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The Unexplained Enigma of Mollie Fancher

Updated on July 3, 2012
Mollie Francher
Mollie Francher | Source

by Christine B.

Known to all as the Brooklyn Enigma, Mary (Mollie) Fancher was born an ordinary girl in the mid 1800’s and lived in the Clinton Hill community of Brooklyn, New York. However, an accident where she was dragged by a street car in 1865 at the age of eighteen changed her life forever.

After the accident Mollie spent the remainder of her life (50 years) in bed. During these years she became blind, paralyzed, and could not eat for years on end, but she was never helpless. She was able to create beautifully detailed embroidered clothes that she claimed were guided by the departed, (remember she was blind). She often talked to spirits who had passed on. These spirits gave her messages for the living. Mollie found lost articles by divination, and
was able to describe what fashions friends and relatives were wearing in distant cities. She was also able to “read” letters and books by running her hands over the pages, even when these items were placed under her bed clothing.

Physicians were baffled by the fact that Mollie barely ate any food for years, but she appeared healthy and survived without losing a great deal of weight. In 1870 a local newspaper reported Mollie’s food intake: “In one six-month period, her recorded intake was four teaspoons of milk punch, two teaspoons of wine, one small banana, and a piece of cracker.”

At one point Mollie slipped into a trance that lasted nine years. After she awoke from it she claimed to be clairvoyant. She was able to read other’s thoughts and “see” into other rooms, seemingly through walls.

Mollie awed and amazed everyone for 50 years, but no one was ever able to prove her to be a fraud. She lived an immobile, but noteworthy life. In 1916 Mollie passed on to the other side. The embroidered clothes Mollie created are now on display at the Lily Dale Museum, 5 Melrose Park, Lily Dale, New York.

You can learn more about Mollie Fancher at:


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