b. 1868, Stockholm, Sweden
d. 1943, Locarno, Switzerland









MKportMary Louise Karadja was the daughter of the wealthy "Vodka King" Lars Olsson Smith. Since her marriage in 1887 to Prince Jean Karadja (1836-1894), a high diplomat of the Ottoman Empire, she bore the title of princess. Mary Karadja often traveled through Europe and made her debut as a poet, novelist and playwright in the 1890s. In 1899 she and her older sister Lucie Lagerbielke (1865-1931) came into contact with Spiritualism and both became heavily involved with esoteric, occult and spiritualist matters. Mary became a great advocate of Spiritualist teachings in Sweden. She herself had paranormal and mediumistic experiences and organized numerous séances with mediums in Sweden or at her castle Bovigny in Belgium.

Since her conversion to Spiritualism, she received texts and poems dictated by the spirits and also produced spirit drawings and soon became a sought-after medium herself. She was also involved in the founding of various esoteric groups. Already in 1899, she met Huldine Fock (1859-1931), the leader of the Edelweiss Society. They developed a long-lasting friendship, which was, however, repeatedly accompanied by many tensions. Her wish to become a member of the Edelweiss Society was apparently never granted. However, Karadja remained connected to the Society after Huldine Fock's death through her friendship with Huldine's daughter and successor at the head of the Edelweiss Society, Mary von Rosen (1886-1967).

Through her numerous international contacts, Mary Karadja became an important figure in the European esoteric network.

The CoMA owns one of Mary Karadja's rare mediumistic drawings, which she received on July 28, 1901 at a séance together with Huldine Fock.



Berglund, Pelle, The Vodka King: The Story of L O Smith. Stockholm: Business History Publishing, 2018
Faxneld, Per, Det ockulta sekelskiftet: esoteriska strömningar i Hilma af Klints tid. Stockholm: Volante, 2020
Goysdotter, Moa, Den objektiva andligheten: en diskursanalytisk studie av psykologiämnets etablering i Lund. MA thesis in history, University of Lund, 2007
”Prinsessan Mary Karadja, född Smith,” Idun, 47, 1896, 369-370
Sanner, Inga, Att älska sin nästa såsom sig själv: om moraliska utopier under 1800-talet. Stockholm: Carlsson, 1995.


logo rand gr
2024 The Collection of Mediumistic Art
Imprint | Impressum