The Fox Sisters
While spirit entities of the invisible world have interacted and even communicated with their incarnate brothers and sisters since the beginning of human history, this story of the Fox sisters in Hydesville, NY, is often cited as one of the most famous events to mark the birth of modern spiritualism. Working as physical mediums, these sisters played a role in the surge of physical phenomena that took place in the late 19th century, as a sort-of wake-up call to mankind, alerting people to the existence of the spiritual realm
You can find more about the details of the Fox sisters' story in numerous books and internet sites that pertain to spiritual phenomena, spiritualism, and other related topics. As you will find upon investigating a variety of sources, the Fox sisters were controversial in their time and remain so today. Following their initial experiences, the Fox sisters eventually became famous for their demonstrations. With that fame and curiosity, however, the sisters, like other true mediums, lived under tremendous pressures. These were pressures from the Church, and others who organized against them with accusations of fraud and humiliating personal attacks, due, in part, to their fame, but also to the discovery of true fraud found in other self-proclaimed mediums. Adding to the controversy were their own personal and family issues, including their own eventual struggles with alcohol abuse.
While many, including some very respected persons of the time, were convinced of the validity of the sisters' mediumship, others would not accept their demonstration as anything but fraud. The latter, then, were thrilled when, one of the sisters later confessed that their mediumship actually was a fraud. However, those who believed in them felt that such a confession was more likely due to the previously mentioned pressures that the girls were under. It may even be true that at some point or another, the girls, while truly having been mediums, may have even staged some phenomena, simply to meet the demands of their popularity. As we know, spirit-phenomena always depends on the participation of the spirits and can not be made to happen whenever and wherever one wants, no matter how developed their mediumship. Within a year, the girls retracted the confession. It could also be noted that, under historical record, the skeleton of a man was later found (after the sisters' deaths) in the Hydesville, home, as the spirit said it would be.
What was most important about the events of the Fox sisters' discovery was their role in bringing spiritual phenomena to the limelight and helping to promote the interest in, and popularity of such phenomena in the United states and abroad. The resulting social practice of "table turning" sessions and other events of the late 19th century "spiritualist craze", while only temporarily entertaining to most, did capture the attention of some who took an interest in the "intelligence" of the communications and pressed on into the more scientific studies of such matters, one of them being Allan Kardec himself, who through his dedicated and careful labor, mental aptitude, moral integrity, and perseverance in the name of human progress, successfully completed his role in working with the spirits to codify the Doctrine of Spiritism.