[http://www.spiritualismlink.com/t311-1849-the-corinthian-hall-investigations-of-the-fox-sisters]1849 The Corinthian Hall Investigations of TheFox Sistersby Admin on Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:39 pmI am preparing a write up of these early events, which resulted from the first publicdemonstration of Mediumship in the Corinthian Hall Rochester NY State, usingcontemporary reports by Capron and Barron and Samuel Britten both written in1850. The Capron and Barron report is explicit about the fact that this was between14th and 17th November 1849 and Newspaper reports support this. UnfortunatelyBritten, talking in November 1850, refers to two years ago and then Leah FoxsMissing Link was written and in this the 1848 date is quoted. This is another of themajor problems that Leah has created for us both in the information she gaveRobert Dale Owen in 1859 and in this book. Quite creatively in the Missing Link shealso adds a story of levitating tables of food to the events, very romantic, but whichhas no foundation in any record of the time. You will find the romanticism of thelevitating dinner tables and another of Leahs probable creations Mr Splitfoot quotedalmost universally in all subsequent versions of the start of Spiritualism. It is rathersad that such a clear error feeds into our own record of a philosophy based upontruth.Rochester library did not help, as I believe that around the August of 2008 they hada display stating the first demonstration was in 1848. Unfortunately their 1941almanac, produced by the Rochester Historical Society, showed that incorrect date,indeed the same almanac has a further entry back in June which highlights theerror. This entry shows that Corinthian Hall was not opened until June 1849. Asubsequent document by the History Society in 1959 about famous people ofRochester notes under an entry for Maggie Fox the correct date of November 1849.Below I quote the two source documents involved. Later on I will put up thecomplete contemporary reports given the importance of this event to Spiritualism.ROCHESTER HISTORYEdited by DEXTER PERKINS, City Historian and BLAKE McKELVEY, Assistant City
HistorianVOL. IIINo.1JANUARY, 1941EARLY ALMANACS OF ROCHESTERBy BLAKE McKELVEYAlmanacs were already many centuries old when first they came to Rochester, andyet so sensitive was their adaptability that they quickly took on the spirit andcharacter of the Genesee Country. Brought as they were at first by the severalstreams of settlers who converged in this valley, the first local almanacs inheritedsomething of the character of many of their earlier American predecessors; butwithin three decades following the appearance of its first almanac in 1820,Rochester was to make some noteworthy contributions in this field.ROCHESTER HISTORY, published quarterly by the Rochester Public Library, dis-tributed free at the Library, by mail 25 cents per year. Address correspondence tothe City Historian, Rochester Public Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester, N. Y.The Historical ALMANAC of Rochester: 1941Being the 124th year since the Incorporation of Rochesterville.Containing many Historical Calculations by Harriett Julia Naylor, Philom., and SoberGleanings from our Predecessors. Published by the City Historian Rochester, NewYorkJune-Dont neglect the first crop of hay.1 (1846) First press dispatch received by telegraph.2 (1834) First city election.3 (1919) First Community Chest Drive.4 (1920) Section of Erie Canal through city formally abandoned.5 (1817) First local Masonic Lodge formed.6 (1920) First three boats arrive in new Barge Canal harbor.7 (1825) Lafayette visits Rochester.8 (1884) Semi-centennial celebration begins.9 (1834) First mayor, Jonathan Child, elected by Common Council.10 (1919) First chapter Gold Star Mothers of America formed here.11. "If you are anticipating the pleasure of supping on good Indian12. puddings by and by, you must look well to your cornfields."13 (1910) Lase professional appearance here of Buffalo Bill.14 (1902) Dedication of Spanish trophy gun in Highland Park.
15 (1841) First Board of Education elected.16 (1896) David Jayne Hill resigns as President of the University tobecome Assistant Secretary of State.17 (1935) Cornerstone of Rundel Memorial Building laid.18 (1873) Susan B. Anthony convicted of illegal voting.(note no19 never appeared)20 (1850) Second Court House begun.21 (1844) Concert by Ole Bull, Norwegian violinist.22 (1933) City Normal School graduates last class.23 (1925) City Manager Charter submitted to Common Council.24 (1895) General strike of buttonhole makers.25 (1934) City flag adopted by ordinance.26 (1893) Spanish caravels here on way to Chicago Exposition.27 (1896) Third Court House opened.28 (1849) Corinthian Hall opened.29 (1896) Twenty thousand attend bicycle festival at Driving Park.30 (1852) First train from Rochester to Niagara Falls.November-For the lands sake!1 (1935) Earthquake shock felt here.2 (1896) City sees its first moving picture.3 (1925) City Manager Charter adopted by referendum.4 (1841) Auburn and Rochester Railroad opened.5 (1872) Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women vote in 8th Ward.6 (1829) Sam Patch successfully jumps over Falls.7 (1918) False armistice celebrated.8 (1803) Mill lot purchased by Rochester, Fitzhugh, and Carroll.9 (1825) First dramatic performance in Exchange Street "Circus."10 "Prepare for winter, lest it come upon you like a thief in the night."11 (1918) City Hail bell rings out armistice news at 4 A. M.12 (1789) Supposed date of raising of Indian Allens grist mill.13 (1829) Sam Patchs fatal jump.14 (1848) Fox sisters demonstrate "rappings" at Corinthian Hall15 (1935) Alan Valentme inscalIed as presIdent of Umverslty.16 (1891) Relay bicycle race from Rochester to Buffalo.17 (1887) Compulsory education discussed at meeting here.18 (1925) Brick Church celebrates centennial.19 (1812) Abelard Reynolds appointed first postmaster.20 (1811) First lot in 100.Jcre tract sold to Enos Stone for $50.
21 (1886) Telephone subscribers refuse to use phones in protestagainst increased rates.22 (1921) Subway construction authorized by Council.23 (1885) Mechanics Institute opened.24 (1848) Whigs celebrate victory with great "illumination."25 (1940) Fire destroys three buildings on Main Street Bridge.26 (1868) Demonstration of plowing by steam.27 (1901) Annual Thanksgiving dinner for newsboys and bootblacks.28 (1908) Germans unveil statue of Schiller in Anderson Park.29 (1894) Rochester beats Hobart in Thanksgiving Day game here.30 (1866) First annual "donation" at City Hospital.ROCHESTER HISTORY, Edited by BLAKE McKELVEY, City HistorianVOL. XXI, JULY, 1959, No.3Some Former Rochesterians of National DistinctionBy MERYL FRANK and BLAKE McKELVEYA recent request for a list of Rochester women whose careers merit recognition in aprojected Biographical Dictionary of American Women prompts a fresh review of thefield. At least a dozen women and over one hundred men, who were identified moreor less closely with this city, appear in the Dictionary of American Biography or inthe National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Whos Who in America included 38from Rochester in its first issue in 1899-1900 and increased that figure to 120 by1934-1935 and to 152 in 1952. Most of the last are still with us, and some of theothers were so briefly resident in the city that it is scarcely appropriate to claimthem as Rochesterians. But in this State Year of History it may prove of interest toassemble an alphabetical list of former residents who did major work here or whoacquired their distinctive character and inspiration in this city.We will not presume to include all of those born in Rochester, nor those educated inits institutions, unless their ties to the city had a longer duration. Thus we excludeRochesterborn Henry H. Haight who left with his parents at an early age andeventually became Governor of California. We can only mention in passing Carl E.Akeley, William T. HornadayROCHESTER HISfORY, published quarterly by the Rochester Public Library, dis-tributed free at the Library, by mail 25 cents per year. Address correspondence tothe City Historian, Rochester Public Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester 4, N. Y."Eastman, George (1854-1932). Inventor-industrialist, George Eastman pioneeredin the development of photographic film and cameras. Born in Waterville, N. Y., hecame to Rochester as a lad with his parents and attended its public schools. Forced
by the death of his father to seek a job, he acquired a keen appreciation of thevalue of money and quickly saw the commercial possibilities in his photographichobby. His success in perfecting a practicable "dry plate" led to patents on its for-mula, on a coating machine, on a Kodak and progressively on a flexible film for stilland motion and color pictures. The vigorous leadership he gave to the developmentof his company prepared him for similar service in educational and other com-munity fields. His philanthropy began with the support of schools of practicaltechnology and expanded rapidly after 1910 to include hospitals and dental clinics,musical instruction and performance, and finally all the liberal and fine arts of arounded university. Always interested in efficiency, he helped to establish bureausand research centers to promote high civic and economic standards."Fox, Margaret (1833-1893). The Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate, became thefounders of modern spiritualism. Born in Canada the girls heard their strangerappings in Hydesville, N. Y. An elder sister, Leah, brought Kate to her home inRochester where the demand for a public demonstration led to a series of crowdedsessions in Corinthian Hall in November 1849 which baffled local critics. Thefame of the "Rochester Rappings" spread, and Leah took the girls to New York,where they began seances. Although Margaret confessed forty years later to thetrickery by which the rappings were obtained, she soon retracted her confession.Most of her followers rejected any material explanation and made the supposedcontact with the spirits of deceased friends the basis for the development ofmodern spiritualism. [See Marian B. Pond, Time is Kind (1947)•] Admin Admin • • • • • • •
Re: 1849 The Corinthian Hall Investigationsof The Fox Sisters by Admin on Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:14pmHere is the extract from Capron & Barrons 1850 BookletCapron & Barrron 1850 Investigation Corinthian HallCHAPTER VI.THE PUBLIC INVESTIGATION AT CORINTHIAN HALL IN THE CITY OfROCHESTER.BEFORE speaking of the strange phenomenon, thought by some to be muchstranger than the "rapping" or the intelligence manifested through themedium; we give an account of the public investigations which were goneinto in the city of Rochester in the month of November, 1849.The first intimation that was received in regard to those investigations camefrom these sounds, through the use of the alphabet. Several persons werein company, trying, as usual, to gain some information in regard to the lawwhich governs this strange communication. While they were thusinvestigating, the following was spelled out by the use of the alphabet, itbeing part of the message or directions for those present to follow. "You allhave a duty to perform. We want you to make this matter more public." Asthis announcement was altogether unexpected, the persons began todiscuss the difficulties, and remarked that the opposition and ridicule, thatwould be heaped upon anyone who should attempt to lecture on thissubject, would be almost overwhelming. The answer to this was, "That willbe so much the better - your triumph will be the greater."After receiving the most positive assurances from this invisiblecommunicator, that the sounds should be heard in all parts of the Hall inresponse to the person who should lecture - that it was best, in order thatslanders might be silenced, and the truth established, to gop46 .forward in the matter - the persons who were designated concluded tomake the attempt. It was also intimated, from the same source, that this
would prepare the way for a more general development of spiritualcommunication, which would take place at no distant day.Probably the best idea of the proceedings at Rochester can be conveyed tothe reader by the following brief statement drawn up and published directlyafter the investigations took place, in the New York Weekly Tribune of Dec.8th, 1849."Some two weeks since, we were in company with some persons who weregetting communications from this invisible communicator when a messagewas spelled out to us to the Import that the matter should be made morepublic- that the time had arrived for the people to investigate the wholeaffair - that it was a thing which will ultimately become known to all men,and that we should immediately take measures to have it investigated. Thedirections were then minutely given by these spirits, as they purport to be,and which we are willing to believe are, until we have as much proof to thecontrary as it required to bring us to that conclusion. These directions willappear in the following history, as they were fully and strictly followed. Thegreat object was to start investigation and clear those who had beenhearing of it for the last two years from the imputation of fraud anddeception.Accordingly on the evening of November 14, a lecture was delivered inCorinthian Hall in the City of Rochester, and a full history of the rise andprogress of these manifestations given. During the relation of these factsthe sounds were distinctly heard by the persons in the Hall.After the lecture, a Committee was chosen by the audience, composed ofthe following persons--A. J. COMBS, DANIEL MARSH, NATHANIEL CLARK,ESQ., A. JUDSON AND EDWIN JONES.On the following evening the Committee reported in substance, as follows:That without the knowledge of the persons in whose presence themanifestations are made, the Committee selected the Hall of the Sons ofTemperance for investigation - that the sound on the floor near where thetwo ladies stood was heard as distinctly as at other places, and that part ofthe committee heard the rapping on the wall behind them-that a number ofquestions were asked which were answered, not altogether right noraltogether wrong -that in the afternoon they went to the house of a privatecitizen, and while there the sounds were heard on the outside (apparently)of the front door, after they had entered, and on the door of a closet. Byplacing the hand upon the door, there was a sensible jar felt when therapping was heard. One of the Committee placed one of his hands upon thefeet of the ladies and the other on the floor, and though the feet were not
moved, there was a distinct jar on the floor. On the pavement and on theground the same sound was heard:-a kind of double rap, as a stroke and arebound, were distinguishable. When the ladies were separated at adistance no sound was heard; but when a third person was interposed be-tween them the sounds were heard. The ladies seemed to give everyopportunity to the Committee to investigate the cause fully, and wouldsubmit to a thorough investigation by a committee of ladies if desired. Theyall agreed that the sounds were heard, but they entirely failed to discoverany means by which it could be done.p47After this report and some discussion on the subject, the audience selectedanother Committee composed of the following persons-Doctor H. HLANGWORTHY, Hon. FREDERICK WHITTLESEY, D. C. Mc CALLUM, WILLIAMFISHER, of Rochester, and Hon. A. P. HASCALL, of Le Roy. At the nextlecture this Committee reported that they went into the investigation at theoffice of Chancellor Whittlesey, and they heard the sound on the floor. onthe wall, and door,- that the ladies were placed in different positions and,like the other Committee, they were wholly unable to tell from what thesound proceeded or how it was made, that Dr. Langworthy madeobservations with a stethoscope to ascertain whether there was anymovement with the lungs, and found not the least difference when thesounds were made; and there was no kind of probability or possibility oftheir being made by ventriloquism as some had supposed - and they couldnot have been made by machinery.This Committee was composed of Dr. E. P. LANGWORTHY, Dr. J. GATES,Wm. FITZHUGH, Esq., W. L. BURTIS, and L. KENYON. This committee metat the rooms of Dr. Gates at the Rochester House, and appointed acommittee of Ladies who took the young women into a room, disrobedthem and examined their persons and clothing to be sure there was nofixtures about them that could produce the sounds. When satisfied on thispoint the Committee of Ladies tried some other experiments, and gave theyoung ladies the following certificate: “When they were standing on pillowswith a handkerchief tied around the bottom of their dresses, tight to theankles we all heard the rapping on the wall and floor distinctly.”(Signed.) :MRS. STONE, MRS. J. GATES,MISS M. P. LAWRENCE.In the evening the Committee, through their Chairman, Dr. Langworthy,made a very full report of their examinations during the day. They reported
they excluded all friends of the two ladies from the committee room andhad the examination only in presence of the Committee of Gentlemen, andLadies chosen by them. Notwithstanding all this precaution, these soundswere heard when the ladies stood on large feather pillows, without shoes,and in other various positions, both on the floor and on the wall, - that anumber of questions were asked which, when answered, were generallycorrect. Each member of the Committee reported separately agreeing withand corroborating the first statements.Thus, by three days of the strictest scrutiny, by means of intelligence,candor and science, were the persons in whose presence these sounds areheard, acquitted of all fraud.On Friday evening, after the lecture, three of the Committee, viz: Hon. A. P.HASCALL, D. C. MCCALLUM, and WILLIAM FISHER, repaired to the house ofa citizen and pursued their investigations still farther. There were nearly ascore of persons present. The members of the Committee wrote manyquestions on paper, which no person present knew the purport of, and theywere answered correctly. At times they would ask mentally and wouldreceive the answers with equal correctness and they were fully satisfiedthat there was something present manifesting intelligence beyond thepersons visible. .One of the Committees tried the experiment of standing the ladies on glassand failed to get any sounds; but the same was subsequently tried inpresence of a large number of persons, and the sounds were as loud anddistinct as before, on the floor as usual.Such are the facts so far as public proceedings are concerned, which isP48but a small part of these strange occurrences with the Committees reportgreatly condensed.Thus the matter stands at present, and whether it is a remarkablephenomenon which will pass away with the present generation, or with thepersons who seem now to be the medium of this extraordinarycommunication; or whether it be the commencement of a new era ofspiritual influx into the world; it is something worthy of the attention ofmen of candor and philosophy.E. W. CAPRON, Auburn. GEORGE WILLETS, Rochester,"Rochester, Nov. 22, 1849.As one of us was present and acquainted with all the circumstances we willmake some further statements in regard to the events that transpiredduring the week of the investigation.
Each of the committee, after the report of their chairman; were called uponto make a report individually and what is unusual where any doubtfulmatter is under consideration, every individual agreed to all that ispublished in the above extract.Some individuals of the committee made more minute reports of questionsand answers and other circumstances that came under their observationduring these examinations.One member of the first committee stated that he asked the question."Who is it that wishes to communicate with me" The answer was, "your wifewill talk." He evaded the answer, and gave the persons present tounderstand that he never had a wife. To use his own expression when hegave his public report, he "brow beat it down." He would not admit therewas any truth in it until he reported in the evening - then he stated itcorrectly - he had lost his wife sometime before.The committee were composed, of men who, on any other subject, wouldbe trusted to investigate where life or property were at stake. We doubt ifany citizen of Monroe county would refuse to submit to the justness of hiscause even were he tried for life or limb, to such men as those whocomposed the committees during the three days they were engaged intrying every mode to ferret out the cause of these sounds, and yet manyp49persons persist in denouncing those who even go to hear for themselves asfools or knaves! We insist upon it, that those who were present atCorinthian Hall, and had a voice in the appointment of those committees,selected from the best and most reliable men of the city of Rochester,should of all men be the last to cry humbug or collusion. They must beaware that in doing this they impeach their committees, and indirectlyaccuse them of being ignoramuses and incapable of impartial investigation,or of being accessory to one of the most successful, widespread and longcontinued impositions ever palmed off on this or any other community.When we take into consideration the facts that this matter has now beenspreading for two years - that every means have been tried in privatecircles, and committees appointed by public meetings - that all have failedto discover any thing like collusion - we may safely assert that in regard tothe sounds merely -- the following facts are established beyond dispute,viz: That the sounds are heard in various places and at various times - thatthose sounds are not made by, or under the control of any person orpersons, although manifested in the presence of particular persons; andthat they evince a remarkable degree of intelligence. These facts, among
those who have carefully investigated are no longer disputed.