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The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement

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Sandra
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 01:07:11 am »

In a small town, word quickly spread concerning the mysterious happenings in the Fox household. Soon the girls were being asked by their neighbors to communicate with the spirits in order to obtain answers to various questions. Then, when the revelation of the spirit of the murdered man became known, excitement overwhelmed the community. Their older sister, Leah Fish, hastened from Rochester to act as manager for her sisters and the new phenomenon. Her Yankee sensibilities soon envisioned an opportunity to turn the spirits to pecuniary advantage. Not everyone was convinced that communications with spirits was at work since, as they noted, that the spirits always appeared only at the public meetings which the older sister had arranged, and never on other public occasions. The sister replied, with a great deal of haughtiness, that such public meetings were held only at the insistence of the spirits who wished to communicate with the world but only through her sisters.

The invocation of the spirits had become a good thing, but it could be made better. Therefore the family turned to E.W. Capron of Auburn, New York, a spiritualist and a medium. Maggie and Kate were now trained as professional mediums, individuals who could receive messages from a world beyond this one. Public meetings were organized to introduce the phenomenon to a wider audience, and fees were charged for such occasions. The gullible flocked in—as did the money. Naturally, the skeptics among New York Yankees began an attack on what they considered to be irrationality. Let no one think that the Burned-Over District was filled with devout religious seekers alone since skeptics as well as the credulous as well as religious devotees formed the populace of western New York. Verbal attacks by unbelievers were soon followed by investigations of the phenomena. While such attacks may have convinced many people of the spuriousness of the sessions, the attendant publicity helped the business of spiritualism no end.
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