The Importance and Irrelevance of the Hydesville RappingsMohamed Bedawy
The “Hydesville Rappings” are the series of events in 1848 that catapulted the popularity of the Fox sisters named Leah, Margaret, and Kate. This is because it attracted widespread attention from the people in their community. This later drew the interest of the media which turned them into an international sensation. Their widespread fame caught the notice of spiritualists like the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the debunker Harry Houdini.
Many spiritualists attribute the development of modern spiritualism with the events that unfolded in the “Hydesville Rappings”, which involved the Fox sisters. For modern spiritualists, the activities of these sisters proved that spirits do exist and that communication with the spirit world is possible with the presence of a worthy medium.
People, especially spiritualists, were quick to believe that the “rappings” were works of spirits because of the mystery that shrouded the events. Even though the performances of the sisters were held in public view, the main sensory systems of an ordinary person cannot fully explain them. Even scientists during that time cannot fully provide an exact reason for the phenomena. This lack of plausible explanation led to the conclusion that the events were paranormal in nature.
The claims of spiritualists were also evidenced by the fact that the response of the said spirits to the questions and issues raised by the sisters were correct and intelligent in nature. The answers of the said spirits were verified when it led to the discovery of human remains in the cellar of the Fox residence.
As time went by, a rift among the sisters developed that led to the truth behind the so-called paranormal events. Their individual confessions later provided a plausible explanation of their extraordinary talent. According to them, the “rappings” were not works of spirits, rather it was a product of their unique ability to develop noises using parts of their bodies such as their toes and fingers, and by utilizing a noise-producing apparatus hidden within their long dresses. The exposure of the “Hydesville Rappings” as a hoax eventually diminished its importance in history and it clouded the claims of spiritualists. On the other hand, the set of bones found in the cellar was proved to be from different sources not from a single person.
The “Hydesville Rappings” are still considered by some as works of spirits. They refuse to accept the confession of the sisters as they suspect that these are only due to the influence of the people around them especially the press. This belief was fueled by the revocation of Margaret’s confession in the latter part of her life before her death. However, many consider these events as no longer important because they have been exposed as a hoax.