Smith, Susy

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SMITH, Susy

Born 2 June 1911, Washington, D.C.

Daughter of Merton M. and Elizabeth Hardegen Smith; married M. L. Smith, 1934 (divorced)

Suzy Smith's childhood was rootless because of frequent moves. After her father's death in 1933, Smith married but later divorced and lived with her mother until her mother's death in 1949. Subsequently, she has generally lived alone.

Her loneliness led Smith to the paranormal. In 1955, success in contacting her deceased mother with a Ouija board initiated Smith's interest in the field. Desiring to learn, Smith worked briefly with Dr. J. B. Rhine's Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. This association, together with many years in newspaper work, have had a lasting influence on Smith's writing. From Durham, Smith moved to Florida and thence to New York, where she resided until 1965. During this period, Smith received grants from the Parapsychology Foundation, which enabled her to prepare her first published books. Since 1965 when writing began to provide a modest living, Smith has traveled and lectured widely.

Smith's works fall roughly into two categories: those reporting psychic occurrences and those about herself. Smith's books on the psychic constitute an extensive data resource. Because Smith was deeply impressed by the methods of Dr. Rhine's laboratory, she has striven to bring similar objectivity and precision to her books. She rarely expresses her own opinions, but instead presents, simply and lucidly, the matters she is reporting and leaves the readers to form their own conclusions.

In sharp contrast, Smith's autobiographical works, Confessions of a Psychic (1971) and Conversion of a Psychic (1978), are deeply personal. Smith writes openly, even ingenuously, of herself and her psychic experiences. Her honesty provides the very evidence needed by skeptics to explain away her psychic life as the fabrication of her unconscious mind. She reveals herself as physically crippled, unwillingly single, and lonely. Yet the seemingly clear pattern of need fulfillment proves not to be clear. The spirit mother is bossy but not all—knowing. The spirit admirer is, as he was at death, ignorant, selfish, and dull. Nor does Smith's handling of her painful psychic misadventures draw attention; she does not discuss her difficulties until she has them under reasonable control. Smith's conversion to a born-again Christian, described in her second autobiography, provides skeptics with similar ammunition—but ammunition still not sufficient to prove her insincerity.

Smith has made a unique literary contribution. Her many works documenting psychic events and processes have brought an unprecedented amount of information on this subject to the public view, in simple, easily understandable language. Her books on herself provide a different, more moving insight. Smith shares with her readers the difficult, sometimes painful, process of becoming a psychic and, finally, of finding a living Jesus and the close comfort of a loving God.

Other Works:

ESP (1962). The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard (1963). The World of the Strange (1963). The Enigma of Out-of-Body Travel (1965). ESP for the Millions (1965). A Supernatural Primer for the Millions (1966). Haunted Houses for the Millions (1967). More ESP for the Millions (1967). Prominent American Ghosts (1967). Reincarnation for the Millions (1967). Adventures in the Supernormal (1968). Out-of-Body Experiences for the Millions (1968). Understanding ESP (1968). ESP: Widespread Psychic Wonders (1970). Ghosts Around the House (1970). Psychic Animals (1970). Today's Witches (1970). Susy Smith's Supernatural World (1971). ESP and You (1972). How to Develop Your ESP (1972). She Spoke to the Dead (1972). ESP and Hypnosis (1973). The Book of James (1974). Do We Live After Death? (1974). Exorcism: #5, Widespread Psychic Wonders (1974). Life is Forever: Evidence for Survival After Death (1974). Power of the Mind (1975). Strangers from Space (ca. 1976). Voices of the Dead? (1977). Ghost Writers in the Sky: More Communication from James (1990).

Bibliography:

Reference works:

WW of American Women (1978).

—LUCY MENGER