"Bedridden at her brownstone home at 160 Gates Avenue, Mollie began exhibiting bizarre behavior—blindness, spasms, and what’s described as a “nine-year trance.”
When she finally awoke, oddly in almost perfect health, she claimed to be a clairvoyant who could see through walls, read people’s thoughts, and was in touch with the afterlife. Molly also insisted she could exist without eating. “By the late 1870s Fancher’s food abstinence was as allegedly as awesome as her clairvoyance,” writes Joan Jacobs Brumberg in Fasting Girls. “In one six-month period, her recorded intake was four teaspoons of milk punch, two teaspoons of wine, one small banana, and a piece of cracker.”
Newspapers gleefully reported Molly’s wild claims. Scientists and the public weighed in as well. But since Mollie refused to be examined, her claims couldn’t be proven."