Mellon, Annie Fairlamb (Mrs. J. B. Mellon)
(ca. 1850–ca. 1938)
British materialization medium. Her first supernormal experience
was at the age of nine, when she saw her brother at sea
in danger of drowning. Later physical powers manifested in a
violent trembling of hand and arm. This was followed, in the
family circle, by automatic writing with lightning-like speed, by
clairvoyance, and by clairaudience. With bandaged eyes she
would fall into a trance and describe events happening at the
time many miles away, events which were subsequently verified.
In 1873 she and C. E. Wood were employed as official mediums
of the Newcastle Spiritual Evidence Society. In 1875 they
sat for Henry Sidgwick and F. W. H. Myers of the Society for
Psychical Research at Cambridge, England. The séances,
which were held under the strictest test conditions, produced
excellent results, but neither Sidgwick nor Myers chose to announce
their observations in public.
In 1877 Alderman T. P. Barkas of Newcastle made successful
experiments to obtain spirit molds (see plastics). Unknown
to Fairlamb, he mixed magenta dye with the paraffin. The
molds were found to be tinted with magenta, which proved that
they were not smuggled in ready-made.
After touring the Continent, during which German investigators
found that she lost almost half of her bodily weight during
materializations, Fairlamb went to Australia. There she
married J. B. Mellon of Sydney but continued to give sittings
at her own home. Charles W. MacCarthy, at whose residence
Mellon often sat, became convinced of the reality of the phenomena.
On October 12, 1894, a disastrous exposure of her fraud
took place in Mellon’s house. T. Shekleton Henry, another medium
and pretended friend, grabbed ‘‘Cissie,’’ the materialized
spirit, and found it to be the medium half undressed. The missing
pieces of garment were found in the cabinet. Mellon defended
herself by saying that she seemed to shoot into the
grabbed form and became absorbed. She was said to have suffered
serious injury in consequence of the spirit grabbing, and
after her recovery she resolved never to sit in the cabinet again
but always before the curtain in full view of the sitters.
The story of the exposure is told by T. Shekleton Henry in
Spookland (1902), to which a rebuttal was published by someone
under the pseudonym ‘‘Psyche’’ in A Counterblast to Spookland;
or, Glimpses of the Marvellous (1895).
As late as 1931 Mellon was still active as a medium. H. L.
Williams, a retired magistrate from the Punjab, wrote to Harry
Price (Psychic Research, June 1931) ‘‘As regards her (Mrs. Mellon),
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 who was recognised. . . .’’ Sir
William Windeyer, chief judge, and Alfred Deaking, prime
minister of Australia, were, according to the letter, convinced
that Mellon was genuine. Of course none of these men, however
eminent, were trained observers.Meisner (or Mesna Lorentz) (ca. 1608)
Early alchemist whose work is recorded in his tract Gemma
Gemmarum Alchimistarum; oder, Erleuterung der Parabolischen und
Philosophischen Schrifften Fratris Basilij, der zwölff Schlüssel, von
dem Stein der vharalten Weisen, und desselben aufsdrücklichen und
warhaften praeparation; Sampt etlichen seinen Particularen, published
in Leipzig in 1608. This edition also includes a tract on
the philosophers’ stone by Conrad Schülern. (See also alchemy)