It’s a shame more people don’t know her name, one of the greatest American physical mediums of the last century, Ether Post (Parish)
I have felt inspired to write a blog about EPP for some time, the difficulty is in information about her life being scarce, with the exception of a few detailed accounts of some materialization seance. However, I will give you what I know.
Known for her direct voice and materialization mediumship, EPP contributed greatly to the world of Spiritualism. In the early 20’s she opened a church and learning center in Miami, FL, and was a regular at Camp Chesterfield, evening owning what is now know as the “President’s house” with her husband, then president Myron Post in 1924.
Ethel’s Cousin, and powerhouse force at Camp Chesterfield was Rev Mabel Riffle. While Mabel passed before my time, I have had the pleasure of speaking to Riffle posthumously via direct voice in two separate seances. To say “when Mabel speaks, you listen” is an understatement.
In 1932, EPP established Silver Bell Spiritualist Camp in Euphrata, PA. The camp was named for Post’s primary control, a native girl named Silver Bell.
In one notable seance in 1943, EPP materialized three family members for an attending sitter named Emily Fritch. As the materialized communicators exited the spirit cabinet, Post could be sitting in the chair, still entranced, with Silver Bell standing beside her, and a mound of white that looked like a small snow bank of 1- to 2 ft high. This was not snow of course but ectoplasm. Silver Bell reached into the mass and manipulated it to show sitters how the ectoplasm could be used to form the features and ‘clothing’ of the materialized visitors.
EPP was not opposed to contributing through being studied as well. In one materialization seance, a Native American male manifested. An attending researcher asked this figure if he could be weighed. The total weight of this fully solid spirit totaled 37 lbs. Inside the cabinet, the entranced EPP was weighed and showed a 37 lb weight loss from the time the seance started until that moment.
Chapel at Camp Silver Bell
Like all physical mediums, Post was not excluded from claims of fraud. Often seen online or in books are pictures of an alleged materialization of Silver Bell.
Mabel Riffle standing, EPP entranced 1953
While it seems obvious to me that this is a cardboard cutout superimposed photo, many people will argue this as evidence that EPP was attempting to fraud people. And while some people (probably those needing glasses) will argue this as genuine, it clearly to me is not. That being said I don’t necessarily believe this was meant to be anything other than a recreation of happenings during a seance.
Such similar photos are that of Helen Duncan, and the materialization that looks like a puppet…because it was. Not that she was trying to pass those photos off as genuine, but was trying to recreate (for a jury in her instance) the happenings of a seance, during her infamous trial. It was meant to be an illustration, and I believe this to be the case with EPP and this photo as well.
I wish more was known about Ethel Post Parish, she contributed greatly to the cause, and her name deserves to be remembered.
Seance 101: Kuzmeskus