Sisters Kate (1838–92), Leah (1814–90) and
Margaret (1836–93) Fox played an important role
in the creation of Spiritualism, especially of
In 1848, the two younger sisters – Kate and
Margaret – were living in a house in
Hydesville, a village near Rochester, New York
with their parents. The house had some prior
reputation for being haunted, but it wasn't
until late March that the family began to be
frightened by unexplained sounds that at times
sounded like knocking, and at other times like
the moving of furniture. During the night of
March 31, Kate challenged the invisible
noise-maker to repeat the snaps of her fingers.
It did. It was asked to rap out the ages of the
girls. It did.
The neighbors were called in, and over the
course of the next few days a type of code was
developed where raps could signify yes or no in
response to a question, or be used to indicate
a letter of the alphabet. The entity creating
the sounds claimed to be the spirit of a pedlar
named Charles B. Rosma, who had been murdered
five years earlier and buried in the cellar.
The neighbors dug up the cellar and found a few
pieces of bone, but it wasn't until 1904 that a
skeleton was found, buried in the cellar wall.
No missing person named Charles B. Rosma was