Birth of Modern Spiritualism

Psychic phenomena have been recorded throughout history. All major religions were based, initially, on some form of psychic occurrence which was subsequently obscured by dogma and creed. Although there are many recorded instances of spirit entities making contact with people still living a physical life, notably those mentioned in the Bible and the events surrounding Joan of Arc, for example, we Spiritualists regard 31st March 1848 and the phenomena called the Hydesville Rappings as the beginning of Modern Spiritualism.

The Hydesville Rappings established that it was possible to have a two way communicatioin with spirits of the so called dead. Communications could be established more easily as codes were developed. The Spirit world was a world of intelligence.

Mr and Mrs Fox lived with their two daughters in temporary accommodation in Hydesville a small town in the state of New York USA.

For two weeks or so noises were heard every night. On Friday March 31st 1848 noises were heard not only during the night but during daylight hours.

The youngest girl made noises with her hands and fingers and the ‘Raps’ responded. The oldest girl responded in gest ”Now do this just as I do.” The blows that she made were repeated as before.

Mrs Fox joined in and asked the noise to count to ten. It did so. Then she asked the ages of each of her children to be counted out in succession. It did so.

Neighbours were called to witness the rappings and further questioning by Mrs Fox and others gained information about the Communmicator. They discovered the Spirit of a peddler who had been murdered for his money and possessions in the house by a former tenant and buried in the cellar around five years before.

The Hydesville Rappings caused a stir and the phenomenon was recorded by Mr E.E. Lewis. In April 1848 he gained twenty-two signed statements from those who witnessed the events. The SNU has now republished the original valuable report.