Emma Knight Wythe Puffer, Clairvoyant
Fulton Journal: March 27, 1876
“Editor of the Journal:
A little more than two months ago our community was shocked by the sad loss which one of our most respected citizens suffered in the sudden death of his only son. The whole community, as one person, was stirred by the keenest sympathy with the bereaved parents, and one and all, expected to aid in the recovery of the body of George Hall. I, acting under the same impulse which led others to search for the body, tried what I could do with my one talent, clairvoyance toward directing others where to search. In the presence of John Wilde and his wife, and Mrs.Wetzell, and Mr. Puffer, I laid my hand on a coat that George had worn, and from the clue given by the magnetism in the coat (as I understand it) I saw George leave his father’s house, put on his skates at the bank of the river and skate up above Smith & Culbertson’s mill, and described the place he disappeared from view. Told them what I saw, and told them that I could not see that he came back down the river, either on ice or land. This was about nine o’clock Saturday evening. They all went out and left me alone, and while I was alone I saw clearer that George’s body was under the ice.
About ten o’clock Billy Stuart came to the door as representive (sic) for a party of men that started to examine the ice in the vicinity of the Elevator. Stuart said, “Mrs. Puffer, we have about made up our minds that George is not drowned at all, that he has gone off somewhere because he was seen at five o’clock near home with a bundle under his arm, now what do you think about it.” I answered, “Billy, George Hall is dead, is under the ice up above here. You need not go near the Elevator.” There was one other person near the door, so I think he heard what I said, but in the darkness I did not see who it was.
There were others that I told about it before he was found, but this should be sufficient and my story is getting lengthy. Now, this would all be worth my time in writing it, but for the fact that for that act of kindly impulse on my part, there is an effort on the part of some person or persons to call my name in question. Last week the word came to me indirectly from Lyons that it was said there that “a clairvoyant pretended she had traced George Hall, after he was found,’ and this morning a gentleman came and introduced himself, and asked me if I was Mrs. Puffer. I assented. He then asked me if I could give the names of any persons not spiritualists as references to prove that I saw where the body of George Hall was before he was found, saying he had heard in Lyons that I did, and then it was contradicted by those who should know something of it, who said I pretended to have seen it after he was found. Now, right here I am going to let the human in me find expression. I will say to the magnanimous public that has made such a charge against me that I have never, as a clairvoyant, asked them for one cent’s worth of patronage in any manner. I have depended upon the wages of honest work for support, my husband being a well known mechanic in this community. I have never in any way or at any time thrust either my services as clairvoyant, or my religious opinions, unasked, upon any person or persons, and now I want to know what evil influences are at work in our community, that makes it necessary for me to defend myself, or rest under the accusation of being an imposter? Who will benefit to misrepresent me, and the facts of the case? My opinions are my own. My gift as clairvoyant is my own, and never has been made the property of the public by advertisement or otherwise, and although I am a woman, I claim the rights of citizenship enough to defend myself when there have been false accusations made, and for the use of your columns through which to do so, you have my thanks. EMMA E. PUFFER
As a simple act of justice, we certify that Mrs. Puffer’s statement, to the effect that she traced George Hall clairvoyantly to the locality where he was afterward found, Saturday evening before he was found, our presence is true and correct.
Jno. V. Wilde,
Mrs. W.Y. Wetzell
I certify that the conversation related by Mrs. Puffer in the foregoing article is correct, both as to the time (Saturday night before George was found,) and the words used.
(Emma Knight Wythe Puffer was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Knight and a member of the party of Mormons, including Emma Hale Smith and children, who took the steamer Uncle Toby from Nauvoo to Fulton in 1846. Her sister, Mary, married Daniel Hollinshead.)