« Supernatural with Ashley Flowers

MYSTICAL: The Fox Sisters


In the spring of 1848, the Fox sisters heard the chilling sounds of rapping and thumping on their walls. When the noise wouldn't stop, the girls started rapping back. Soon after that, they started speaking to the dead.

To view this episode’s full list of sources, please visit parcast.com/supernatural

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
If an age old question what happens when we die every religion has its own version of the afterlife somebody are sure that nothing comes after death. We just stop existing, but the truth is no one really knows and that uncertainty nags at us. What would you do? someone offered you an answer, proof that our spirits live on after death and that we can still communicate with the people who have passed. What would it take for you to believe it? This is the story of the Fox sisters. This is supernatural a original from par cast and I'm your host Ashley flowers. Every Wednesday
We taking a deep dive into a real unexplained occurrence to try and figure out the truth. You can bind all episodes of supernatural, and other Spotify originals from park, asked for free on Spotify this week. We're talking about the Fox sisters in the mid nineteenth century these three sisters became a national phenomenon because of their alleged MR powers. They clean they could summon and communicate with the dead. We'll have all that more coming up stay with us. This episode is brought to you, my car max falling in love with your next car is easy. Thanks to the new love, your car guarantee from carbon tax featuring twenty four hour test, drives, and a thirty day money back guarantee after fifteen hundred miles,
learn more at car max dot com. This episode is brought you by three three and has always been driven to improve lives with science and innovation. It's this forward. Thinking mindset that lead three m to invent household items. you ve come to know and love like posted notes and command talks, but Yeah I'm believes they have a responsibility to use their science to improve lives in even more ways. That's why they're responding The coordinating nineteen crisis by working on solutions for some of today's biggest challenges as a leading provider of personal protective equipment. Three m is producing critical products for healthcare workers and first responders, and donating to local and humanitarian aid partners around the globe there also making more respirators than ever before, with plants working around the clock reducing more than ninety five million respirators per month. In the U S, helping those in the front line
to continue the fight three m science applied to life more about how three M is helping the world respond to the covert nineteen pandemic at three m dot com, slash covered. today story begins in December of eighteen, forty seven when the Fox family moved to the rural community of hides, build New York. And to build their own home in the new town. But the winter is pretty brutal. So the construction comes to stop in the meantime, John and Margaret Fox Rent, a modest house near the town centre and moving with their two young daughters fourteen year old. Maggie. and eleven year Old Kate. This rental house is small, like the four of them to share a single bedroom. The parents sleep in one bed in Maggie and Kate and another, and while it's kind of tight, the foxes are relatively happy. John, is a reform
alcoholic with a new outlook on life, Margaret is a super sweet. Mother who lives for her children. As for Maggie Aunt, Kate, they're pretty much glued at the hips, so there never board most nights The new house are pretty unremarkable. After doing some chore hers and blowing up the candle. They slip into their beds and fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the river near by, of course, There are other sounds too, you know the standard. Creepy sounds that come with living in a tiny shock in the middle of the woods, the wind howling, the creaking of old trees, the pitter patter of creatures scattering through the night, but on a cold march night, the foxes wake up to hear something different, something other worldly, There's a sudden wrapping on the walls, dumping on the ceilings in vibrations all around them naturally
we want a little alarmed, so they we light the candle and investigate the sound has to have a say. ass, an open window rattling in animal trapped inside a woodpecker on the roof. It could be any number of things, but after checking every corner of the room and popping their heads out side, they don't find anything out of the ordinary which he's a little weird sure, but it's the middle of the night and everyone's tired, so John Margaret Maggie and Kate all go back to bed hoping That sounds will just go away on their own, but that's wishful thinking the wraps and knocks turn for several more nights. The boxes still can't figure out where it's coming from and their starting, get delirious from the lack of sleep by
we. On March thirty. First eleven year old K decides to respond. I have no idea why she just starts snapping her fingers and when she dies whatever is in the room wraps back at her soon Maggie joins in and the same thing happens again, whenever she makes a sound something responds it's like there can, versing in Morse Code or something there Margaret immediately sense is there in the presence of something supernatural she starts asking questions like if you and injured spirit respond with three wraps and then they here, three Knox then she asks do it again if you were injured in this house. Another three Knox. Obviously this is a lot for the family to process not only are the all running on basically no sleep, but they just been told that there lie
being with the spirit of someone who was injured, maybe even killed exactly where their standing before they pack their bags and start running the foxes. Take a step back and decide to get some input from a third party to confirm that all this is actually happening, so they ask neighbor Mary Redfield to come over when Mary arrives. Dispirit doesn't shy away at all Margaret Ass. A more questions in the Spirit continues rap. and knocking all around the house answering question after question. What really shocks everyone is that the Spirit doesn't just talk about itself. It knows things about everyone like things it shouldn't know, For example, Margaret ask the Spirit to reveal marries age just to see what happens and, to everyone's surprise, it wraps a total of thirty three times
exactly how old Mary is and Mary is beach less. When she gets home, she tells her husband what happened within hours. Word spreads around the little town like wildfire, then the same night over a dozen neighbours visit the Fox House, one of the visit this guy named William Deuce, are actually used to live in that house about seven years earlier and he's not buying the guy story for a second. In the brief time he lived there, he never once experienced a haunting so being a sceptic. He takes over asking the questions now before this. foxes were mostly asking simple, yes or no questions like knock once for. Yes, and remained silent for no, but William once specific answer, so he tells the Spirit to actually spell out words how it works
said William called out the letter of the alphabet and when he says the right letter at the Spirit Knox, it takes a while but the Spirit is able to spell out words and even form sentences through this process. The Spirit reveals that he used to be a peddler named Charles about five years earlier, that had been a couple years after William moved out. Charles came knocking on the house's door. The man who lived there I did Charles in, but once he stepped inside he cut Charles is the road with a book your knife and buried him down in the cellar. That's pretty wild right. What may, This story. Believable, though, is that Charles spells out the name of his killer. John Bell: there act really was a man named John Bell, who used to live in that house. Everyone in town remembers him, but there's only One way to prove the story is true, one of the townsmen grabs a candle, and
those down into the cellar it has a dirt floors of Charles could easily be bury anywhere demanded, search, but he doesn't find anything suspicious by now really late, so they all decide to call it a night and come back to Morrow. Now, remember this, all happening in the eighteen forties in a rural community. This is like the most exe One thing that ever happened: the gossip spreads so are in so fast by the following day. Hundreds of people are outside the Fox House hope to meet the Spirit for themselves, and they do natural the people have a lot of questions for Charles There are no longer that interested in solving his murder. They are more important questions like what happens after we die dead loved ones still around do my religious beliefs still hold true. Some of his responses are still hard to accept. I mean this community
is pretty christian and the very existence of goes is against their beliefs, but Charles tries his best to give the townspeople some peace of mind. he acknowledges that there's a heaven and that, God is all powerful. He tells a pair of greeting parents that the recently d The child is doing ok in a weird way it sort of comforting. But of course some people are still sceptical and the only way to prove that Charles is legit is to find his remain. so later that day, a group of men go down to the seller with some shovels and may start digging. But the thing is this house is right next to a river like right. Next to it, and once they dig about three feet, deep water starts to rise, the men have to stop or the whole seller will flood when no one can stop thinking about.
Morals. So, three months later, another group of townsmen arrive and try again they dig deeper and deeper into the dirt. as the water slowly rises around them and finally, they find something. It appears to be strands of human hair and fragments of bone. They found Charles coming up the foxes, inspire. A spiritual, a weakening the c I a there, the first line of defence, for United States, analyzing intelligence to thwart any possible threats and keep us safe. Some of their volumes are made public and others arts high its Carter from park asked and, in honour of America's birthday. We're uncovered.
The cases you were never supposed to know about in the new series: conspiracy, Series C. I a addition from enter national assassination plots in mind, control experiments to catastrophic cover ups in secret. Societies, fit for film sift through the ages, sees most questioned and controversial affairs each week concern mercy theory. Cia addition exposes the covert operations intended to protect us from conflict but end up creating conspiracies where as the truth lie, the lies end and how Do we really want to know follow the news modify original from PAR cast conspiracy, in theory, CIA addition, listen every Thursday free and only on Spotify. This episode, sponsored by better help online therapy
As we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel, a lot of people are still feeling down and emotionally out of sorts, you may not the pressure, a total loss, but if you're feeling a little bit offer you relationships are suffering that could be sign. You should talk to somebody online therapy can help help is professional. Dear president, securely online, not a crisis line or self help. It's easy started questionnaire and get matched with professional licence therapies. Then you can start communicating with you better help their prison under forty eight hours, cinemas see their peace at any time and scarcer secure, weekly, videophone or even live chat appointments. Should you need it's easy and free, just switch counselors to make sure you have the right therapeutic. Much better help is convenient. An affordable and their crews have a broad range of expertise that mainly
be available in your area, less an actual aid is available. Our listeners get ten percent off their first month and better health got com. Slash modifying that's better. Eighty I'll be back on slash spotty, fine. Now back to the story. In the summer of eighteen. Forty eight, a group of townsmen, discover what appears to be human remains in the Fox family seller. It looks like the story of Charles. The peddler is actually true. By now, a bunch of previous tenants have come out of the woodwork and say when they lived in this house. They also heard rap and knocking one servant also reveals that she'd seen a meal spirit roaming about. At this point, the Fox family is fully freaked out there not staying in a haunted house any longer. So within days
They packed their bags and move in with a relative in the nearby town of Arcadia, but to everyone's horror. The spirit follows them Wherever they go, Maggie and Kate can still hear the wrapping sounds strangely, Nobody else can hear it anymore. Just Maggie and Kate and Charles isn't the only spirit eager to talk count. this different spirits, find their way to the girls each with their own story. To tell so now the foxes or thinking, maybe it's not the house- that's haunted, maybe it's their daughters, maybe Manny in Kate have some kind of supernatural touch. Their able to help the dead break through to the world of the living, which sounds kind of cool in all. but you ve gotta, remember how young these girls are Maggie's. Fourteen and Kate, only eleven their parents- understandably just this spirits to leave them alone. No, I dont completely
understand the logic here, but they came to the conclusion that the best way to stop it was to split the girls up. They might have thought that putting some disk between them would weaken their powers and make it harder for spirits to communicate with them, or maybe they were trying to figure out if Only one of the girls was the supernatural magnet or if it was both whatever the reason, Maggie stays with her parents and relatives in Arcadia me while Kate travels about thirty miles west to stay with her much older sister Leah who lives in Rochester, but the split doesn't help the wrapping knocking and being continues to follow Maggie all around Arcadia and over in Rochester things, only getting worse for Kate Turning to Leah quote tables, everything in the room below us, we're being moved about, doors were being
bend and shut, making the greatest possible noises, then they walked upstairs and into the room. Next to us, end quote: you'd. Think Leah would have sent her sister packing right then and there, but she doesn't in fact leads seems completely unfazed by the hauntings. It actually remind her of a little family secret. Their great grandmother was rumored to a clairvoyant according to Emily lore. She could predict a person's death weeks before it happened. So Leah assumes that their great grandmothers powers have been passed down to Maggie and Kate. see Leah is a single mom who has to hustle to put food on the table, and she realizes that if her sisters can really speak to the dead, lots of people would pay to meet that. So not
Long after Kate arrives, Leah invites Maggie to live with her in Rochester too. She spends the rest of the summer, helping the girls hone their abilities over time. They develop a more complex system of communication. Three, perhaps means yes, a single knock means no, and five wraps means that the Spirit wants to use the alphabet dispel something out. After a few months. The sisters feel confident enough to start holding private seance, a lot of their visitors are genuine believers, hoping to make some connection to a deceased, relative or friend, and Maggie and Kate do just that for the session. The guest leave feeling a sense of peace enclosure, but some visitors are pure sceptics. They sit in the Sis parlor room looking for anything that might suggest fraud but usually these sceptics leave very disappointed. Sometimes they even become the sisters, most passionate support
for example, in November of eighteen, forty eight a journalist name, Eliab capering comes to Rochester and attends one of these sciences, as always the spear it seems to know all things they shouldn't know according to a lie there, unable to read his mind. Still it's hard for him to accept what seeing in hearing is real, so he conducts this little test of his own there's a bowl of shells on the table and he grabs a handful of them encloses his hand. Then he asked, spirit, to tell him how many or in his hand, this Spirit answers correctly and Eliab completely blown away much so that the next fall alive. It invites twelve year old Kate to stay with him in his wife in Auburn New York But his knowledge on vacation Eliab puts heard a work evenings. Kate is the most gifted of the two sisters, so he puts her through an intense see.
Freeze of tests, I'm not exactly sure what these tests consisted of, but apparently she passes with flying colours, but just as her abilities seem to be developing, so do the spirits during one of Kate Seances, the chairs suddenly become stuck to the floor and a table flips over. Another time a comb flies out of a woman's hair and another time someone actually feels spirits hand touching their arm, afterward missing. So many of these occurrences in person alive is now fully confident that the spirits are real and Kate is some kind of spiritual magnet. He publishes an account of her abilities and the word gets around back at home. Maggie is gaining a similar reputation and so is Leah. Leah starts having these visits
dreams where she seems to get messages straight from the Spirit world before the year is up. All three fox sisters are celebrated, wore their supernatural gifts and their biggest fans, or this pirates allegedly by the fall of eighteen, forty, nine, a bunch of spirit or telling the sisters to spread a message to the masses. They want the whole world to know. the afterlife is real and spirits, can interact with the living long after they die. This idea is the This is for a new belief system, which becomes known as modern spiritualism em in the Fox sisters are ready to spread the truth to the world. This beer instruct Leah and Maggie to host a show at the largest theater in Rochester, the Grand Corinthian Hall on November 14th, one thousand eight hundred and forty nine about four hundred people pack inside to see what the sisters have to say
Some of them are spiritualist who are eager for the world to get on board with their movement. On the other hand, there are also sceptics who can't wait to tear the fox sisters apart and expose them as frauds when sixteen year old Maggie takes the stage the audience goes silent. She doesn't look like what most p or expecting she's young she's, pretty and she's wearing this adorable dress, she's, just an inch girl some when you're inclined to trust everyone watches quietly as Maggie starts communicating with this Spirit through a series of wraps, but while it seems convincing enough much of the audience still isn't
old the next morning, this committee of Sceptics meets with Maggie and Leah at a smaller venue to do some test of their own, their basically trying to prove that the sisters are frauds at one point, they realise that a lot of the wrapping sound seemed becoming from the floor and he began to suspect that the girls are doing so with their feet, so they take them into a private room and placed their hands all over their feet and angles to make sure they are not moving. But despite this kind of issue, basic search. They killed actually safer certain whether the girls are making the sounds with their feet. Now that is a really settle anything for the sceptics. So another committee is formed to investigate The next day they order Maggie and Leah to lie down on a table, while the committee members closely examined them to see if any of their body parts are making the sound. Once again, the committee comes up with
nothing by now. You think they get the picture and just let the girls be, but the sceptics are still not letting you go. day after that there is a third investigation. This time there are women on the committee, who take Maggie Angela into a private room and stripped search them. This is obviously extremely traumatic, especially for man whose only sixteen both sisters, or embarrassed and cry, and eventually someone intervenes and stops the investigation. Once again, the committee can't definitively say where the wraps are coming from the three day. Investigation makes one thing clear: as far as any one can tell the Fox sisters are the real deal. After that, Maggie Kate and Leah become seriously famous everyone from Frederick Douglass to the editor of the new,
nor Tribune suddenly wants to meet them. The editor even write a piece on that, that's, as quote what or maybe the origin or cause of the rappings. The Ladys in whose presence they occur, do not make them we tested this thoroughly and to our entire satisfaction with so many powerful people in there, Lord Maggie, Kate and Leah live exciting lives for the next few years. They travel throughout the country and times the world. Helping people communicate with the dead. By this point, Maggie and K are growing up before everyone's eyes and their becoming very beautiful women, and naturally, this attracts a string of mail client. and in the fall of eighteen. Fifty to a man named Eliza Kane goes to one of their seances and false head over heels for Maggie Eliza isn't
Exactly your average guy either he's a famous explorer who comes from a very prominent family and even though he agrees to attend one of these sounds as he finds the whole movement ridiculous. He starts dating Maggie, but after a while, he pressures her to renounce spiritualism and convert to Catholicism, and she actually does, of course Bruce. Lee is not too happy about all this. For years, she'd been making a good living off. Her sister say assets with my: he gone it not only drives down their profits in makes Kate and Leah seen way less credible. This creates a big rift between the sisters from that point on, though, all go on to live very soon, lives while Maggie and Kate eventually get married, both of their husbands die young and over the next few decades they each struggled to provide for themselves and their families
Meanwhile, Leah keeps finding new ways to make money off her supposed abilities, in addition to holding private seances she Penza Book about herself and her sisters, but she mainly focuses on herself. Leaving Maggie and Kate in the dust, and this really makes Maggie in Cates blood boil. After all, Lee the one who led them down this path in the first place and now she's a ending, then they start to think if she hadn't pushed them into spiritualism in the first place. they might all be better off the and finally breaks in eighteen. Eighty eight when fifty four you're old Maggie gives an interview telling her side of the story. She says quote Kay night were little children and this old woman older sister Leah made us her tools. Our sister used ass in her exhibition and we made money for her now, she turns upon us because the wife of a rich man- and she opposes us both wherever she can
in that same interview, Maggie makes a startling duration. She reveals that all the sounds the wrapping than knocking the thumping were all parlor tricks. She and her sisters are frauds coming up. The fox sisters fall from grace now back to the story in the fall of eighteen. Eighty eight Maggie Fox deny MRS Spiritualism and claims she and her sisters are all frauds. She explained they learn how to make the famous wrapping sounds as young girls when they lived in the rented house in hides veil to prove she's telling the truth
man. He is willing to show the world how it's done. She stands before a crowd at the New York Academy of Music and reads the following statement. The rappings are simply the result of a perfect control of the muscles of the leg below the knee which govern the tendency of the foot and allow action of the tow in ankle bones that are not commonly known. Basically, there just cracking their joints. She even damn straight to show everyone what it sounds like to explain why the girls I'd for so long. Maggie points. The finger at Leah, according Maggie Leah wanted to start a new religion for profit, and, while Maggie and Kate knew that sounds were just tricks, Leah insisted that she really had spiritual powers and that we all need to work together to help souls move on. So,
getting Kate, kept up the ruse, hoping to also reach the same level of spiritual power that Leah claimed to have, but after forty years of pushing spiritualism to the masses that power never came so in the end, it all see. Like a hoax, a really good one sure, but now that night confessed it seems be obvious right, but there are still a few sticking points if they were really just con. Artists How did this history know so much about all the people that they met? How are they able to answer so many questions correctly and how are they able to Big objects suddenly move on their own to countless believers. It doesn't seem like the story just end here and in fact it does about a year later in the fall of eighteen, eighty, nine Maggie We, since her confession accordingly
Maggie? She was under a lot of pressure by Catholics to renounce spiritual with them. She was also hard up for cash, though some people believe that rich sceptics actually paid her off to do it either way. Maggie APOLLO it is for the damage is done to the movement and eventually returned to performing sciences from then on all three box sisters continue to insist that they can speak to the dead until their own deaths in the early eighteen nineties. It's kind of hard to make sense, the sudden confession and reversal, but we have to look at motivation is met he renounced spiritualism, just because she was under pressure and needed cash who's to say she wouldn't return dispiriting with them. For the same reasons, the fact that Maggie was able to demonstrate how wrapping sounds were made seems like solid proof that it was a hoax as for how the sisters were, the answer so many questions and it could have been lucky guesses
or confirmation bias. People remembered the correct answers and forgot about the ones that we're off the mark. Interestingly, even though the Fox sisters were pretty much debunk, spiritualism still remains alive and well today believe tend to assume that Maggie's confession was a lie We cantation was the truth. Sceptics of course, on the other. and take Maggie's initial convention as truth and see the box sisters as con artists, whatever you believe, Maggie Kate and Leah definitely achieved their goal. Of spreading spiritualism around the world.
If they were right there, spirits might still be among us, and if you listen closely at night, who knows they might reveal the truth thanks for listening I'll be back next week with another episode. If you want to learn more about the Fox sisters, I found talking to the dead by barber. Weisberger, especially helpful to my research. You can find all episodes of supernatural and all other Spotify originals from par cast for free on Spotify supernatural stars, Ashley flowers and its a original from part cast its executive produced by MAX cut,
sound designed by carry Murphy with production assistance by IRAN, Shapiro Trent Williamson Curly Madden in Erin Larsson this episode of supernatural written by GINO, with writing assistance by Conor Samson encase Gallagher. That checking by on you barely and research by Mickey Taylor, to hear more stories hosted by me check out, crying junkie and all audio choke originals. Hi it's quarter from Parkhurst every Thursday on conspiracy, theory C. I a addition. We're on covering secrets, hidden deep within the archives of the Central intelligence agency, to bring you. special collection of episodes from shows a cry. Ass. Our network followed the news but a fire original from park could spirit theories C. I a addition: listen free! Only on Spotify
Transcript generated on 2021-07-22.