Marryat, Florence (1837–1899)
British author, daughter of novelist Frederick Marryat, born
July 9, 1837. She later became Mrs. Ross-Church, then Mrs.
Francis Lean. Marryat published some 90 novels, about 100
short stories, and numerous essays, poems, and recitations; she
lectured, wrote plays, toured as an actress with her own company,
and edited a popular magazine. Many of her novels were
translated into German, French, Swedish, Flemish, and Russian
and were also popular in America.
Marryat is best remembered today, however, as a dedicated
Spiritualist who was acquainted with most of the celebrated mediums
of the 1870s and 1880s both in England and America.
She was, for example, a witness to the famous farewell of ‘‘Katie
King’’ to Florence Cook at the séance held by Sir William
Crookes. Florence Marryat recorded her experiences in two
books There Is No Death (1891) and The Spirit World (1894), and
both, especially the first, were frequently reprinted, being immensely
popular. The two books are credited with securing
hundreds of converts to Spiritualism. Later she also claimed
mediumistic gifts herself, among them the strange power of
summoning the spirits of the living.
She died in London on October 27, 1899. In the 1930s, Sir
Oliver Lodge cast doubts upon the accuracy of the phenomena
reported by Marryat.
Lodge, Sir Oliver. Letters from Sir Oliver Lodge. Edited by J.
A. Hill. London Cassell, 1932.
Marryat, Florence. The Spirit World. New York C.B. Reed,
———. There Is No Death. 1891. Reprint, New York Causeway
Books, 1973.

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