Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.
Talking to the Dead (edition 2004)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060566671, Hardcover)Is it really possible to talk with the dead? As much as modern America is familiar with mediums--think bestselling authors John Edwards and Sylvia Browne--this question still generates passionate opinions from believers and skeptics alike. So one can only imagine the stir that the Fox sisters created in 1848 when they claimed to hear a ghost rapping on the wall of their Hydesville, New York rental house bedroom. The sisters soon discovered that the ghost would tap answers to specific questions. Within days neighbors and travelers were showing up at the house, wanting to converse with the dead rapper. The Fox sisters--Maggie and Kate--went onto become a national phenomenon, holding séances and making their livings as celebrity mediums. They were also the leaders of a new movement called the spiritualists. New York-based filmmaker Barbara Weisberg assembled this fascinating and expertly recounted biography. Beyond trying to prove whether the Fox girls were legitimate, Weisberg wrote a study of how two young girls could shape a new spiritual movement in mid-1800s America. "The more I thought about the Fox sisters, the more it seemed to me not only that Kate and Maggie sparked a movement, but that their lives epitomized the conflicts and urges that helped fuel its blaze. The question of the other world aside, the girls' appeal surely stemmed in part from the ways they embodied—and intuited—their culture's anxieties and ambitions." Ironically, in not trying to prove whether these two were frauds, Weisberg has created a more satisfying human story within a rich historical context, not unlike the tactics used for the bestseller Seabiscuit. And likewise, this could and should easily translate into a dynamite major motion picture. --Gail Hudson
(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 19 Apr 2011 03:44:37 -0400)
March 1848. Mysterious knocks are heard in a little house in rural New York, throwing the community into turmoil. Are the children who live there -- Kate and Maggie Fox, sisters aged eleven and fourteen -- making the raps to trick their parents? Or are the girls mediums for otherworldly messages? From a battery of strange sounds and the excitement they create, modern Spiritualism is born. Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism follows the remarkable story of the Fox sisters, who were catapulted to fame after word spread that they communicated with spirits. Within a few years, tens of thousands of Americans were flocking to seances. An international movement developed. Yet forty years after those first knocks, the sisters shocked the country by denying that they had ever been in contact with the dead. Shortly after, in another stunning reversal, they changed their story again and reaffirmed their faith in the spirit world. Were the Fox sisters con artists who had taken a childhood prank too far? Or were they really in touch with "voices from beyond"? In this riveting biography, Barbara Weisberg traces not only the lives of Kate, Maggie, and their family -- including the girls' shrewd and charismatic sister, Leah -- but also the social, religious, economic, and political forces that helped shape the Spiritualist movement. A vivid, compelling overview of a remarkable period in U.S. history, Talking to the Dead provokes questions about belief systems, the power of celebrity, the wish to reconcile faith and science, and the timeless quest for knowledge about life after death.
(summary from another edition)
Is this you?
Become a LibraryThing Author.