Marryat, Florence (1837-1899)

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Marryat, Florence (1837-1899)

British author, daughter of novelist Frederick Marryat, born July 9, 1837. She later became Mrs. Ross-Church, then Mrs. Francis Lean. Marryat published some 90 novels, about 100 short stories, and numerous essays, poems, and recitations; she lectured, wrote plays, toured as an actress with her own company, and edited a popular magazine. Many of her novels were translated into German, French, Swedish, Flemish, and Russian and were also popular in America.

Marryat is best remembered today, however, as a dedicated Spiritualist who was acquainted with most of the celebrated mediums of the 1870s and 1880s both in England and America. She was, for example, a witness to the famous farewell of "Katie King" to Florence Cook at the séance held by Sir William Crookes. Florence Marryat recorded her experiences in two books: There Is No Death (1891) and The Spirit World (1894), and both, especially the first, were frequently reprinted, being immensely popular. The two books are credited with securing hundreds of converts to Spiritualism. Later she also claimed mediumistic gifts herself, among them the strange power of summoning the spirits of the living.

She died in London on October 27, 1899. In the 1930s, Sir Oliver Lodge cast doubts upon the accuracy of the phenomena reported by Marryat.

Sources:

Lodge, Sir Oliver. Letters from Sir Oliver Lodge. Edited by J. A. Hill. London: Cassell, 1932.

Marryat, Florence. The Spirit World. New York: C.B. Reed, 1894.

. There Is No Death. 1891. Reprint, New York: Causeway Books, 1973.