Pepper, May S. (1868– )
Pastor of the First Spiritualist Church of Brooklyn, whose
powers of clairvoyance were a subject of lively discussion in the
American press for a considerable time. She was born in Mansfield,
Massachusetts, in May 1868. When only 16 years old,
after the death of her mother, she became controlled by the
spirit ‘‘Bright Eyes.’’ As she demonstrated her mediumistic talent
at public meetings, she was ostracized by members of the
public and even her father, who claimed that her phenomena
were from ‘‘the evil one.’’ She became one of the leading American
mediums and president of the Rhode Island State Spiritualist
Association.
According to contemporary accounts, her congregation
wrote letters to deceased friends and put them in a plain envelope
on a small table. After a prayer and short sermon, Pepper
would take a letter and return a correct answer to the question
if it was put in a spirit of serious inquiry, or declare it to be an
attempt to mislead her. It also was said that she asked the spirit
she clairvoyantly saw to look for the letter addressed to him.
Before all eyes, the pile of letters moved and one of them was
taken as though by an invisible hand and thrown on the floor.
James H. Hyslop, William James, J. D. Quackenbos and
many others expressed their confidence in Pepper’s supernormal
faculties.

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