The Fox sisters, Margaret the middle daughter. Her sister Kate the youngest and Leah, considerably older made "contact" with the spirit world on March 31 1848 sparking the spiritualist movement.
In 1955 a shrine was erected at the rear of the replica cottage; the original burned down and an exact replica was built by John Drummond. A memorial stone that reads, The Birthplace of Modern Spiritualism now marks the location of the Fox sister's cottage in Hydesville, Newark N.Y..
THERE IS NO DEATH - THERE IS NO DEAD
The three sisters interest and belief in rapping's that could be heard in the cottage led to the establishment of Spiritualism. Even before the Foxes moved into the cottage had a reputation of mysterious noises beside rapping. Gurgling sounds from the throat, a death struggle, heavy dragging of a body across the room have all been reported by prior tenants.
Kate, Margaret, and Leah, made history by being the first to establish a dialogue with the dead after disturbing series of raps and noises in their cottage. Margaret was an innocent ten year old when the first strange rapping's were heard. John Fox, her father inspected their home for a reasonable explanation. Kate at the tender age of seven proved to her father Spirit was real. "Do as I do," said Kate as she clapped her hands. The same number of raps was heard made by invisible hands. "No, do just as I do. Count one, two, three, four," Margaret interrupted. Exactly four raps were heard. Margaret became to afraid to continue the game they started.
The three sisters devised a system where they would ask a question to the unseen entity that could be answered one rap- yes, or two raps-no.
The presence identified itself as the spirit of a murdered peddler whose body had been buried beneath the Foxes home. Neighbours came to hear the rapping's and volunteered to dig for the murdered peddler. When water was struck, the search was abandoned. A few months later the digging in the cellar resumed. At a depth of 5 feet fragments of hair and bones believed to be part of a human skeleton. Fifty-six years later workmen unearthed an almost complete skeleton. There was a peddler's box near the bones. The discovery led to the theory that murder first buried the body in the cellar, then fearing discovery, dug it up and buried the peddler between two walls. A maid, Lucretia Pulver who lived four years before the Foxes in the cottage confirmed of a peddler's visit to the house and stayed for a night, and her employers sent home to her parents. On return she was told the peddler left.
The Foxes moved from the house to live with other members of their family. unexplained noises and actions followed the sisters. Leah decided to communicate with the invisible entity like she had when she was a child. She would recite the alphabet and raps would respond a certain letter. The first message Leah and her household received was, "Dear Friends, you must proclaim this truth in the world. This is the dawning of a new era; you must not try to conceal it any longer. When you do your duty God will protect you and good spirits will watch over you." Leah took the reins over her sisters. She became the first professional medium. Kate, her younger sister followed Leah's example six months later. Margaret followed suit.
Even though their lives were threatened they toured the U.S. and Europe to, proclaim spirit communication to the world. In 1854, America's first Spiritualist organization, the Society for the Diffusion of Spiritual Knowledge was founded in New York by a wealthy merchant.
Margaret Fox, (1833-1893) in 1888 claimed that the effects were fraudulent. After a fall out with Leah she attempted to turn Spiritualism into a farce. Her published confession said that the raps had been made at first by bumping or dropping a apple on the floor. Margaret confessed she and Kate, perfected control of their muscles that they could snap the joints of their fingers and toes without detection. She demonstrated her technique before an audience at a New York theatre.
Kate and Leah Fox seances were accurate concerning matters of the heart, career or other enterprises, conflicts and struggles as well as practical affairs. They were able to correctly predict destiny and the actions of others that had an important influence. Kate was known to produce spirit forms which proved there was obvious connection. Her communication took place mainly through raps and writing.
Footnote- To learn more about the Fox sisters and Spiritualism, I suggest the book Supernatural - Spirits and Spirit World. Arthur - Roy Stemman. Publisher - The Danbury Press. A Division of Grolier Enterprises Inc.