first to normalise psychological concepts to the American mainstream. Her syndicated columns were featured in newspapers and magazines, including a monthly column for Good Housekeeping, in which she contributed for nearly 40 years. As Brothers quickly became the “face of psychology” for American audiences, she often appeared in various television roles, usually as herself. From the 1970s onward, she also began to accept fictional roles that parodied her “woman psychologist” persona. She is noted for working continuously for five decades across various genres. Numerous groups recognised Brothers for her strong leadership as a woman in the psychological field and for helping to destigmatise the profession overall.

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