Mediums and Sťance Rooms

    Margaret and Katherine were also known for creating sťance rooms.  Usually these rooms were in parlors of hotels, and charged the public a dollar to see.  They also had private sittings, but for only people who could afford it.  These public sťances attracted many different kinds of people, even celebrities.  Horace Greeley was one of their original supporters.  He was a writer for the Tribune, and always wrote complementary things toward Margaret and Kate.  He also frequently invited them in to his home, and even paid for some of their schooling (Ross 92).  In 1850 Kate and Margaret also demonstrated their talents to another Tribune writer, Dr. Rufus W. Griswold.  He was one of their biggest critics, and "[t]he sťance established them with the intellectuals..." (Ross 92).

    The girls also attracted even more well-known and respected individuals.  Margaret's sťances attracted: James Fennimore Cooper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and William Cullen Bryant.  Kate received the highest medium status when Mary Todd Lincoln attended a private sitting.  Mrs. Lincoln was trying to connect with the deceased President.

    As the rappings got to be old news a new form of communication was discovered.  The sisters, Kate especially, adopted mirror writing.  This was faster than the rappings on long messages, and was not as exhausting.  Through this new form of communication, spirits like James C. Calhoun and Benjamin Franklin were contacting the sisters.

Example of mirror writing

This a mirror writing done by Kate Fox.  This communication was claimed to be with Ben Franklin.


Example of a dialog of a medium

Medium: Chief Redwood [a spirit control] tells me there is the spirit of a young     woman here who wishes to talk to you.

Sitter (eagerly): Yes, yes, I know who it must be.

Medium: I think he says she was you sister. [Not very unlikely in those days of large families and  high rates of infant mortality.]

Sitter: Amelia!  Are you there?

Medium: She says there was great affection between you two...

~taken from Facts, Frauds, and Phantasms (p. 44)

Back    Next

Page created by Ashley Fields

Religion In America (History 338)

Georgetown College


Last updated: 3-22-01