Evening Talk: The Curious Life of Ebenezer Sibly

By Susan Mitchell Sommers 20 Jun 5:30pm - 5:30pm

The Museum of Freemasonry presents a special evening talk with author Susan Mitchell Sommers on the curious life and times of Ebenezer Sibly and his family.

Ebenezer Sibly was a quack doctor, plagiarist, and masonic ritualist in late eighteenth-century London; his brother Manoah was a respectable accountant and a pastor who ministered to his congregation without pay for fifty years. The inventor of Dr. Sibly’s Reanimating Solar Tincture, which claimed to restore the newly dead to life, Ebenezer himself died before he turned fifty and stayed that way despite being surrounded by bottles of the stuff. Asked to execute his will, which urged the continued manufacture of Solar Tincture, and left legacies for multiple and concurrent wives as well as an illegitimate son whose name the deceased could not recall, Manoah found his brother’s record of financial and moral indiscretions so upsetting that he immediately resigned his executorship.

Ebenezer’s death brought a premature conclusion to a colorfully chaotic life, lived on the fringes of various interwoven esoteric subcultures. With her book The Siblys of London, Susan Mitchell Sommers provides fascinating insight into the lives of a family who lived just outside our usual historical range of vision.

This one-off talk will take place in the Kent Room of Freemasons’ Hall, a lodge meeting room usually only available to view through the museum galleries, making a fitting venue for a subject of extraordinary character.

Places for this intimate evening talk are limited so book early.

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