What was the Hydesville phenomenon?

We know that the spiritist facts existed from all time, but the English and American spiritists usually indicate as initial date of the modern spiritist movement the 31 of March of 1848, that marks the mediumistic episode in the village of Hydesville, County of Wayne, in the State of New York. On December 11, 1847, the Fox Protestant family, John Fox, his wife Margaret, and the minor daughters Margareth, 14, and Catherine (Kate Fox), settled in a simple and humble hut in Hysdeville. 11 years. The hut in which they lived, before them, was occupied by the spouses Bell and her maid Lucrezia Pelves.


At first the Foxes felt nothing strange about the house, however, in the early months of 1848, unusual noises began to manifest, disturbing the tenants. They were light beats, sounds that looked like scratches on the walls, floors, and furniture, which could be naturally mistaken for natural sounds of the wind, rattle of wood and rats. These noises grew louder and louder, the beds were shaking and moving to such an extent that the daughters refused to sleep alone in their room, sleeping with their parents. At first they did not believe that the noises could be the consequence of a "supernatural" cause, they tried to find the most common causes that could justify the phenomenon, but it was in vain.


On the night of March 31, 1848, when the sounds became very strong, the episode became known as the beginning of Spiritism. Kate Fox, in her natural naivete as a child, had the idea of ​​challenging the "invisible force" to repeat, with the beats, the clapping of hands. The answer did not wait, with each hand, a blow was heard soon after, proving that the origin of the sounds was a disembodied intelligence.

They came to the conclusion that this force could see and hear, for even when the daughter folded her finger without making a noise the scratch responded correctly with the number of beats corresponding to the numbering made with her fingers. It was discovered that the beating was based on the spirit of a peddler named Charles Rosma, who had been murdered and buried in the basement of the Fox family home by former tenants, the Bell, for five hundred dollars, and was murdered with a knife in the throat To enable better communication between the mediums and the spirit of the peddler, one of the present, Mr. Isaac Post, had the idea of ​​determining for each letter of the alphabet a number of corresponding beats, initiating what we call spiritual telegraphy.


It is worth to transcribe some excerpts from the testimony of Mrs. Margaret Fox, told by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in the work History of Spiritism [1]: On the night of Friday, March 31, 1848, we decided to go to bed a little earlier and we are not disturbed by noise; We were going to have a night of rest. My husband who was here on all occasions, heard the noises and helped to search. That night we went to bed early - it was just dark. I found myself so broken and lacking in rest that I almost felt sick. My husband had not gone to bed when we heard the first noise that night. I just lay down. It started as usual. I distinguished myself from any other noise I had ever heard. The girls, who slept in another bed in the room, heard the knocking and tried to make similar noises by snapping their fingers.


And the mother continues, in her testimony: "My youngest daughter, Kate," she said, clapping her hands: "Lord Cracked, Do what I do." Immediately followed the sound, with the same number of spanking. When she stopped, the sound stopped short. Then Margaret jokingly said, "Now do exactly as I. Tell me one, two, three, four" and clapped her hands. Then the noises came as before. She was afraid to repeat the rehearsal. Then Kate said in childish simplicity, "Oh, Mom, I already know what it is. Tomorrow is the first of April, and someone wants to tell us a lie ... So I thought I'd take a test that no one would be able to answer I asked for the ages of my children to be indicated in succession, and the exact age of each was instantly given, pausing from one to another in order to separate until the seventh, after which a greater pause and three beats stronger were given, corresponding to the age of the child, who had died.


Then asked Mrs. Margaret: Is it a human being who answers me so correctly? There was no response. I asked: Is it a spirit? If it is, give it two strokes. Two beats were heard as soon as I made the request. Then I said, If it be a murdered spirit, give it two strokes. These were given instantly, producing a tremor in the house. I asked: Was he murdered in this house? The answer was like the one before. Has the person who murdered you still lived? Identical answer, for two beats. By the same process I discovered that it was a man who murdered him in this house and his remains buried in the cellar; that the family consisted of a wife and five children, two boys and three girls, all alive at the time of his death, but after that his wife had died. So I asked: Will it continue to beat if we call the neighbors to listen too? The affirmative response was high.


In the summer of 1848 they excavated the cellar and found planks, lime, human hair, pedlar utensils and some human bones, yet material still insufficient for eventual condemnation. Fifty-six years later, in 1904, a Boston newspaper reported that the skeleton of the man who was thought to have produced noises heard by the Fox sisters in 1848 had been found in the family-occupied house, which no doubt proved sincerity in the discovery of the communication of the spirits.

Several other phenomena occurred in the family of Deacon Hale from Greece, a neighboring town of Rochester, and other families from other cities, making it clear that they were not only connected to the Fox girls. Other evidence of the crime is the testimony of Lucretia Pulver, who served as the maid of Mr. and Mrs. Bell, occupants of the house four years earlier, informing her that the peddler had come to the house and there spent the night with his wares, telling his employers that he could go home that night, stating :


I wanted to buy only a few things from the peddler, but he had no money with me; he said he would come to my house the next morning and sell it. I never saw him again ... One night, about a week later, Mrs. Bell (sic.) Sent me to the cellar to close the outer door. Crossing it, I fell near the middle of the cellar. It seemed to me uneven and dug in that part. When I went upstairs, Mrs. Bell asked me why she had screamed and I told her. He laughed at my scare and said that it was only here that the rats had dug the ground. A few days later Mr. Bell (sic.) Carried a load of rubbish into the cellar at night, and there he had been working for some time. Mrs. Bell (sic.) Told me that he was plugging the holes in the mice. [2]


Often the question arose: what was the purpose of such a strange movement at that special time? The answer was given on two different occasions, in two different years and through various mediums. In both cases the response was identical. The first read: "To lead humanity in harmony and to convince skeptics of the immortality of the soul"; and the second: "It is to unite humanity and convince the skeptical minds of the immortality of the soul." [3] The Hydesville shed was transferred by Benjamin F. Bartlett in May 1916 to Lily Dale, the regional headquarters of the American Spiritists in New York. Today, the bones and the iron chest are in the museum, as a record of the birth of a new history for humanity.


For a few years the Fox sisters held sessions in New York and elsewhere. However, they became involved in alcohol addiction and in degenerate ways of mind and character, more because they were immature and inexperienced than bad. Unfortunately they did not know that contact with spirits should take place in a serious way, with healthy goals and without material interest.

Around 1888 they were involved with monetary gains from spiritist presentations. Already weakened by alcoholism, they even claimed that the phenomena were not true and later repented for having slandered Spiritism, re-reading the veracity of the effects. The Fox sisters disincarnated around 1892 and their end was sad and obscure.


Margaret Fox's interview was published in the New York press on November 20, 1889, about a year after the scandal, saying: Praza a Dios, "she said in a trembling voice of intense excitement," that I can undo the injustice I did to the cause of Spiritism when, under the intense psychological influence of his enemies, I made statements that are not based on the facts. This retraction and denial is not only part of my own sense of what is right, but also of the silent impulse of the Spirits who use my organism, despite the hostility of the treacherous horde who has promised wealth and happiness in return for an attack on Spiritism, and whose hopeful promises were so fallacious ... 'Long before I spoke to anyone on this subject, I was being ceaselessly warned by my Spirit-Guide of what I should do, at last I came to the conclusion that it was useless to contradict his recommendations ... [4]


The mediumship of the Fox sisters was essentially a beating, sometimes very strong, of spiritual lights, of direct writing, of the appearance of materialized hands, and sometimes of transportation. Professor William Crookes, an English physicist, made an inquiry into the psychic powers (Kate Fox) and published a sincere statement (the only people present were him, his lady, a relative and Miss Fox), emphasizing that he held both her hands , while his feet were on his, with paper on the table and a pencil in the Professor's free hand. He claims that a luminous hand descended from the top of the room, swung close to him for a few seconds, took the pencil from his hand and wrote quickly on the sheet of paper, after which the hand rose over the heads and gradually dissolving into the darkness . [5]


From the story of the Fox sisters, we can see that the unmedicated and uneducated medium to serve the good of others without interest and humility usually gets in the way of their own inferiorities, which is why people and the medium most strongly need study and understand mediumship in order to better develop their faculties, thus performing a more efficient work in order to promote the Spiritist Doctrine and the experience of the Gospel of Jesus.

[1] DOYLE, Arthur Conan. History of Spiritism. [s.l.]: L. Neilmoris, 2008. p. 55.

[2] DOYLE, Arthur Conan. History of Spiritism. [s.l]: L. Neilmoris, 2008. p. 60.

[3] The Holy Spirit History of Christianity. Available at: <https://bit.ly/2D6NhZn>. Accessed on: 9 jun. 2018.

[4] History of Spiritism. The Career of the Fox Sisters. Available at: <https://bit.ly/2wnGEuN>. Accessed on: 8 jun. 2018.

[5] Spiritist Federation of Paraná. Sisters Fox. Available at: <https://bit.ly/2Nd9rK0>. Accessed on: 8 jun. 2018.

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