The Fox sisters and the rise of Spiritualism…

Alright, here we go… second post for The Big Séance.

This evening as I lie in bed I’ll begin my next book. It is called TALKING TO THE DEAD: KATE AND MAGGIE FOX AND THE RISE OF SPIRITUALISM by Barbara Weisberg. I’ve read many books on talking to the dead and several include and discuss the Fox sisters. This is the first book that I’ll read that is entirely focused on the sisters and the rise of spiritualism.

Kate and Maggie Fox were young girls who are widely credited for really kicking off the movement of Spiritualism in the mid to late 1800s in New York state. They were one of the first to attempt to communicate with spirits with a system of “rapping” (knocking) on surfaces inside the home. They eventually developed a system of “yes” and “no” answers and even spelling out messages (even though it was time consuming and tired spirits out). People came from all over to witness it and they became famous for that time. Apparently they were caught red handed hoaxing at least some of their paranormal experiences as the years went by and they felt pressure to put on a show… but most Spiritualists believe that for the most part they were really communicating with the other side.

All of this led to a period in time that I’ve always been a little obsessed with and would love to visit in a time machine (providing someone could guarantee I’d make it safely back to my iphone, DVR, Keurig brewer, etc.) Home circles and séances began to be popular. People began looking within to realize they had some mediumistic abilities… and of course some faked it too. 🙂 And of course, ouija boards or talking boards (which I don’t promote) came from this period of time as well. It sounds SO exciting to me. 

Really, without even considering the fact that it is “2012”  (which I have issues with… that’s another post), I think a lot of people believe that we’re experiencing another Spiritual movement right now… or at least a shift of some kind. People are becoming more intuitive and learning to choose love over fear or power. And… I believe people are becoming more and more open to the concept of there being no death… life continues. AND, there are only about eleventy-six paranormal or ghost shows of some kind on TV at all times. Then throw in the hundreds of paranormal investigation groups that are out there… and the number grows every day.



1. the belief or doctrine that the spirits  of the dead, survivingafter the mortal life,
can and do communicate with the living,especially through a person (a medium)
particularlysusceptible to their influence.
2. the practices or phenomena associated with this belief.
3. the belief that all reality is spiritual.
4. Metaphysics . any of various doctrines maintaining that the ultimate reality is spirit  or mind.
5. spiritual  quality or tendency.
Anyway… I’ll have to let you know what I think when I’m done.

About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

3 responses to “The Fox sisters and the rise of Spiritualism…

  • Mandy77

    I think I am following you now? 🙂

  • Maria Laing

    Patrick, hello! I just read your entry on the Channeling Erik forum on the Fox sisters. I saw the reply from Ash and the reference to “Mo’fallon” and that brought me here. I lived in O’Fallon for several years…..most of the ’60’s. I was a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood there, in the convent on Main St. It is so rare that I come across the name O’Fallon that I had to look into it!! I live in Lima, Ohio now. I learned of Channeling Erik after my son, Michael, went missing while scuba diving in the Pacific ocean, Aug. 12, 2009. His body was never found. I was left with questions about what actually happened to him, why he didn’t surface from the dive, etc. This terrible loss led me to consider paths of communication with him. I just wanted to connect here. I don’t have any special abilities, although I wish I did….would love to have experiences like Elisa has just had with Erik. Still, I keep my heart and mind open…just in case I can, eventually. Thanks for your site here. Bless you, Maria Laing,

    • Patrick

      Maria, thanks so much for visiting my blog! I’ve enjoyed reading about you in your responses to Ash and myself. I’ve been in O’Fallon for 3 years, St. Peters for 7, and then before that was growing up and college outside of Kansas City (Lexington, MO). I’m not familiar with the convent you’re talking about but I don’t make it to that part of O’Fallon often. I’m in a pocket of Lake St. Louis/O’Fallon/Wentzville where every street you turn on is a different city with a mismatched zip code. 🙂

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