Abby A. Judson was born in 1835 in Myanmar (Burma) to Rev. Dr. Adoniram and Sarah Hall Judson, both Baptist missionaries at the time. In 1841, one of her younger brothers, Henry, passed while they were on a trip to India. That was followed by the death of her mother in 1845 while hey were in the harbor of St. Helena, USA. Her father remarried and the family returned to Burma, where her father died in 1850.

Abby was educated at several private schools along the east coast of the United States. She worked as a governess and then teacher in New England from 1853-1879. After a year traveling in Europe, she founded the Judson Female Institute in Minneapolis in 1879. After becoming a Spiritualist in 1887, she closed her seminary and began giving private lessons and devoting herself to Spiritualism.

In 1890, after attending a camp meeting in Clinton, Iowa, she was inspired to create a new Spiritual association in Minneapolis. Since she wasn’t a medium or healer, the group decided she would be the one to educate the public with informational writings and lectures. She described her process of writing in Why She Became a Spiritualist: Twelve Lectures. “On these two afternoons, when ready to write, she deadened her door-bell, darkened her study with close curtains, ‘entered her closet and shut to’ the curtain, and there played on her organ in the dark, until she saw waves of magnetic light, resembling the aurora borealis shimmering over the Arctic sky. Shen then went to her desk, raised the curtain just enough for her to see to write, and then wrote notes, words and sometimes whole sentences, without conscious effort.”

By 1891, Abby was speaking in public.  A dozen of her lectures and her biography were published in the book, Why She Became a Spiritualist: Twelve Lectures (1895). Other books included: The Bridge Between Two Worlds (1894), Development of Mediumship by Terrestrial Magnetism, and From Night to Morn; or an Appeal to the Baptist Church. Her lectures included topics such as: What is Spiritualism, Do Spiritualists Believe in God, Personal Evidences of Spiritualism, Unreasonable Dogmas, and What is Death.

She compared Spiritualism to other religions in Why She Became a Spiritualist: Twelve Lectures, saying: “All these religions have their limitations. These limitations arise from narrowness of doctrine; from a servile deference to one man, its founder; or from race restrictions. Spiritualism, on the other hand, is utterly comprehensive. It is a cult, or rather a knowledge, that reaches all men in all conditions, in all countries, and in all ages of the world. Yes, it goes beyond this physical world, and embraces in its divine sway, all spirits out of the body, and all spirits in all the universe.”

Abby died a tragic death when a lamp accidently overturned next to her bed while she was reading. Some of the burning oil fell on the bed and ignited her clothes. She ran from the house but died from her burns in December of 1902 in Arlington, New Jersey.