We have not withheld our admiration for The Fox Sisters as both innovators and debunkers in the past.
True, both Katie and Maggie Fox recanted their recantation of Spiritualism before they died but for a brief, shining moment, they did the right thing.
On the way to the right path, they developed a whole new industry catering to those in sorrow and doubt. Through their single-handed innovation of the modern seance, they struck gold figuratively and literally in the fearful psyche of the common man or woman.
The three sisters established the ground rules for all who would claim skills in Spiritualism; darkened room, physical contact with the medium, coded responses from beyond, and even physical manifestation of a passed loved-one’s body in part or in whole.
As we head into the Seance Season, it is proper to recall that the three girls from New York who began the practice also sought to end by complete exposure of their methods and motivations. But it was too late, common wisdom had already accepted the principles and ritual behind Spiritualism. Even complete exposure of the methods used to dupe those who now held fast to their conviction that it was real, was insufficient.
Victor Hugo wrote, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”
Apparently that was true whether the idea is based in fact or fiction.
The Fox Sisters were featured this weekend in the article “5 Myths that People Don’t Realize are Admitted Hoaxes.” The article is a bit ribald and uses language that is not suitable for children or sensitive readers.
Check out the full article, with our caveats in mind, here: 5 Myths That People Don’t Realize Are Admitted Hoaxes | The Best Article Every day.
You can read Maggie Fox’ recantation as well as Houdini’s investigation into the world of Spiritualism, A Magician Among the Spirits at the Inside Magic Library.