Knock-Knock. Who’s Dead?

The Fox Sisters — Margaret (Maggie), Katie, and their older sister, Leah — were three girls from upstate New York who played a key role in establishing the Spiritualism Movement: a belief system / “religion” based on alleged communication with Ghosts, usually with a Medium acting as go-between.

Beginning in March, 1848, the Fox Family began hearing peculiar noises at night; cracks, knocks, and furniture shifting. These odd sounds reached a crescendo of volume and frequency on — tellingly — April 1. The Mr. and Mrs. turned their small farmhouse upside down, but were unable to determine the source of the disturbances. Then their youngest daughter, Katie, discovered that she could get the noises to respond to her when she rhythmically snapped her fingers. A code was quickly settled-on whereby their unseen guest would rap once for “yes” and remain silent for a “no.”

Through a lengthy series of questions, the Foxes learned the their correspondent was the Spirit of a young man, a wandering Peddler, who — years ago — was mugged and killed and buried in their basement.

By repeatedly demonstrating these “rappings,” Maggie and Katie convinced their older sister and others that they were actually communicating with The Dead. Leah quickly assumed the role of Career Manager, and all three enjoyed international success as Mediums for decades. Until…

Excerpt:

Now here we’ve a tale sure-to curl all ten toes.
About speaking to Spirits — oh yes! One of those.

It’s a proven Goosepimpler; best to be read
When you’re home, quite alone, hiding under your bed.

* * *

So The Great Civil War had just come to an end.
An event most Historians don’t recommend

The repeating-of, seeing that so many died:
Far too many Sons lost, scores of Mothers left crying.

~ o ~

And so very eventually — ocean to ocean —
The Nation subscribed to a curious notion:

A fervent belief, linking opposite coasts,
That their Dearly Departed had just become ghosts.

Who though no-longer living, nor breathing, nor seen,
Were still sharing their houses as they’d used-to been.

~ o ~

The Fam-i-ly’s surname was “Fox” and their daughters,
Young Maggie and Katie, shared slumbering quarters.

It seems on the night before April Fool’s Day
The two girls got a guest, a Ghost!, eager to say to them

All sorts of things in a weird sort of way: talking —
Choosing to use, rather — knocks to communicate.

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