Fay, Annie Eva

Fay, Annie Eva

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Annie Eva Fay was a controversial American medium. She seemed to pass every test to which she was subjected, but later it was alleged that she offered to sell the secrets of her mediumship to a stage magician.

The phenomena produced by Fay were similar to those produced by the Davenport Brothers. On a visit to England in 1874, Fay did a demonstration at the Crystal Palace in London. The psychic researcher Sir William Crookes was so impressed that he invited her to sit at his house. There she was enclosed in an electric circuit with electrodes held in her hands. A galvanometer recorded any variation of pressure or movement of her hands. During the séance various objects were moved, a locked bureau was opened, and a bell was rung. Crookes was impressed but Frank Podmore suggested that she knew about the test ahead of time, from records of a similar trial conducted by Crookes, and employed resistant coils to bypass the electrodes.

Fay had a falling out with her manager, who subsequently offered explanations on how Fay operated. These were not taken seriously until the stage magician J. N. Maskelyne claimed to have in his possession a letter from Fay offering to sell him her secrets. It is not known, however, whether Maskelyne actually had such a letter.

Sources:

Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
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