Skip to page content

A seance with Fanny Wallace

A seance with Fanny Wallace (page 1)

Catalogue number: WP1/3/83(1)

Letter from Fanny Wallace to her brother Alfred Russel Wallace with details of a séance where family names were revealed, dated June 1887.

Wallace's sister Fanny wrote to him while he toured America. She enquired about his lecturing and commented on their brother John being 'convinced and converted'. This refers to spiritualism and the authenticity of séances they attended together.

Fanny recounts a séance with a medium called Mrs Marshall, where the signatures of visiting spirits were written underneath a table. Fanny concludes that the spirits present were of her father and grandmother, and comments 'how wonderful they should come together!' It is interesting to note the guesswork in Fanny's interpretation of the spirits' signatures that seemed to appear: 'I do not know who the O. Wallace was, but there were many uncles in Scotland'. She ponders the family history trying to establish which dead relatives may have visited.

Following many séances and in-depth study, Wallace embraced spiritualism. He was keen for others to share his experiences, demonstrated here with his family.

Search this collection
Contact us

For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library

Wallace Letters Online

Letter to Alfred Russel Wallace from the Royal Society, about his Darwin Medal award

View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.

Explore Wallace's correspondence