Fancher, Mollie (1848–1910)
A Brooklyn girl who, because of two serious accidents, became
blind and bedridden at age 17, yet lived another 44 years
exhibiting remarkable phenomena of clairvoyance and multiple
personality. Fancher became known as ‘‘the Brooklyn Enigma.’’
She took no food for nine years and lay on her right side
in a paralyzed state with twisted limbs; all the natural functions
of her body ceased, at times no pulse was felt, and, except for
the region of the heart, her body became entirely cold. In this
state she was possessed by a different personality that executed
delicate fancywork with her crippled hands, wrote beautifully,
read books under her pillow clairvoyantly, saw colors in the
dark, discovered lost articles, and exhibited astounding traveling
clairvoyance. Henry M. Parkhurst, the eminent American
astronomer, testified to her reading a torn-up letter that was
fished out of a wastepaper basket and enclosed in a sealed envelope.
Fancher’s original personality returned after nine years; the
bodily rigidity relaxed and she became prey to frightful fits of
convulsions. Between such fits, Fancher was possessed by various
new invading personalities, called ‘‘Sunbeam,’’ ‘‘Idol,’’
‘‘Rosebud,’’ ‘‘Ruby,’’ and ‘‘Pearl.’’ Her personality changed five
times in one night, the invaders keeping up a constant quarrel
among themselves.
The story of her strange life was narrated by Judge Abram
H. Dailey in Mollie Fancher, published in Brooklyn in 1894. The
case was also reviewed by Walter Franklin Prince in Bulletin
XI of the Boston Society for Psychic Research.

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