Thayer, M(ary) B(aker) (ca. 1887)
Well-known professional apport and slate-writing medium
of Boston, who chiefly produced flowers and fruits, sometimes
live birds. In the Banner of Light (1875) there is an account of
a canary apport in answer to a mental request. In the report of
the Seybert Commission, a slate-writing séance attended by
one Professor Fullerton was considered a failure. There was a
description of another séance, at which 30 people were present.
The Seybert Commission was represented by Drs. Koenig and
According to the Leidy’s account
‘‘. . . sounds were heard of objects dropping on the table,
and from time to time matches were lit and exposed, strewn before
the company, cut plants and flowers. These were all of the
kind sold at this season by the florists, consisting of a pine
bough, fronds of ferns, roses, pinks, tulips, lilies, callas and smilax.
At one time there fell on the table a heavy body, which
proved to be a living terrapin, at another time there appeared
Texas Monthly UFO Report Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
a pigeon which flew about the room. . . . The proprietor of the
house declared that the flowers and the other objects brought
to view in the séance were not previously in the room, and their
appearance could not be explained unless through spiritual
In a footnote to his translation of Adolphe d’Assier’s book
Posthumous Humanity (1887) Henry S. Olcott writes
‘‘While she [Mrs. Thayer] was enclosed in a large bag, sealed
closely at her neck, and all possibility of trickery guarded
against, I have seen a long table, quite covered with vines,
plants and flowers, dropped out of space. I marked a certain
leaf of a rare plant in the garden without her knowledge, and
the same evening, in response to my mental request, it
dropped upon the back of my hand, with which I was at the moment
holding the medium’s two hands. The above occurred in
the dark; but once a tree branch was brought me in full daylight,
through her mediumship, in the house of a gentleman
whose guest I was.’’
Due to the nature of her work with apports and slate writing
and the fact that her only support came from people such as
Olcott, who was never known for his critical approach to such
phenomena, Thayer is considered likely to be one of the fraudulent
mediums of the era.