Spookytown! The Fox Sisters

Welcome to Spookytown! A weekly blog post about, you guessed it… all things spooky. Ghost stories, books, hauntings, movies, music, history and so much more!

As a child that grew up loving all things spooky and an adult who has always been fascinated by the paranormal, parapsychology, the occult and the spiritualism movement, so it’s no surprise that I was equally obsessed with the Fox sisters. There have been many documentaries, books, blogs and podcasts created about them, that their fame continues on, long after they left this plain.

If you are unfamiliar with the Fox sisters, they were three sisters from New York who were the catalyst in the creation of the Spiritualism Movement. The three sisters were Leah (1813-1890), Margaretta (1833-1893) and Catherine (1837-1892). The two younger sisters (Margaretta and Catherine), were the two who performed the many acts of wonder, also known as communicating with the dead.

The journey to fame began when the two younger sisters used “rappings” to convince their older sister Leah that they were communicating with spirits. First, the sisters successfully convinced their parents that their own house was haunted with the rapping noises and for their own safety they were sent to live with their sister Leah in Rochester. Leah saw this as their door into fame and fortune, managing the younger sisters careers, turning them into world famous mediums. It would be a Quaker couple that helped originally get their name out into the public.

Amy and Isaac Post, a radical Quaker couple and long-standing friends of the Fox family, invited the girls into their Rochester home. Immediately convinced of the genuineness of the phenomena, they helped to spread the word among their radical Quaker friends, who became the early core of Spiritualists. {source Wikipedia} From this moment on the Fox sisters were on their way!

The Fox sisters spent many years as well-known mediums, giving séances for hundreds of people. Fame and fortune always comes at a cost and eventually, the younger sisters had a falling out with Leah and decided to expose themselves as frauds. A few years later they recanted on their original confession only to attempt to return to their lives as mediums unsuccessfully. Sadly, all three sisters left this earth, within five years of the scandal, destitute with scandal being the only thing to their name.

Over the years, famous illusionists such as Harry Houdini made great effort to debunk spiritualism.

Even though they were eventually ousted as frauds, many still believe to this day, that the sisters in-fact did contact the dead. The Spiritualism movement had a resurgence in the early 1900s and is still discussed to this day.

Websites/Blogs:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-fox-sisters-and-the-rap-on-spiritualism-99663697/

Podcasts:
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-witching-hour-podcast/e/the-witching-hour-ep27-spiritualism-the-fox-sisters-48502088

https://www.strangecountrypodcast.com/episodes/tag/Fox+Sisters

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