Talking to the Dead
Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of SpiritualismBook - 2004
Follows the story of the Fox sisters, whose reports about strange noises in their mid-nineteenth-century home and claims that they could talk with ghosts gave rise to contemporary sâeance practices and modern beliefs about spiritualism.
A former television producer, Weisberg has written about the Fox sisters for American Heritage magazine. Here she offers a full length account of the teen-age sisters whose experience in upstate New York during 1848 launched the spiritualist movement. She describes the earth and the world of spirits 1789-1849, the progress of modern spiritualism through 1852, the darling little spirit to 1857, worldly trials to 1888, and the movement from then to the present. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Blackwell North Amer
March 1848. Mysterious knocks are heard in a little house in rural New York, throwing the community into turmoil. Are the children who live there -- Kate and Maggie Fox, sisters aged eleven and fourteen -- making the raps to trick their parents? Or are the girls mediums for otherworldly messages? From a battery of strange sounds and the excitement they create, modern Spiritualism is born.
Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism follows the remarkable story of the Fox sisters, who were catapulted to fame after word spread that they communicated with spirits. Within a few years, tens of thousands of Americans were flocking to seances. An international movement developed. Yet forty years after those first knocks, the sisters shocked the country by denying that they had ever been in contact with the dead. Shortly after, in another stunning reversal, they changed their story again and reaffirmed their faith in the spirit world. Were the Fox sisters con artists who had taken a childhood prank too far? Or were they really in touch with "voices from beyond"?
In this riveting biography, Barbara Weisberg traces not only the lives of Kate, Maggie, and their family -- including the girls' shrewd and charismatic sister, Leah -- but also the social, religious, economic, and political forces that helped shape the Spiritualist movement. A vivid, compelling overview of a remarkable period in U.S. history, Talking to the Dead provokes questions about belief systems, the power of celebrity, the wish to reconcile faith and science, and the timeless quest for knowledge about life after death.
Follows the story of the Fox sisters, whose reports about strange noises in their mid-nineteenth-century home and subsequent claims that they could talk with ghosts gave rise to contemporary séance practices and modern beliefs about spiritualism. 20,000 first printing.