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Observations placeholder

Fancher, Mollie - The long trance



Type of Spiritual Experience


It is unclear whether this experience was a near death or an out of body experience

A description of the experience

Friar Herbert Thurston - The Physical Phenomenon of Mysticism

Ever since girlhood Miss Fancher s condition had been most pitiable, and her own statement regarding the beginning of her illness in 1866 is borne out by the evidence of her aunt and of the doctors.

For two months [she says] after my traduces commenced, fourteen persons were in constant attendance on me, a relay of seven being required to hold me upon the bed during the spasms. My body and limbs were drawn together until I was almost a ball; then I leaped forward like an arrow, and would have been killed but for the protection of friends and the wadded obstruction placed in the way. These conditions continued until the first week in May of 1866, when I went into a long trance.

Her aunt's contemporary diary corroborates this, stating, for example, in the early part of February 1866:

Her head and feet coming together, she would roll like a hoop, she would also stand on her toes and spin like a top. Several persons were required to prevent her from doing personal injury to herself.

These and similar convulsive spasms recurred at frequent intervals down to the time at which Dailey's book was compiled, in all, twenty-seven years. For anything that I have been able to learn to the contrary, they continued until her death, which, from a statement made in Bulletin No. XI of the Boston Society for Psychical Research, seems to have occurred not, as I previously supposed, before 1900, but after the beginning of the present century. What is certain is that as late as April 6, 1882, in one of her convulsive seizures, Mollie Fancher fell out of bed and severely injured the back of her neck. Similar falls had occurred many times previously when she had been left unattended. A barricade had been erected all round to prevent her hurting herself in such circumstances, but on this occasion it proved ineffective.

These alarming spasms were particularly liable to recur at night, and were often marked by a dissociation of personality.

The source of the experience

Fancher, Mollie

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps