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Mina Crandon

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Harry Houdini (left), Malcolm Bird (back), Mina Crandon (middle), O. D. Munn (right) in 1924
Putting the psycho in
Icon psychic.svg
Men who stare at goats
By the powers of tinfoil

Mina Crandon (1888-1941, née Stinson) also known as "Margery" was an American spiritualist medium.


Crandon grew up on a farm in Canada but moved to Boston as a young woman. She married Earl Rand, a grocer. They had one son. She later met Dr. LeRoi Goddard Crandon when she entered a Dorchester, Massachusetts, hospital for an operation. Dr. Crandon was her surgeon. She later divorced Rand and married Crandon.

Her second husband, Dr. Crandon, was a wealthy Boston physician and professor of surgery at Harvard. Both Crandon and her husband took interest in spiritualism and took part in seances. She claimed to be able to contact her deceased brother Walter by mediumship and her seances were widely reported, causing much publicity and controversy.

Crandon died an alcoholic in 1941.


Crandon in a seance with an ectoplasm hand made out of animal tissue.

Crandon was a famous medium in the 1920s known for producing ectoplasm during her seance sittings. She produced a small ectoplasmic hand from her stomach which waved about in the darkness. Her career ended however when biologists examined the hand and found it to be made of a piece of carved animal liver.[1] The escape artist Harry Houdini had also exposed the mediumship tricks of Crandon.

Crandon also claimed to produce wax impressions of spirit fingerprints but was exposed as a fraud as she had been using moulds of fingerprints from her living dentist Dr. Kerwin and pretended in the seance room that they were spirit fingerprints from her deceased brother Walter. According to Zusne and Jones (1989), "When in 1932 it was discovered that the spirit fingerprints left behind on a piece of wax (spirit fingerprints had become a specialty of Margery's) were those of Margery's dentist, very much alive, rather than those of Walter, the Boston Society for Psychical Research published a report on it, describing Margery as the most ingenious and persistent fraud in the annals of psychical research."[2]

The Italian skeptic Massimo Polidoro has written an article that has documented the fraud of Crandon.[3]

Sexual activities[edit]

Crandon's husband was known for displaying nude photographs of her in her mediumship sessions. Mina Crandon was described as a very beautiful lady who men found "too attractive for her own good". Psychical investigator Malcolm Bird was actively conspiring with the Crandons in stage-managing the seances in an attempt to have a sexual relationship with Mina. Reports, however, suggest that Mina found Bird repulsive. Instead she held amorous affections for the psychical researcher Hereward Carrington with whom she had an affair.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. Ghosts, Apparitions and Poltergeists: An Exploration of the Supernatural through History
  2. Leonard Zusne, Warren H. Jones Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking 1989, p. 217
  3. Houdini v. The Blond Witch of Lime Street: A Historical Lesson in Skepticism
  4. William Kalush, Larry Ratso Sloman The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero 2006, pp. 419-420