were in the air, pose as having exposed a medium

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Senior Member
Does "were in the air" mean " to be going to happen very soon " or not?
Does "pose as having exposed a medium" mean "pretend to expose someone else"?

In the year 1876 the Slade trial was going on in London, as already described, and exposures were in the air. In considering the following rather puzzling and certainly suspicious case, one has to remember that when a man who is a public performer, a conjurer or a mesmerist, can pose as having exposed a medium, he wins a valuable public advertisement and attracts to himself all that very numerous section of the community who desire to see such an exposure. It is only fair to bear this in mind in endeavouring to hold the scales fair where there is a conflict of evidence.
" the text belongs to history of spiritualism by arthur conan doyle "
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    be in the air = pervade the current mood / be in everyone’s minds in a certain situation

    “pose as having exposed a medium” = present himself as someone who has done that (who has exposed a medium as being a fraud)


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The writer thinks a conjurer or mesmerist (who are both performers who don't claim to have supernatural powers) who has exposed a medium as being a fraud will gain attention and fame and therefore boost their own career. So he thinks they have an incentive to say they exposed fraud even if they really didn't.

    Remember, the writer believes in supernatural powers so he is unwilling to admit it's only fraud and even reluctant to admit there might be some fraud. So he doesn't say the conjurer has exposed fraud, he says he acts (poses) like he has exposed fraud. He thinks it isn't true and that it's only for selfish reasons. He is arguing that the performer wants to be more famous and therefore become more popular and earn more money as a performer, so he is claiming to have exposed fraud.
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