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Spirit and Distant Healing Part 24 Healing in Victorian Times - more about Mrs. J. H. (Fannie) Con

By:Richard Rowley
Date: Fri,18 Mar 2011
Submitter:Richard Rowley

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Dr. Fisher's healing of Colonel Pope through the
mediumship of Mrs J.H. Conant awakened much interest
at the time (December, 1855), an account of it
appearing in the Boston 'Daily Mail' and people coming
from various parts of the State to question concerning
the matter for themselves. Not long after his
recovery, while Colonel Pope was riding in an omnibus
on Washington Street, the conversation among several
of the passengers turned upon Spiritualism and the
late surgical operation said to have been so
successfully performed by a 'spirit medium.' One of
the party doubtingly remarked, 'I should like to see
that man whose leg was set by a female spirit medium.'
Colonel Pope immediately replied, 'Gentlemen, I am
the man, and can vouch for the entire truth of the
statement.' Colonel Pope is still alive - residing in
Boston - and bears willing testimony to the truth of
this account.
Many difficult cases were brought for the
consideration of the spirit doctor, after his
treatment of the foregoing; the time of his medium
was entirely consumed by the demands of patients, and
many wonderful cures were wrought by him during Mrs
Conant's residence at the house. Whenever Dr. Fisher
perceived on the morning of any particular day that he
was about to have a serious matter presented for
examination, he would control his medium, and through
her, give orders to Mrs. Pope that she must be
exceedingly careful of Mrs. Conant's diet, and give
her nothing, till further orders, but plain 'gruel' -
a provision which was not very agreeable to Mrs
Conant, but seemed to be indispensable for his
successful operation through her organism. These
directions were implicitly obeyed by Mrs Pope, whose
confidence in Dr. Fisher was unbounded.
Her invisible guides now gave directions to Mrs
Conant that she must discontinue manual labor in any
form; proscribing even her sewing for herself; but she
being of an active turn of mind, found it impossible
to remain seated, when she HAD a leisure moment,
without some employment to occupy her attention.
Among her attendant spirits was an old Indian chief,
Wapanaw, who particularly (in his capacity of magnetic
adviser) objected to her so doing, giving as a reason,
that by wasting her bodily strength in physical labor,
she was expending the life force which was necessary
for consumption by the spirits in their operations.
On one occasion, shortly after the accident just
recounted, as she sat sewing upon a black silk dress
which she desired soon to complete, this Indian friend
continued especially near her, and great was her
annoyance at the obstacles which he threw in her way
with a view to discouraging her personal efforts to
finish it - he desiring her to employ some one else.
At the time Colonel Pope and his wife were in the
room. A skein of silk which Mrs Conant was using
suddenly disappeared, and could not be found,
although, vexed at its loss, she continued to search
for it for sometime. She then abandoned the chase,
and prepared another, saying, 'I will hold this fast
enough.' Just as she had so expressed herself,
Colonel Pope, who was seated on a sofa at the opposite
side of the room from her, cried out: 'Look over your
head.' She did so, and there, suspended by some
invisible power, was the missing skein, which was then
dropped upon the floor at her feet. The Indian
explained that he had abstracted the silk, and held it
suspended in the air - at the same time rendering it,
by a process known to himself, invisible to their
eyes; but that finding her determined to go on with
the employment, he thought he might as well return it
to her.
This aboriginal friend, on many occasions, proved
his interest in her welfare by endeavoring to minister
to her health through the subtle powers of spirit
chemistry. The medium was extremely opposed to taking
medicine, but, owing to her enfeebled condition, found
it absolutely necessary that she would overcome her
dislike. While thinking the matter over on a certain
evening, she was entranced by Wapanaw, who demanded
that Mrs Pope should bring him a glass of water. When
it was before him, he referred to Mrs Conant's dislike
to medicine, and said he would arrange the matter for
her; the hand of the entranced medium was then placed
over the top of the glass. In a moment or two he
declared the water to be sufficiently medicated. On
Mrs Conant recovering from the trance she again
complained concerning the disagreeable medicine she
was to take on retiring, when she was told by Mrs Pope
that all she need do would be to drink the contents of
the glass. She partook of the water it contained,
with little faith as to its efficacy, but found that
its results were identical with the prescription which
had been intended for her.
Samuel Upham, a trance medium, then in ill health
and since deceased, called on her one evening in
February, 1856, for an examination by Dr. Fisher, with
reference to his disease. Hardly had both seated
themselves, when the male medium became entranced by
the spirit of an Indian chief who gave his name as
'White Cloud.' Mrs Conant, most unexpectedly to
herself, was immediately controlled by an Indian
influence whose love for 'White Cloud' was not of that
tender sort supposed to rule in the 'happy hunting
ground,' and a fierce struggle ensued, each hostile
spirit endeavoring to destroy its enemy; the warfare,
was, however, of short duration, as the medium of
'White Cloud' being much reduced by sickness, was no
match for his brisk opponent, and when Colonel and Mrs
Pope rushed into the room, attracted by the uproar,
they found the lamps broken, the table overturned, and
Mrs Conant - unconsciously entranced - belaboring the
unfortunate Upham with a chair! In al probability he
would have been killed - as 'White Cloud' still held
control of him with true Indian pluck, and would not
yield - had not the Colonel and his wife interposed as
a rescue. After considerable difficulty they finally
succeeded in separating the combatants, and then set
about convincing the belligerent chiefs that THEY were
dead - that if either killed anybody now it would be
one of the mediums who would die, NOT the enemy they
desired to destroy. The curious combat then closed,
leaving the visitor in a somewhat battered state,
while Mrs Conant was found to have sustained no
injury. This manifestation - rather startling, it
must be confessed - was but a representative of one of
the characteristic phases of undeveloped spirit
communion at that early day."
Physical phenomena continued to occur around Mrs
Conant as coins, brushes, combs and hair pins
disappeared and reappeared in other parts of the house
or were taken away to friends' houses.
"A Boston businessman, William Barry, came to Mrs
Conant wishing her presence at North Cambridge, Mass.,
to examine a sick girl there residing. She made the
journey and so pleased were the relatives with the
statements made by Dr. Fisher that they greatly
desired that he would treat the case. To this he
consented, but told them, in advance, that it was
impossible for the young lady to entirely recover;
that she would probably live a long while, but would
never be restored to sound health. The lady, in
verification of this prediction, continues to this day
a hopeless invalid.

In the winter of 1856 Fannie Conant left Mr.
Berry’s residence at North Cambridge, where she and
her husband had resided for that year, and boarded at
the National House, Haymarket Square, Boston, at that
time kept by Mical Tubbs. Here the physical
manifestations followed her. The cures, also,
performed by Dr. Fisher, were remarkable in character.
Among his patients was Mr. Tubbs, the landlord. So
powerful were the remedies prepared under direction of
Dr. Fisher that he warned Mrs Tubbs that the
administration of one drop too much would be likely to
‘send her husband to the other side of life in les
than half an hour.’ His skeptical friends became
alarmed, and said to Mrs Tubbs:
‘Why you surely do not intend giving him that
‘Certainly,’ was her answer; ‘I shall follow Dr.
Fisher’s direction with regard to it.’
Mrs Conant was in the room when the first potion
was given; the patient soon complained that he could
not see, and that his sense of hearing appeared to be
failing; he remained in this condition for several
minutes, after which he became insensible. Great
anxiety supervened in the minds of all concerned, but
the result indicated that this state was exactly what
Dr. Fisher desired to produce, for when the patient
regained the use of his faculties – which happened
after a brief period – he began a successful journey
toward renewed health.
Mrs Tubbs next yielded to the approach of
disease, her special trouble being rheumatic fever;
so severe was the attack, that at its height but
little hope was entertained of her recovery. Dr.
Fisher attended her through all her sufferings, and
though several physicians in the [living, physical]
form, who called to see her, said that if the ‘dead
doctor’ brought her out safely ‘he would be smart,’
he finally was the instrument of the Higher Power to
restore her again to life and usefulness.
Another striking instance of Dr. Fisher’s
curative capacity is evidenced in the experience of a
gentleman – a member of the Massachusetts Legislature,
which was then in session) – who was brought to her
for treatment by Mr Tubbs. Paralytic tendencies
existed in his case – his head trembling and moving
from side to side. Dr. Fisher prescribed for him,
after looking thoroughly into the causes of the
complaint, and was more than usually particular in his
directions regarding the remedies he prescribed. He
ordered the medium to be very careful in copying the
recipe for the druggist from his own handwriting –
which was not very plain – in order that no mistake
might arise; and by his request she read the
prescriptions aloud in the hearing of the patient and
the spirit physician – the one declaring that he
perfectly understood the matter, the other (by
writing) that his ingredients and the proportions
thereof had been correctly recorded. One portion of
the prescription was intended for external, the other
for internal use. The case continued with favorable
symptoms till the third day, when by some mistake the
gentleman on going to the State House put into his
pocket the bottle contain the external remedy – which
had previously been explained to him by the spirit
doctor as containing an active poison – and did not
discover his error till he had swallowed a sufficiency
to throw him into violent spasms. He was apparently
dying, and had only strength enough left to tell where
he obtained the preparation. Several of his friends,
full of blended indignation and fear, started in
search of Mrs Conant. On their finding her, Dr.
Fisher speedily controlled her, and, after writing a
prescription to neutralize the poison, exclaimed to
‘Don’t stand here talking! Go and get this put up
– give it to the patient as soon as possible; he will
live, if you return to him in any decent season.’
On their arrival with the remedy aforesaid, they
found the sick man dead, to all appearances, the
physicians who had been summoned in the interval of
their absence considering him beyond the reach of
medicine; but on the administering of the
counteragent ordered by Dr. Fisher, he began to show
signs of life, and was removed to his lodgings. When
he was sufficiently strong to make the effort, he
called on Mrs Conant at the hotel to express his
regrets at having, by his own mistake, caused her so
much anxiety and trouble. With him came two
physicians who had witnessed his case, and were
desirous of seeing the person who made the
prescription – they declaring that no such preparation
should be used – that ‘whoever ordered it was
deficient of a knowledge of the medicinal substances.
The spirit physician, controlling Mrs Conant, soon
proved to them that as to curative remedies he was in
his element, his knowledge in this respect being
superior to their own. Thus the case, which at first
threatened such serious consequences, resulted in
establishing yet more firmly the reputation of Dr.
Fisher and his medium.
Early in 1857, Luther Colby, who was also a
lodger at the National House, had the misfortune to
dislocate his arm at the elbow joint by a fall as he
passed out into the street. He returned to the hotel,
and sought a speedy audience with Dr. Kittredge,
another of Fannie’s guides, a Portsmouth physician of
great repute who had been several years in the spirit
world, requesting that he might through Mrs Conant
reduce the dislocation. Dr. Kittredge, on entrancing
the medium, found that from want of physical power in
the hands of Mrs Conant, he should be obliged to
abandon the operation, although nearly able to
accomplish it. Mr. Colby, on perceiving that the
spirit physician was unable to consummate the
almost-concluded process, said:
‘In passing up stairs, just after meeting with
the accident, I heard a gentleman in the office
addressed as ‘Doctor.’ Perhaps he can do the work.’
‘Very well,’ answered Dr. Kittredge, ‘I will go
and examine his capacity as a surgeon, and report the
result of my investigations.’ [The spirit doctor left
the room].
He soon returned, and wrote through the hand of
the medium: ‘I know the gentleman – he was a student
of mine in Portsmouth, N.H., many years ago. Call him
The doctor was accordingly sent for, and on his
arrival, being informed of what was required of him,
at once set to work, and soon restored the limb to its
natural condition. At the conclusion of the
operation, a written message, signed R. [Rufus]
Kittredge, was handed him by the medium, in which he
was addressed as ‘Friend Pike.’ This somewhat
astonished him, as he was a stranger to all present,
and was confident that he was not known to them by
name. After giving him, in answer to questions,
several tests as to his identity, Dr. Kittredge
notified his medical friend that if he would meet him
at a private sitting he would firmly convince him of
the reality of spirit return. Dr. Pike acceded, and
was ere long thoroughly satisfied of the truth of the
new gospel of Spiritualism. Desiring to afford his
wife an opportunity for inquiring into the mystery of
spirit communion, the Doctor soon after introduced her
to Mrs Conant. Mrs Pike was very much alarmed at
first, but yielding to the request of her husband,
attended the séance, during which her mother came into
control, and so natural and undeniable was her
presence to the daughter, that at the conclusion of
the sitting, Mrs Pike threw her arms about the neck of
the medium. tears filling her eyes, and said: ‘I shall
never be afraid again.’”

[More about Fannie Conant’s healing, physical and
mental mediumship to follow. Richard R.]

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