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A Report by Andrew Collins
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The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement

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Author Topic: The Fox Sisters and the Spiritualism Movement  (Read 3126 times)
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« Reply #30 on: October 14, 2009, 01:16:35 am »

We had been told beforehand, by enthusiastic believers, that the raps were peculiar -unlike any other noises, etc. Such, however, was not the fact. They were very ordinary raps, such as we have produced ourselves since, and such as anybody can readily imitate. How they were produced is a matter of little importance, whether by cracking joints, (as in the case of a lady we know who can imitate them to perfection by her power over the joints of her toes,) whether by pieces of wood fastened to the knees, by tapping the heels together…or by simply touching the leg of the table with the toe, which appears as feasible a plan as any other. Of course, under different circumstances, raps are produced in different and suitable ways. What makes this really unimportant, though apparently the most difficult of explanation, is a fact in acoustics of which the majority of persons are utterly ignorant. This fact, which ignorance invariably denies, until conquered by experimental demonstration, is, that the human ear is totally unable to distinguish the origin of a sound apart from all other suggestive influence. It is almost impertinent to repeat what is now so well known, that the vulgar notion, formerly prevalent, of a ventriloquist throwing his voice to a distance, is mere fable. Everybody now knows that all ventriloquism can do, is to modify the sound so as to resemble one heard from a distance, and that as to the direction from which he pretends that it comes, the delusion is solely an effect upon the imagination of his audience, produced by calling their attention to a given point.
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