Mellon, Annie Fairlamb

Mellon, Annie Fairlamb

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Annie Fairlamb Mellon was a nineteenth century English materialization medium. At the age of nine, she had her first supernormal experience when she clairvoyantly saw her brother at sea in danger of drowning. In her family home circle, she developed automatic writing, which started with a violent trembling in her arm and hand followed by writing at tremendous speed. In a trance or with her eyes bandaged, she would produce pages of writing that described things taking place many miles away. She would also receive this information clairvoyantly or clairaudiently.

In 1873, Mellon was the official medium of the Newcastle Spiritual Evidence Society. Two years later she was examined by Professor Henry Sidgwick and Frederick W. H. Myers, of the Society for Psychical Research. The sittings were held in Cambridge under strict test conditions, and the results were described as excellent. In 1877, T. P. Barkus, a Newcastle Alderman, held tests to obtain spirit molds. Unknown to Mellon, he mixed magenta dye with the paraffin. The molds were found to be tinted with magenta, proving that they had not been smuggled into the séance room ahead of time. During a Continental tour, German investigators found that Mellon lost almost half of her body weight during materializations.

In Australia after her tour, Annie Fairlamb met and married J. B. Mellon of Sydney. On October 12, 1894, there was a spectacular exposure of the medium. At one of the sittings that took place in her home, another medium named T. Shekleton Henry suddenly grabbed hold of the materialized spirit known as “Cissie.” It turned out to be Mellon herself, half undressed. The rest of her garments were found in the cabinet. Mellon’s explanation was that she felt herself “shoot into the spirit form and become absorbed.” It was claimed that she suffered injury of some sort due to being grabbed while in trance. She resolved from then on to always sit out in front of the cabinet, not inside it, in full view of everyone.

As late as 1931, Mellon was still active as a medium, convincing many notable people that she was genuine. Retired magistrate H. L. Williams wrote to Harry Price, the well known psychical investigator, “Dr. Haworth, a well known doctor of Port Darwin, has testified before me that at Melbourne, in the presence of leading and professional men, he saw many times a spot of mist on the carpet which rose into a column out of which stepped a completely embodied human being …” Among others, Sir William Windeyer, Chief Judge, and Alfred Deaking, Prime Minister of Australia, were convinced that Mellon was genuine.


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