|Hydesville 31st March 1848
History - Modern Spiritualism
Movements of objects and other unusual phenomena.
The two children Catherine and Margaretta discovered that if they spoke out then the mysterious noises
seemed to respond and it became clear that the phenomena were not just random manifestations of energy
but were under the control of some invisible intelligence. In a world where such happenings were feared and
where religion labelled them as evil, these happenings soon gained the attention of neighbours and family
friends. The news of these happenings spread far and wide, at times many bystanders came to marvel at the
unexplained knockings and noises.
On March 31st, 1848, the two sisters, Margaretta and Catherine Fox, established intelligent, two way
communication with a spirit person who was responsible for producing the phenomena.
A committee of investigation was formed and communicated with the spirit who had been harassing the Fox
family. The committee listened out for the response signal knocks and they established that the communicator
was Charles Rosna, who had been murdered and buried beneath the cellar of the homestead. An excavation
of the cellar later proved that there was indeed the remains of a body buried there.
The publicity which these events aroused and the investigations carried out at the time led to mediumship
being discussed openly. The Fox family suffered scorn, ridicule, and persecution but because of them advice
came from spirit people as to how to encourage spirit communication. The printing press, cheaper
newspapers and books, the improved literacy amongst the people, the rail road and improved postal service
meant that many learned about this new spiritual phenomena and how it could be achieved. In many homes,
groups of people met and, following the advice, were successful in obtaining spirit communication for
themselves. And, once communication was established, the spirit people could direct the process and give
specific guidance to further help the process.
It became clear that certain people were naturally mediumistic and the new forms of communication enabled
strikingly accurate and detailed information to be communicated. Spiritual phenomena flowed from the many
spiritualist groups which provided, time after time, personal joyful evidence confirming the existence of a spirit
world that could communicate with those still on earth. In just a few years many groups of Spiritualists formed
in America to see psychic phenomena and to consider the religious implications which lay behind the teaching
received from spirit.