Hollis-Billing, Mary J.

Hollis-Billing, Mary J.

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Mary Hollis-Billing was an American medium. She had two spirit guides: Ski, a Native American, and James Nolan. She twice visited England, in 1874 and again in 1880. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described her as “a lady of refinement.”

Hollis was initially known as a slate writer. Frequently the writing on the slate would be produced by a spirit hand in full view. Hollis did not go into trance but sat in front of a cabinet. Many times spirit hands would appear from out of the cabinet. These hands would appear very quickly. Once, as a test, Hollis’s hand was blackened with burnt cork but the spirit hands, when they appeared, were clean and white. On another occasion six spirit heads appeared at the same time. Sometimes the spirit visitors were people who had been famous when alive. Napoleon appeared, as did Empress Josephine.

From 1871 through 1873 Dr. N. B. Wolfe of Chicago investigated her and was very impressed, writing of his experiences in Startling Facts in Modern Spiritualism. At most of the séances there was direct voice, with as many as thirty-four different voices speaking during one séance. Sometimes more than one voice would be speaking at once.

Sources:

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The History of Spiritualism. New York: Doran, 1926
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933