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Marshall, Mary (1842-1884)

Marshall, Mary (1842-1884)

The first British professional medium, through whom both Sir William Crookes and Alfred Russel Wallace obtained their introduction to the phenomena of Spiritualism. Her manifestations consisted of raps, movements, and levitations of the table, knotting handkerchiefs under the table-leaf, and writing on glass. This latter appears to have been a rudimentary form of slate-writing, with which she later confronted her sitters. The first account of this demonstration was published by Thomas Barkas in Outlines of Ten Years' Investigations into the Phenomena of Modern Spiritualism (1862).

On a small scale, Marshall exhibited most of the phenomena of later mediums. From 1867 she held sittings for direct voice in which "John King" manifested. In her first séances she was assisted by her niece and occasionally by her young son. Her husband developed drawing mediumship.

A writer in the journal All the Year Round (July 28, 1860) characterized her performance as a "dull and barefaced imposition," but Robert Bell, the celebrated dramatist, writing in the Cornhill magazine, was satisfied that the phenomena were genuine spirit manifestations.

Sources:

Barkas, Thomas P. Outlines of Ten Years' Investigations into the Phenomena of Modern Spiritualism. London, 1862.

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