The Magic of the Fox Sisters
At the outset, I want to state that there is no real correlation between spiritualism and magic. However, the so-called pseudo communication with the spirit world did in fact open up a whole new era for magicians. Spiritualism, as well as a new part of the history of magic, began in 1843 when the three Fox sisters, Leah, Margaret and Kate played a practical joke on their rather superstitious mother. They suggested they were in contact with a deceased murdered man who was supposedly buried in the basement of their home. In their tiny cottage situated in Hydesville, New York near Wechester County, the three girls spooked their mother by creating strange rappings or knocks which they claimed was the man’s spirit trying to contact them. Going to bed at night, the girls would tie a string to apples and bump them on the floor which sounded like ghostly footsteps. From these began the growth of an all new religion called Spiritualism that was to influence millions of people in the late 19th century and offer magicians the opportunity to present psychic-type magic tricks and phenomenon into their stage shows.