Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Rev Wilma Trebell's Talk on the Fox Sisters

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The Fox Sisters

For those who may have missed it, and wished to have heard it, the following is a transcription of what she presented at the Star of Hope Spiritualist Church on May 15, 2011. The Star of Hope wishes to thank her for her allowing us to present this to you via our website. 


Spiritualistic type phenomena have existed since the dawn of humanity, the advent of what we know as the Spiritualist movement, or Modern Spiritualism, dates to March 31, 1848, to a small cottage in the town of Hydesville in upper New York State. On this day, two young girls, Maggie and Kate Fox, established the first systematic and intelligible two-way communication with the spirit world.

But it can be said that the Spiritualism began in Canada. Maggie and Kate Fox, considered the founders of the movement were born in Consecon, Prince Edward County, Upper Canada, now Ontario.

After a troubled marriage and financial difficulties, their parents, Margaret and John Fox, decided to move to Canada from the States to try their luck at farming. Elizabeth, one of their daughters, accompanied them. They settled in Consecon on the Bay of Quinte, where Margaret had relatives who descended from United Empire Loyalists. Two other children, David and Leah, now adults, remained in the States.

In Consecon, being close to forty years old, Margaret gave birth to two more children: Margaretta on October 7, 1833 and Katherine on March 27, 1837.

But the farm did not prosper and few years later they decided to return to the States. Elizabeth, having married a Canadian farmer, stayed behind.

The Foxes settled for a time in Rochester, a booming and prosperous town, where their daughter Leah lived.

Two weeks before Christmas in the winter of 1847, a particularly cold one, the Foxes moved to the rural community of Hydesville where they rented a small two room cottage in which to spend the winter while waiting for construction on their new house to resume in the spring. Their son David owned a farm in the vicinity.

For 14-year old Maggie and Kate, soon to turn 11, Hydesville must have proved extremely dull after the excitement of Rochester and especially being cooped up in the small cottage during the long winter months. But during the last two weeks of March, the tedium was suddenly interrupted by strange knocks and furniture being dragged that rattled the beds and the nerves. Sleep was impossible. John Fox searched "every nook and corner" of the house to discover the source of the noises, all to no avail.