THE BIRTH OF MODERN SPIRITUALISM
The Fox family who moved to a homestead in Hydesville, New York State, USA were disturbed by noises, knockings, movements of objects and other unusual phenomena. The two children Catherine and Margaretta discovered that if they spoke out, then the mysterious noises seemed to respond and it became clear that the phenomena were not just random manifestations of energy but were under the control of some invisible intelligence. In a world where such happenings were feared and where religion labelled them as evil, these happenings soon gained the attention of neighbours and family friends. The news of these happenings spread far and wide. At times many bystanders came to marvel at the unexplained knockings and noises.
On March 31, 1848, the two sisters, Margaretta and Catherine Fox, established intelligent, two way communication with a spirit person who was responsible for producing the phenomena.
A committee of investigation was formed and communicated with the spirit who had been harassing the Fox family. The committee listened out for the response signal knocks and they established that the communicator was Charles Rosna, who had been murdered and buried beneath the cellar of the homestead. An excavation of the cellar later proved that there was indeed the remains of a body buried there.
The publicity which these events aroused and the investigations carried out at the time led to mediumship being discussed openly. The Fox family suffered scorn, ridicule and persecution but because of them, advice came from spirit people as to how to encourage spirit communication. The printing press, cheaper newspapers and books, the improved literacy amongst the people, the rail road and improved postal service meant that many learned about this new spiritual phenomena and how it could be achieved. In many homes, groups of people met and, following the advice, were successful in obtaining spirit communication for themselves. And once communication was established, the spirit people could direct the process and give specific guidance to further help the process.
It became clear that certain people were naturally Mediumistic and the
new forms of communication enabled strikingly accurate and detailed
information to be communicated. Spiritual phenomena flowed from the many
Spiritualist groups which provided, time after time, personal joyful
evidence confirming the existence of a spirit world that could
communicate with those still on earth. In just a few years many groups
of Spiritualists formed in America to seek psychic phenomena and to
consider the religious implications which lay behind the teachings received from spirit.
In time, both the phenomena and the teachings attracted the attention of eminent scientists and intellectuals in America and Britain. A Mrs Hayden brought the new knowledge to England and openly demonstrated mediumship here. She was persecuted and insulted by the press and by some in the established Christian church, however her mediumship was defended by public figures, such as Robert Owen, who embraced Spiritualism after witnessing successful spirit communications with her.
In 1853, the first Spiritualist Church was established in the Britain at Keighley in Yorkshire and the first Spiritualist newspaper, The Yorkshire Spiritual Telegraph, was published in 1855. By the 1870's there were numerous Spiritualist societies and churches throughout the country.
Today, Spiritualism allows all people to witness and learn for themselves communication with the spirit world. Before, information about such practices was banned and considered dangerous and evil. However, by the events at Hydesville, ignorance and fear concerning the spirit world is passing away and all people can benefit from the love, guidance, and wisdom from those who have gone before who are now progressing in the spirit world.