1888 Death Blow to Spiritualism Fox Sisters confess

View previous topic View next topic Go down

1888 Death Blow to Spiritualism Fox Sisters confess

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:57 pm

Of course in 1888 problems arose with Katy and Maggie Fox. From an early time they both had drinking problems which although they were able to put aside for periods of time came back to haunt them. In the latter period they were also estranged from Leah Fox, who they blamed for much of their problem and for interfering in their lives. It should also be remembered that the sisters were never actively involved in the newly developing Spiritualist movement.

It appears that the following event presaged the "confession" that came next.

ONE OF THE FOX SISTERS ARRESTED.
One of the once-noted Fox sisters, Mrs. Kate Fox Jencken, was arrested yesterday, charged with neglecting her two boys, Purdy and Henry, aged 13 and 12 Years respectively. The family had a comfortable dwelling on the ground floor of the flat at 158 East Eighty-¬fourth Street. An agent of the Society tor the Prevention of Cruelty to Children visited the house yesterday and found the woman drunk and the children suffering from neglect. She has held spiritual séances in her apartments for the last two months, but from the fact that dur¬ing her sober hours she has done other work in order to make a Livelihood, it is supposed that the spiritual business proved very unremunera¬tive. She said that after Mr. Marsh had been duped by the Miss Debars, he had come to her, but on the advice of her lawyer, she had not allowed him to continue his visits. In the Harlem Police Court she was held for trial In $300 bail, and the children were sent to the Juvenile Asylum. It was In Rochester, N. Y., that the Fox sisters made their first public appearance and a reputation as Spiritualists, which enabled them to travel all over the United States and Europe. Kate married Mr. Jencken and English lawyer, and after his death took to drink.

Published: May 5, 1888 Copyright © The New York Times

Maggie was reported to be iin England at the time and sent a telegram to the Asylum using the name Edward Jencken, the brother of the deceased husband of Kate ordering their release to his custody. The boys and Kate joined Maggie in Europe from where they returned seperately, Maggie first and the "confession" began. Maggie had joined teh Catholics and as she was effectively destitute and earning little from her seances it is believed she also hoped that her expose would yield her some benefit financially.

Chicago Daily Tribune Oct 12 1888
KATY FOX WILL GIVE THE SNAP AWAY

She Declares Spiritualism a Humbug from Beginning to End - Alleged Immortalities

New York Herald, Oct.11: Katy Fox Jencken arrived yesterday from England on the Persian Monarch and she intends to cooperate with her sister - Margaretta Fox Kane - In her proposed exposition of the fraudu­lent methods of so called Spiitualism.
Mrs. Jencken's coming was unexpected to her sister and it wlll suprise the enemies of both of them.
The blow to Spiritualism which Maggie Fox struck not long ago caused a good deal more of consternation than Spiritualists generally have cared to confess. There is ample reason for stating that underneath a plausible surface of enforced calm there have been the hurried exchange of forebodings and doubtings, and many consultations and going to and fro. It is known that an overture was made to Maggie Fox suggestive of a money consideration for her silence and that she rejected it with much indignation.
Mrs. Jencken walked into the parlour where Mrs. Kane was sitting about 5 o'clock yesterday conversing with a reporter of the Herald, and the sisters at once fell on each others necks in an ecstasy of affection and delight at being together again. Mrs. Kane had only just been talking of her projected lecture on "The Curse of Spiritualism' and Mrs. Jencken who had heard nothing of the proposed expose,. except as it was casually rumored in her ear at the steamship dock, promptly gave her acquiescence to it as soon as she thoroughly understood the situation.

"I do not care a fig tor Spiritualism" she said, "except so far as the good will of its adherents may allow the future of my boys. They are all I have in this life and I live or die for them."
. Mrs. Jencken looks a far different person than when she was in deep trouble in this city and had to do with the rather unsympathetic measures of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. No matron could bear a more placid and comely expres­sion, and .she declares with heartfelt earnestness that she is now done forever with her once - besetting vice. She said yesterday that her boys were enjoying the best of health and had grown to look quite manly.
"Their uncle, Edward Jencken, is again travelling on the Continent," she added "though he returned to London while I was there. He intends putting the boys at' college in due time."
"Mrs. Jencken, are you willing to join with your Sister In exposing the true modus operandi of Spiritualism” was asked.
"I care nothing for Spiritualism itself. So far as I am concerned I am done with it. I will say this: I regard it as one of the greatest curses that the world has ever known. If I knew those powerful Spiritualists who have done their utmost to harm rne in, the past could not do so in the future I would not hesi­tate a moment to expose it. The worst of them all is my eldest Sister, Leah, the wife of Daniel Underhill. I think she was the one who caused my arrest last spring and the bringing of the preposterous charge against me that I was cruel to my children and neglectful of them. I don't know why it is. She has always been jealous of Maggie and me; I suppose because we could do things in Spiritualism that she couldn't."
"Why don't you come squarely out then with the truth and make the public your friends? You needn't have any fear of persecution if you do that." "Well, if my sister's health were only fully restored and I knew she was fully herself I would certainly join her in showing Spiritualism to be what It really is. I want to be sure of that, however. I want the thing done properly when it is done."
HUMBUG FROM BEGINNING TO END.
"Then you will not deny that what she has said of it is true?"
"No. Spiritualism is a humbug from beginning to end. It is the biggest humbug of the century. I don't know whetner she has told you this, but Maggie and I started in as little children, too young, too innocent to know just what we were about. Our sister Leah was twenty-three years older than either of us. We got started in the way of deception, and being encouraged in it we went on, of course. Others old enough to have been ashamed of the infamy took us out into the world. My sister Leah has published a book called "The Missing Link of Spiritualism". It professes to give the true history of the movement, so far as it originated with us. Now, there is nothing but falsehood in that book from beginning to end, except the fact that Horace Greeley educated me. The rest is a string of lies."
"And about the manifestations at Hydesville in 1848 and the finding of bones in the cellar and so on?"
"All humbuggery, every bit of it."
"And yet Maggie and I are the founders of Spiritualism!" concluded Mrs. Jencken.
More detailed revelations by Mrs. Jencken were deferred to another interview.
Prior to Kate's coming Mrs. Kane had outlined some of the things she intends to say in her lecture.
"I am going to expose the root of corruption in this Spiritualist ulcer," said she, "You talk about Mormonism! Do you know that there is something behind the shadowy mask of Spiritualism that the public can hardly guess at! I am stating now what I know, not because I actually participated in it, for I would never be a party to such promiscuous nastiness, but, because I have had plenty of opportunity, as you may imagine, of verifying it. Under the name of this dreadful, this horrible hypocrisy -Spiritualism- everything that is Improper, bad and Immoral is practiced. They go even so far as to have what they call 'Spiritual Children.' They pretend to something like the Immaculate Conception! Could any­\thing be more blasphemous, more disgusting, more thinly deceptive than that! In London I went in disguise to a quiet séance at the house of a wealthy man and I saw a so called materialization.' The effect was produced with the aid of luminous paper, the lustre of which was reflected upon the operator. The figure thus displayed was that of a woman - was virtually nude, being enveloped in transparent gauze, the face alone being concealed. This was one of those séances to which the privileged, non-believing friends of believing Spiritualists could have access. But there are other séances where none but the most tried and trusted are admitted, and where there are shameless goings on that vie with the secret Saturnalia of the ancient Romans, I could not describe these things to you, because I would not.
"So Daniel Underhill and old Newton say I am lying, do they! They say that I am still a medium in spite of myself, do they! Well, I will show them"; and, as the re­porter departed, volleys of hollow, sepulchral raps pursued him closely from the point .where Mrs. Kane was standing along the carpeted floor to the street exit.
The doctor invites all of the prominent mediums in the city to be present, and challenges any one of them to prove that any of the effects he produces proceeds from a spirit power. He will give any so called medium, who can produce them by spirit power the sum of $5,000, and will have with him Sunday .night a certified check to that amount which he will hand over to such medium should he or she be successful. -
Here's your chance, mediums!


A FOE TO SPIRITUALISM
Chicago Daily Tribune; Oct 10, 1888;

KATY FOX JENCKEN JOINS HER SISTER IN NEW YORK.
They Propose to Make a Crusade against It and Declare It a Humbug -

NEW YORK Oct. 9- [Special] Katy Fox Jencken arrived today from England on the Persian Monarch and she intends to cooperate with her sister - Margaretta Fox Kane - in her proposed expose of the fraudulent methods of so-called Spiritualism. .Mrs. Jencken's coming was unexpected to her sister, and it will surprise the enemies of both of them. . '
"I care nothing for Spiritualism itself" she said. "So far as I am concerned I am done with it. I will say this. I regard it as one of the greatest curses that the world has ever known. Spiritualism is a humbug from beginning to end. It is the biggest humbug of the century, I don't knew whether she has told you this, but Maggie and I started it as little children, too young, too innocent to know just what we were about. Our sister Leah was twenty-three years older than either or us. We got started in the way of deception and were encouraged in it. We went on, of course. Others old enough to have been ashamed ot the infamy took us out into the world. My sister Leah has published a book called 'The Missing Link of Spiritualism.' It professes to give the true history of the movement, so far as it originated with us. Now, there's nothing but falsehood in that book from the beginning to end, except the fact that Horace Greeley educated me, The rest is string of lies."
avatar
Admin
Admin


Back to top Go down

Re: 1888 Death Blow to Spiritualism Fox Sisters confess

Post by Admin on Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:11 pm

Obviously there are elements in the reporting which are wrong however there are some notable features of the report as given by the Sisters themselves. Leah was not 23 years older she was about 33 years older. However on top of that, as the story came out Kate and Maggie made themselves 5 years younger than they were at the time of the events. Indeed Maggie became 8 and Kate 6 and a half. The concept of how they claim the noises were made also cuts accross the examinations that had been made originally had clearly proved this was not the case (teh clicking of ankle joints).

However, Maggie went on to present her lecture on October 21 1888 at the Academy of Music New York and was followed by a book called "The Death Blow to Spiritualism" written by a professional auther Reuben Briggs Davenport stated as authorised by the Sisters. After the first lecture both sisters travelled for a while holding meetings denouncing Spiritualism. However, one year later Maggie renounced her confession, shortly after that Kate is recorded as having given Mediumistic messages to friends of hers. It was a sad installment in their difficult lives, just prior to Leah's death on Nov 1st 1890.

Cheers

Jim
avatar
Admin
Admin


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum