Out of the Mouths of Babes
The setting is Hydesville, New York, 1848. Strange rapping noises are heard in the bedroom of sisters Maggie and Katie Fox. The girls claim the noises are from the spirit of a murdered peddler.
Before long, the young girls mastered communicating with other spirits and toured the country holding private sťances. The girls spoke to spirits by rapping and knocking. Doctors could find no medical explanation for their gift. The Fox sisters enjoyed a long career, made a hefty fortune and spawned the Spiritualist movement.
On October 21, 1888, Margaret Fox Kane confessed it had all been a hoax. She snapped her toes on a thin plank and also cracked her toe joints to demonstrate how the noises were made. This admission did little to sway true believers. The Evening Post reported, "Mrs. Kane now locates the origin of Modern Spiritualism in her great toe."