Summoning the Spirits
On the night of the first disturbance we all got up, lighted a candle and searched the entire house, the noises continuing during the time, and being heard near the same place. Although not very loud, it produced a jar of the bedsteads and chairs that could be felt when we were in bed. It was a tremendous motion, more than a sudden jar. We could feel the jar when standing on the floor. It continued on this night until we slept. I did not sleep until about twelve oclock. On March 30th we were disturbed all night. The noises were heard in all parts of the house. My husband stationed himself outside of the door while I stood inside, and the knocks came on the door between us. We heard footsteps in the pantry, and walking downstairs; we could not rest, and I then concluded that the house must be haunted by some unhappy restless spirit. I had often heard of such things, but had never witnessed anything of the kind that I could not account for before.
The roots of Spiritualism in the United States trace back to sisters Margaretta, Kate and Leah Fox, whose mother, Margaret, made this April 11, 1848, account of the famous Hydesville Rappings (later revealed to be a hoax). Although Spiritualism didnt begin as a religion, it evolved into one, and it involved more than just parlor games with Ouija boards and séances. Spiritualism spread throughout the country in the mid-1800s, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest and among the middle and upper classes. By 1855, Spiritualism had 2 million followers. Famous Spiritualists include Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Horace Greely and Arthur Conan Doyle. Spiritualism continues to thrive in America, the largest organization being the National Spiritualist Association of Churches of the United States of America.
From the December 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine
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