Ethel Sullivan was born about 1885 in Jonesboro, Indiana to James and Ella Sullivan. She was exposed to the religion of Spiritualism as a child. Her mother, aunt, and uncle were all members of the Indiana Association of Spiritualists and active at Camp Chesterfield in Anderson, Indiana. Ethel married Porter L. Stout in 1905 and they had a son, Roland, the following year. In the 1910 census, Porter was listed as a salesman and Ethel was a milliner. By 1914, Porter was using the last name, Riley. When he died in 1922, his last name was given as Stout-Riley.
It’s unclear if there was an official divorce, but Ethel Stout married spiritual healer and “suggesto-therapist” (hypnotist) Myron H. Post in 1916 in Anderson, Indiana. Myron had been married before to Dora and they had a son, Frank, born about 1893. Myron worked as an insurance attorney while married to Dora. In 1920, Ethel’s son Roland was living with them, and in 1930, after he married Annabell, they were still living with Ethel and Myron in Anderson, Indiana.
Myron and Ethel quickly became involved in the life of Camp Chesterfield, moving there permanently in 1923. Myron was ordained as a Spiritualist minister and served as Camp President until 1932. Ethel gave her first public demonstrations in 1925 and gained a reputation as a trumpet and materialization medium famous for her spirit guides, Sir Joseph Banks and a Cherokee girl called Silver Belle.
Tension grew between Ethel and Mabel Riffle at Camp Chesterfield. In 1927, Ethel and Myron moved to Miami, Florida, and founded the Spiritualist Temple of Truth, to showcase Ethel’s mediumship and train and accredit new mediums. The sweltering Florida summers shortened the Miami Temple’s season, so the Posts took up an offer by John Stephan, to move their summer programming north to an underused park property in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.
The Morning Call (Allentown, PA), 3 Sept 1932, stated, “Mrs. Post is one of the most highly developed mediums before the public today. She has worked upon platforms of the principal camps and churches of the U.S. and Canada and has presented her various phases of clairvoyance, ballot reading, trumpet; both in light and dark and materialization before psychic research societies of both countries with splendid results.
“Ethel’s direct voice demonstrations and spirit materializations attracted world-wide attention. She would enter a deep trance while sitting in a cabinet, bringing forth her spirit guides and others. During her lifetime, she submitted to many tests to prove the legitimacy of the physical manifestations she produced. There is one account of a séance in 1928 where doctors weighed a manifested spirit as well as Ethel during a demonstration and found her weight loss equaled that of the spirit’s weight. As many as five spirits could materialized during a séance, but Jayne Cuthbert described an unbelievable event in which nearly fifty spirits manifested. In a 1945 account, she stated, “While there were materialized individuals on the floor talking with their loved ones on earth, at the same time during the séance there were voices singing in the cabinet.”
New York Spiritualist Leader, 16 November 1941. Vol. 1 No. 1 said, “Mrs. Ethel Post-Parrish, one of the most famous of materialization mediums, and her not cabinet assistant, Mrs. Lena Barnes Jefts (who has written many distinctive booklets on Spiritualism) spent last week at their Camp Silver Belle quarters in Ephrata, PA, before leaving yesterday for the south to make preparations for opening their Institute of Universal Science for winter classes in St. Petersburg, Florida.”
Ethel divorced Myron Post in 1939 in Dade County, Florida. Her last husband was Jimmy Parrish who she married at the age of seventy-one in 1957. She died the next year, and her ashes were spread about the grounds of Camp Silver Belle.