Maud E. Barrock was born in 1852 in Marion County, West Virginia, the fourth child of Sarah J. and Phillip S. Barrock. Her father was a Baptist and mother a Methodist. They said she was born with a double veil over her face. When she was only a toddler, luminous lights were sometimes seen about her, and sparks flew from her hair. She liked to spend time in the dark and often her mother couldn’t find her. Her cradle rocked by itself. By the age of five, she had unseen playmates and said she could hear the trees and plants singing. Of course, her parents didn’t take kindly to all these happenings and thought the devil was behind everything.

A kettle of boiling lye accidentally spilled on Maud, and she was treated by a doctor. But when he returned to the house, she asked for pencil and paper and wrote, “Get pine needles, crush and mix with linseed oil, put between beet leaves and apply immediately.” The doctor recognized an old friend’s handwriting and did as she instructed. Maud recovered.

Her parents refused to educate her, believing her abilities were the work of the devil. She tried to sneak off to school but was caught. In a moment of temporary blindness, a spirit came to her and instructed her how she would learn from the spirit world in a grove of trees near the creek. And that she did.

When the civil war began, the family moved to Iowa. Maud spoke in French and German by then, advised neighbors on happenings duirng the war, and found missing things. She also communicated with spirits via rapping sounds. Unhappy, Maud ran away at one point, returned home and went through an exorcism at the church, and ran away again. She even thought of suicide before finding Mr. John J. Hall from New York City, who told her she was a medium. Her spirit guide came to her then. His name was Clarence.

In 1868, Maud married Albert Lord in Wisconsin. They had one daughter who was known as Adrienne de Corische. After Albert died, Maud married J. S. Drake in 1887. He was a contractor and hydraulic engineer and was involved with politics and a newspaper writer. “Mr. Drake apparently has the ability, education, experience, courage and inclination so necessary to assist in this important work,” according to The Religio-Philosophical Journal, 1887.

In 1900 they were lodging in St. Louis. Drake was listed as a lawyer and she a lecturer. He was ten years her senior. They eventually moved to Boulder Creek, California where they lived 27 years. After Drake died in about 1914, an Ernst Lydick, who was living in Pittsburgh, received many spiritual messages from Maud’s control, Clarence, and her deceased husband to travel to California and take care of her.

Maud and Ernst were eventually married. Maud died in 1924 in Santa Cruz after she initially survived burns when her house burned at Boulder Creek. “For many years a spiritualist of considerable prominence, the events of the wedded life of the deceased woman, as told this morning by her third husband, Ernst B. Lydick, also a spiritualist and author of various literary works of psychic phenomena form an unusual and sometimes weird story.”

Maud’s biography was published as Psychic Light: The Continuity of Law and Life in 1904 by Frank T. Riley Publishing Co. Kansas City, Missouri and contains much more information about her.