Andrews, Mary

Andrews, Mary

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Mary Andrews, of Moravia, New York, was one of the earliest materialization mediums. Described as “a plain, uneducated peasant woman,” she held her séances in the home of a neighboring farmer named Keeler. Starting in 1871, she conducted two types of séances: “dark-room séances” and “light-room séances.” The former was held in total darkness and the latter in only slightly diminished light.

In the dark-room séances, questions asked by the sitters were answered by spirit lights. There was a lot of physical phenomena, including the playing of a piano that was in the séance room, the sprinkling of water into the faces of the sitters, the sound of spirit voices, and touching by spirit hands. In the light-room séances, Mary Andrews sat in a cabinet. Hands, arms, and busts materialized outside the cabinet. When spirit faces appeared, their lips were seen to move as they spoke and many of the sitters recognized departed relatives. Andrews did not go into trance, though she sat in séances almost every day for an extended time.

Another phenomenon at materialization séances that pleased many was the perceived scent of a perfume-like fragrance (clairalience). Sometimes it was recognizable as a flower, such as a rose, and sometimes as a particular lady’s perfume. It was impossible to gauge the origin of the fragrance.

There is little record of Mary Andrews in Spiritualist literature, though she is mentioned briefly in T. R. Hazard’s Eleven Days in Moravia, in Epes Sargent’s Proof Palpable of Immortality, and in Eugene Crowell’s The Identity of Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism.

Sources:

Awtry-Smith, Marilyn: “They” Paved the Way. New York: Spiritualism & More, nd
Crowell, Eugene: The Identity of Primitive Christianity and Modern Spiritualism. New York: 1875
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Sargent, Epes: Proof Palpable of Immortality. Boston: 1880