In a little cottage in the town of Hydesville, New York, lived John Fox and his wife Margaret and their two girls, Catherine aged nine and Margaret aged eleven. There was another daughter Leah, and a son David, who did not reside in Hydesville. He lived just two miles down Parker Road from the Cottage on the corner of Hydesville Road and Parker Roads.
Statistics and books have been written about the subject. There were disturbances from some unknown cause long before the Fox Family moved into this house. Miss Pulver, who had been the maid for a family that lived there as early as the winter of 1843, stated that there was peculiar happenings regarding an old peddler who used to call there constantly and that he very strangely disappeared, and no one seemed to know where.
The Fox Family moved into the house in December of 1847 and early in February there were raps and noises from no apparent cause. These raps finally became so constant that they were annoying. On the memorable date of March 31, 1848 the nightly occurrences began again. Katie Fox snapped her fingers and called out ” do as I do.” Immediately there were distinct raps corresponding to the number of noise that she had made. They all stood astounded, when Katie made a number of motions in the air without sound, this was again answered by corresponding number of raps from the invisible force. Then came the words from Katie which have since meant so much to the world and which ushered in a new understanding of an old truth. “Look mother it can see as well as hear.” What a world of meaning in those few words for it proved to man that immortality of his own soul; that life after death was an assured fact and that they could come back and communicate with those on the Earth Plane.
Mrs. Fox then asked several questions which were answered correctly by raps and when they asked if it was a man, the rapped answer was “NO.” Upon asking if it was a spirit, a prompt “YES” was the response. The neighbors were then called in and through a series of raps corresponding in number to the letters of the alphabet they gained this information—the spirit of a pack peddler named Charles Rosna claimed to be the cause of the manifestations. He stated in his message that he had been murdered in the house and his body buried in the cellar. They started digging at once but an inflow of water stopped them. In the summer when the ground was dry they succeeded in digging up some quick lime, human hair and bones that a Doctor said were portions of a human skull. In the year 1904 the East Wall of the house caved in and showed that there was a double wall. Between them the skeleton of a man and a tin peddlers pack was found. This seemed to substantiate the story that had been told.
The phenomena caused wide spread interest and people from miles around came to hear the raps. The family was much annoyed by the undesired notoriety but could do nothing to prevent it. About this time the ministers took a hand and started to persecute them and trying to prove it a hoax. It was to no avail however, and Leah took Maggie to Rochester. Katie had become ill piny for her. Mrs. Fox then took Katie and moved to Rochester. They did not succeed in getting away, either from the notoriety or the raps, and it was decided that the two girls were the mediums through which the manifestations were made possible. In Corinthian Hall Rochester New York, Leah and Maggie were on stage and Maggie gave her first public demonstration for the cause of Modern Spiritualism. [Katie had been moved to the Capron’s home in Auburn for schooling] This meeting was held on the evening of November 14, 1849. The results were not as satisfactory as they had wished but never less there was plenty of evidence that they were caused by some unknown force other than that of a human agency, and it is certain that these knocks from the other side of life opened wider, the doorway of communication between the two worlds. Records tell us that immediately séances started all over the Country and numerous mediums began to develop into the mightiest and most certain truth the World has ever known—MODERN SPIRITUALISM.
There are many books of reference regarding the Fox Sisters some contemporary although the most prominent data is taken from “Hydesville in History” by M. E. Caldwallader. There are many stories of the so-called exposure of the Fox Sisters and it is a deplorable fact the sisters, through constant nervous strain brought about by lack of direction in the use of their mediumship and by constant wrangling among themselves, were led to do and say many things which were indiscrete to say the least, but never less there was plenty of proof that their mediumship was genuine and true to them is rightfully given the credit of announcing the advent of Modern Spiritualism to the World.