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Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism

 

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A fascinating story of spirits and conjurors, skeptics and converts in the second half of nineteenth century America viewed through the lives of Kate and Maggie Fox, the sisters whose purported communication with the dead gave rise to the Spiritualism movement – and whose recanting forty years later is still shrouded in mystery.

In March of 1848, Kate and Maggie Fox – sisters aged 11 and 14 – anxiously reported to a neighbor that they had been hearing strange, unidentified sounds in their house. From a sequence of knocks and rattles translated by the young girls as a “voice from beyond,” the Modern Spiritualism movement was born.

Talking to the Dead follows the fascinating story of the two girls who were catapulted into an odd limelight after communicating with spirits that March night. Within a few years, tens of thousands of Americans were flocking to seances. An international movement followed. Yet thirty years after those first knocks, the sisters shocked the country by denying they had ever contacted spirits. Shortly after, the sisters once again changed their story and reaffirmed their belief in the spirit world. Weisberg traces not only the lives of the Fox sisters and their family (including their mysterious Svengali-like sister Leah) but also the social, religious, economic and political climates that provided the breeding ground for the movement. While this is a thorough, compelling overview of a potent time in US history, it is also an incredible ghost story.

An entertaining read – a story of spirits and conjurors, skeptics and converts – Talking to the Dead is full of emotion and surprise. Yet it will also provoke questions that were being asked in the 19th century, and are still being asked today – how do we know what we know, and how secure are we in our knowledge?

The Oxford Book Of English Ghost Stories

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The thrill and chill of the ghost story is displayed in all its variety and vitality through this marvelous anthology. Ranging from the early 19th century to the 1960s, the collection reveals the development of the genre, and showcases many of its greatest expositors – from Sir Walter Scott, H.G. Wells, M. R. James, T.H. White, Walter de la Mare, and Elizabeth Bowen in the UK to Edith Wharton in America. Though its heyday coincided with the golden age of Empire in the nineteenth century, the ghost story enjoyed a second flowering between the two World Wars and its popularity is as great as ever.

The Oxford Book of Victorian Ghost Stories

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The Victorians excelled at telling ghost stories. In an age of rapid scientific progress, the idea of a vindictive past able to reach out and violate the present held a special potential for terror. Throughout the nineteenth century, fictional ghost stories developed in parallel with the more general Victorian fascination with death and what lay beyond it. Though they were as much a part of the cultural and literary fabric of the age as imperial confidence, the best of the stories still retain their original power to surprise and unsettle.

In Victorian Ghost Stories, the editors map out the development of the ghost story from 1850 to the early years of the twentieth century and demonstrate the importance of this form of short fiction in Victorian popular culture. As well as reprinting stories by supernatural specialists such as J. S. Le Fanu and M. R. James, this selection emphasizes the key role played by women writers–including Elizabeth Gaskell, Rhoda Broughton, and Charlotte Riddell–and offers one or two genuine rarities. Other writers represented include Charles Dickens, Henry James, Wilkie Collins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and R. L. Stevenson. There is also a fascinating Introduction and a chronological list of ghost story collections from 1850 to 1910.

 

When the Ghost Screams: True Stories of Victims Who Haunt  4.0 out of 5 stars

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To be honset with you all I never liked this Authors stories to much.  Some where saying that title is missleading ! I havent read it . .if someone does please post your comment !

 

 

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