excerpt from A Fox Family History by Kevin A. Fox:
The Fox Sisters and the Birth of Spiritualism
There seems to be in the Fox family a strength and peculiar ability … an innate something which attracts and inspires.
—Mariam Buckner Pond, 1947
My children grew up in Fredonia, New York, just five miles north of Lily Dale Assembly, which bills itself as “The World’s Largest Center for the Science, Philosophy and Religion of Spiritualism.” During the summer months it is the largest community of “spiritualists” in the US. The Fox sisters of Hydesville, New York are still celebrated worldwide as key figures in establishing the Spiritualism movement in the US and Europe in the mid-nineteenth century (Putnam, 2003). They are still spoken of reverently in Lily Dale, where one can see various monuments to their work—the Lily Dale Museum is filled with documents and relics relating to their lives. While I remain a curious skeptic, my daughters and their friends have more directly investigated the possibility of communication with spirits by having occasional “readings” by resident “mediums.” When they tell me the results of their readings I am often at a loss to explain how the “counselors” come by the information they seem to possess. If you travel to Western New York, I urge you to schedule a personal reading with any of the celebrated “mediums” at Lily Dale and make your own determination.