Hardy, Mary M.

Hardy, Mary M.

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Mary M. Hardy was a medium who lived in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1875, paraffin casts of spirit hands were obtained for the first time through her mediumship. William Denton (1823–1893), Professor of Geology, investigated Hardy’s mediumship under rigid test conditions over a number of years. In a public demonstration given by Hardy in Paine Hall, with Denton present, a cast of a spirit face was produced.

Hardy’s séances were usually held in public halls, with large numbers of witnesses; sometimes several hundred. On the platform, she would have a table with two containers of liquid underneath it. One of the containers held paraffin wax and the other cold water. The table was draped with a cloth that extended to the ground, to give some darkness for the development of the phenomena. Sitting beside the table, Hardy would wait—sometimes as long as fifteen minutes or more—until, a rapping was heard. Then the cloth would be lifted and a wax mold would be found floating in the vessel of water.

Other mediums later demonstrated similar paraffin wax molds of spirit hands. Among them were Annie Fairlamb Mellon and William Eglinton. In England, William Oxley described how a beautiful mold of a woman’s hand was obtained on February 5, 1876, with the medium Mrs. Firman. A mold was then taken of Mrs. Firman’s hand and was found to be quite different.


Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan: The History of Spiritualism. New York: Doran, 1926
Shepard, Leslie A: Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. New York: Avon Books, 1978
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