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The Fox Sisters- The Birth of Spiritualism

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Post by Cloud on Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:34 am



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A brief history and look at the Fox sisters, the girls who began the spiritualist movement

The Fox sisters were three sisters from New York who played an important role in the creation of Spiritualism: Leah (1831–1890), Margaret (also called Maggie) (1833–1893) and Kate (also called Catherine) Fox (1837–1892). The two younger sisters used "rappings" to convince their much older sister and others that they were communicating with spirits. Their older sister then took charge of them and managed their careers for some time. They all enjoyed success as mediums for many years.
In 1888, Margaret and Kate confessed that their rappings had been a hoax and publicly demonstrated their method. Margaret attempted to recant her confession the next year, but their reputation was ruined and in less than five years they were all dead, with Margaret and Kate dying in abject poverty. Despite their confession, the Spiritualism movement continued to grow in popularity


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Post by Dragon on Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:12 am

In 1857, the Boston Courier set up a prize of $500 to any medium who could demonstrate paranormal ability to their committee. The Fox sisters attempted to win the prize and were investigated by three Harvard professors. They failed the test, the committee concluded the raps were produced by bone and feet movements.

In 1851, Mrs. Norman Culver, a relative of the Fox family, admitted in a signed statement that she had assisted them during their séances by touching them to indicate when the raps should be made. She also claimed that Kate and Margaret revealed to her the method of producing the raps by snapping their toes and using their knees and ankles.

Harry Houdini, the magician who devoted a large part of his life to debunking Spiritualist claims, provided this insight:

"As to the delusion of sound. Sound waves are deflected just as light waves are reflected by the intervention of a proper medium and under certain conditions it is a difficult thing to locate their source."

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Post by Dragon on Tue Feb 04, 2020 2:16 am

Spiritualism developed and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-speaking countries. By 1897, spiritualism was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes.

Spiritualism flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion through periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent spiritualists were women, and like most spiritualists, supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage.

By the late 1880s the credibility of the informal movement had weakened due to accusations of fraud perpetrated by mediums, and formal spiritualist organizations began to appear. Spiritualism is currently practiced primarily through various denominational spiritualist churches in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

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