In March 1856 in Hydesville, not very far from New York a certain Sir Weckman used to live in house where unexplainable things used to happen, so he moved away.
After six months the Fox family occupied the house and not very long after they moved in they started to hear strange noises and bangs. On March 31, 1858, one of the young daughters thought to imitate the weird noises snapping her fingers. After a while the Fox family proposed to the mysterious entity to count to four, then to eight and then to twelve. The entity accpeted and did what the family asked.
One night the Fox’s daughters were awakened by some very loud noises close to them, the girls sat on the bed, fearing and at the same time wanting to see a ghost. One of them, Kate, proposed to her sister Margaret to repeat the noise, so she snapped the fingers three times and with big surprise of both girls, they heard three snaps right in front of them. Kate woke the parents up and repeated the same thing in the presence of the mother. Once again the entity replied.
– “Count to ten!” the mother ordered the invisible being. Immediately they heard the sound of a hand snapping ten times.
– “Tell me how old is Kate.” The fingers snapped twelve times – “Are you a ghost?” Mrs. Fox asked. “If so knock twice for yes.” The invisible fingers snapped twice. The family decided to keep the secret.
The following night the family gathered in the girls’ bedroom and at 1 a.m. they heard the floor creaking and felt a freezing gust. For almost an hour a rather confusing conversation took place, the family was formulating some questions and the ghost replied through a method they agreed – a snap for yes and two snaps for no.
Mrs Fox asked: “If we invite a few neighbours will you keep reply to our question?”, one single snap was heard, so they called the authorities. There were those who accused Mrs. Fox of witchcraft and her daughters to be possessed by the devil. That night, the only curious incident was due to a woman who saw a white horse flying in the sky, but inside the house everything was a lot different: at around 1 a.m. they heard three loud noises against the walls and the floor creaking and, once again, a cold icy gust.
“If you are a spirit reply with a knock!” a pastor screamed. A single knock was heard.
The event had some easily imaginable consequences. During the following nights the house was reached by a huge crowd, wanting to interrogate the ghost. The house became an attraction point as people went there from all over the region. The Methodist Church expelled the Fox Family and forbade his its followers to attend “people who had dealings with the Devil”.
Nevertheless, a Quaker invented an special alphabet in which each letter corresponds to a certain number of knocks.It was then proposed to the ghost who accepted, so they found out its identity. He was the spirit of Charles Ryan, a 31 year-old pedlar who’s been murdered in 1832 and his body had been buried in the basement of the house, where then they found some human bones.
The Fox family ran away from Hydesville and from the ghost, in 1848 they found a new accommodation in Rochester, where their eldest daughter lives… but their troubles were not ended, since even the new home became the scene of fantastic events.
When the village knew about these phenomena, a huge crowd started to visit the house. In June they saw a whithish figure that disappeared in the air, something like a human hand touched the cheeks of those who were present.
After the huge success the Fox family proposed to some sèances in private homes, so that they could send their messages to the human beings, talking to them about the Afterlife and shwing the path of peace and happiness on Earth.These meetings were the firts sèances of modern times.
The enthusiasm was so great that the small group of initiates decided to obey to the spirits organizing a large public meeting that took place on November the 14th, 1849 t the “Corinthian Hall” in Manchester, where hundreds of people gathered. This date marked the beginning of the Spiritualist Movement worldwide.
However, the spirits troubled by the confusion they caused, not always accomplished their promises and some them began to make deplorable jokes to confuse the initiates.