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Wella Percy Anderson was born in 1833 in Maine. He was from a poor family and trained to be a cabinet maker after receiving a minimal education. His only experience in the field of art was painting signs. Lizzie “Pet” was born in the Portland, Maine area in 1836. She possessed the gift of “second sight” since childhood. “…she was called by everybody; always seeing and telling things which were incomprehensible to family or friends.”

Wella and Pet married in 1865. They had one son, Wella R., who was born in 1866 and died in 1885. Pet worked as a trance medium and was recognized for her clairvoyance and clairaudience. It took two years for Wella to develop his skills as a trance artist. Pet supplied the energy needed to connect with the spirits. Wella worked with pencils, letting the spirits draw while he held the pencil.

The couple soon made a name for themselves by drawing life-size, pencil bust portraits of the departed. The studio was usually dimly lit. Wella would work for 12-minute sessions, holding only one session per day. It might take up to ten sittings to complete one drawing. Over the next several years, they made hundreds of sketches of dearly departed loved ones.

In 1869, the Andersons attracted the attention of Mr. J. Winchester. They followed him to California where they began making sketches of 28 spirits who were part of The Ancient Band. The band was comprised of great leaders, intellectuals, and artistic people from history who came together to share their knowledge— to “institute a system of liberal education for the people, simplify the sciences, and popularize and liberalize religious ideas in such a manner as to make the human family a BAND OF BROTHERS.”

In 1874, their biographical and descriptive catalogue was published as The Ancient Band. It included Yermah (image above), an Atlantean; Adehl, a Brahmin; and Arbaces, an Egyptian priest. Their work was displayed at the Pacific Art Union in San Francisco as a Spirit Art Gallery and listed as the portraits of pre-historic and ancient spirits.

Wella and Pet were divorced in 1875. Wella remarried Mary Bartiett in 1888 and died before 1900. Pet married Theodore Bovee in 1889 and continued to work as a medium, advertising in San Francisco, Denver and Chicago. She died in 1896.

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