Robert Boyle's Strange Reports: From the Outlandish to the Supernatural

“Strange Reports” was a work that Robert Boyle began to publish right at the end of his life and left incomplete at his death. The published section comprised accounts of phenomena that were extraordinary yet were ‘purely Natural’. The unpublished part, on the other hand, promised to deal with ‘Phænomena, that are, or seem to be, of a Supernatural Kind or Order’, and this can be reconstructed from surviving materials among Boyle’s manuscripts. It is evident that this component had not formed part of his original plan for Strange Reports. Instead, Boyle’s perhaps surprising hope to provide indisputable empirical evidence of the existence of a supernatural realm seems to have grown in significance in his later years, evidently due to his increasing concern about the threat of ‘atheism’.