Many modern-day spiritualists believe that their movement officially started on March the 31st, 1848, in the now famous Fox sisters house in Hydesville, New York. This article covers their fascinating story…
The Fox family lived in a well known house in Hydesville (now a part of Arcadia) that was said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. Several of the previous owners are reported to have moved out of the house shortly after they purchased it.
In mid-March, 1848, the family began to notice strange rapping noises around their home. The head of the family, John Fox, thought nothing of it – he tried convincing his daughters that the noises were nothing more than the house groaning and creaking with age.
The sisters were not buying into this, and would frequently run and hide in their parent’s bed in the middle of the night.
Twelve year old Kate was the first of the sisters to take the paranormal step forward – she decided to challenge the unseen creator of the sounds, by asking it to repeat the snapping of her fingers or claps of her hands.
The invisible entity complied.
Fifteen year old Margaret was also present – and she began talking with this entity, calling it ‘Mr Splitfoot’. The presence reacted to this new name, and began listening and replying to Margaret’s commands.
Mrs. Fox had been listening to proceedings from the kitchen, and she decided to join in with the experiment. She asked the entity if it was able to tap out the ages of her daughters – to prove it was an intelligent life form.
The invisible entity complied, and got the ages correct…
But it also included the age of her youngest child, who had tragically died years before!
The sisters, and their mother, continued communications with the paranormal force all through the night. During this time they found out that it was the spirit of a 31 year old man, who had been murdered in the house – his body was still buried somewhere in their cellar.
They even managed to convince the entity to return and show his ‘tapping powers’ to visitors to the home who may be interested in the situation.
The first witness was a neighbor named Mrs. Redfield – she seemed to take the family’s claims very seriously, right from the start. She wasn’t disappointed…
The entity was able to guess Redfield’s age, and relay it in a series of taps once again.
Soon the house was filled with many from the local community. Still the rapping continued, answering questions. This ‘paranormal session’ went on throughout the following night.
During this time, the family and the local witnesses managed to determine that the dead man’s name was Charles Rosna and he had been killed during a robbery for his money (someone had slit his throat).
On April the 1st the cellar was dug out to search for the body of Rosna, but the workers went so deep they eventually reached the water pipes to the neighborhood, and stopped. They didn’t manage to locate the body.
The following Saturday around 300 witnesses crammed themselves into the Fox house and heard the strange paranormal tapping sounds.
The church finally turned against the family because they thought they were playing with demonic forces. The sisters were moved – Kate to her brother’s house, and Margaret to her elder sister’s house.
Strangely, the tapping sounds followed both Kate and Margaret to their new homes – was this spirit now linked to the two sisters in some way?
With the help of the Quaker community, the Fox sisters eventually started performing public séances in New York, with their oldest sibling Leah – the spiritualist movement was born!
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