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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, 01:17:02 am »

It may strike the reader as curious that six out of seven questions, each requiring a negative or affirmative answer, should have been answered wrongly, even by chance. But the fact is, we reflected beforehand that, after giving the one rap (negative), it would be quite possible for a practiced observer's eye to detect in the expression of a person's face whether or not he or she expected anything more. To guard against this contingency, we assumed an impenetrable mask, looked satisfaction at no, when yes was the real answer; and all expectation, when it was really sufficient. By thus meeting spiritual mediums with Yankee cuteness, we succeeded in obtaining what to us appeared the most conclusive evidence of the imposture. By the way, in the one instance in which the "spirits" were right, it was not a mere yes or no query, but the name of a friend which was to be guessed. We wrote the words Mary Jane and Ellen without answer, but at the name Eliza, which was the correct name, the affirmative raps were given. Doubtless our manner in writing this name, and the fact that we then paused, (in itself conclusive,) determined the answer of the "medium."

Of the answers given to our friends, some were right and some were wrong, and we lost much time in vain attempts to disabuse them of the species of superstition which seemed partially to have possessed them. We have since been intimate with numbers of highly educated and intelligent men infected with this epidemic delusion. But in all such cases they were enthusiastic to a degree, and more apt to be guided by the passions than the intellect. We regard the superstition itself as a mental disease…
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