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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Eddy, Mary Morse Baker (1821-1910) Though Mrs. Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church, was said to be an ill-tempered, neurotic woman who suffered from chronic problems——what she called “nerve disorders” and “spinal inflammations”——all her life, she denied that illnesses were real, claiming that they all resided in the mind and were the result of “error.” That is the basic teaching of her church, that illness and death are malfunctions and can be avoided by proper conduct. All medical help, therapy, medication, or other such services are strictly forbidden to church members.
      Nonetheless, Mrs. Eddy wore glasses and walked with a cane (though she was never photographed nor seen in public using them), had false teeth, and for most of her life took morphine for pain to the point where she became seriously addicted.
      She was married three times. Her first husband was a Mason named George Washington Glover, and thereafter membership in the Masonic Order was the one single “outside” affiliation that was allowed to church members by Mrs. Eddy. Six months after their marriage, Glover died of (imaginary) yellow fever. Her second husband was Daniel Patterson, a dentist (and thus a medical man!) and a homeopath (thus almost a physician), who left her after twenty years of stormy marriage. The third was Asa Gilbert Eddy, a spiritualist who died of (imaginary) heart failure six years after their marriage. Mrs. Eddy, despite the results of a careful autopsy, maintained that her husband had actually been poisoned by malicious animal magnetism, which see.
      The church specializes, to this day, in the treatment of diseases solely by means of the consultations and prayers of “practitioners.”

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