Ann O'Delia Diss DeBar
|Ann O'Delia Diss DeBar|
|Born||Ann O'Delia Salomon|
April 9, 1849
|Died||circa 1909 (age 60) |
Ann O'Delia Diss Debar (1849 – 1909 or later) was a late 19th and early 20th century medium and criminal. She was convicted of fraud several times in the US, and was tried for rape and fraud in London in 1901. She was described by Harry Houdini as "one of the most extraordinary fake mediums and mystery swindlers the world has ever known".
Although many sources claim that O'Delia Diss Debar was born as Editha Salomen in Kentucky in 1849, no documentary proof exists. Another commonly reported birth name is Ann O'Delia Salomon. She herself claimed to have been born in Italy in 1854, the daughter of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and his notorious mistress, the dancer Lola Montez, and that she was raised by foster parents from a young age. Her actual father, Prof. John C.F. Salomon, was a Professor of Music at Greenville Female Institute, also known as Daughters' College and now the Beaumont Inn.
She apparently became involved with Victoria Claflin and Tennessee Claflin, popular exponents of spiritualism, in the 1860s and 1870s, and was a disciple of Madame Blavatsky. She claimed to be the wife of West Virginia statesman Joseph H. Diss Debar, and produced "spirit paintings" by Old Masters. She was prosecuted several times for fraud. She was convicted of fraud after persuading elderly lawyer Luther Marsh to give her his townhouse on New York's Madison Avenue, and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment in June 1888. The magician Carl Hertz appeared at the prosecution for the Horos trial in New York. Hertz helped send Horos to jail by duplicating in court the tricks she had used in her séances.
She married Frank Dutton Jackson in Louisiana in 1899, calling herself Princess Editha Lolita. The couple went to England in the 1890s, calling themselves "Swami Laura Horos" and "Theodore Horos".
She spent some time in South Africa, calling herself Helena Horos of the College of Occult Sciences, and ran a fruitarian colony in Florida. She was in Cincinnati in 1909, under the name Vera Ava, but her later whereabouts are unknown.
A biography is included in the 1938 book Beware Familiar Spirits by John Mulholland (reprinted in 1979).
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- Buchanan’s Journal of Man, Vol. II, No. 4, May 1888, THE GREATEST MARVELS AND THE TRIAL IN NEW YORK, page 117
- A Magician Among the Spirits, by Harry Houdini (1924), CHAPTER V, Ann O’Delia Diss Debar, pages 66-87
- Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, Vol. 1, (A-L), Horos, Theodore (ca. 1866– ?) and Laura (1849–ca. 1906), page 746