Who Were the Fox Sisters?

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Hydesville House

Who Were the Fox Sisters?

The Fox Sisters are sometimes called the originators of Spiritualism in the United States. Here are some facts about the sisters and a quick overview of their lives.

  • Sisters were born in Canada. Family relocated to New York.
  • Margaretta “Maggie” was 14 and Catherine “Kate” was 11 when they began to perform in Hydesville, New York.
  • A rumor started that the sisters were aided by a murdered peddler. This story was never substantiated.
  • On April Fool’s Eve (March 31) in 1848, the sisters performed their unique abilities to a local 33-year-old neighbor. Their mother, Margaret, led the demonstration.
  • Maggie and Kate relocated to Rochester, New York to live with their older sister, Ann Leah Fox Fish.
  • Isaac and Amy Post rented the large public hall for the Fox Sister’s first public demonstration. Four hundred people attended the November 14, 1849 event.
  • Leah joined Maggie and Kate in the performances.
  • The sisters debuted in New York City at Barnum’s Hotel, located at Broadway and Maiden Lane. The hotel was owned by a cousin of P.T. Barnum.
  • Scientific American labeled the sisters “Spiritual Knocker from Rochester.”
  • A big toe demonstration brought their careers to an end. On October 21, 1888, Maggie was paid $1,500 to denounce their abilities. At the New York Academy of Music, she did indeed denounce; however, it was done to embarrass Leah, who was highly critical of Kate’s drinking.
  • Maggie and Kate began with apple dropping to create the knocks. Later, they were able to manipulate their body parts to make noises.
  • Leah died November 1, 1890 at the age of 77.
  • Kate died July 2, 1892 at the age of 55.
  • Maggie died March 8, 1893 at the age of 59.
  • Kate and Maggie are buried together in the Cypress Hills Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.
  • In 1904, schoolchildren playing in their Hydesville home discovered bones in the walls. The house was known as the “spook house” by then.
  • In 1909, the bones were ruled a probable hoax.

 

Learn more about phony psychics at Dragon Con 2019!

Update and Clarification: I believe they had psychics gifts, but those gifts were either exploited by others or used for fraudulent gain. Look for my follow-up blog addressing these theories.

Infamous LaBianca House Under Contract

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Slide1

Infamous LaBianca House Under Contract

Ghost Adventures’ front man Zak Bagans has placed a contract on the infamous LaBianca House, located in Los Feliz, California. Bagans offered close to the $1.98 million dollar asking price. The 2 bedroom/1 ½ bath house was made famous in 1969 when members of the Manson Family slaughtered the then owners.

The Spanish-style home was built in 1920. In 1940, Antonio LaBianca purchased the home and raised his family there. After his death, his son, Leno (a grocery store owner), purchased the home in 1968. Leno and his 2nd wife, Rosemary, moved into the home. However, they never felt comfortable living there. The home was broken into several times prior to their murder.

leno-labianca-and-rosemary-labianca

On August 10, 1969, Leno and Rosemary were stabbed to death under the direct instructions from Charles Manson, who entered the home and supervised the couple’s restraints. Manson sent in other family members to carry out the vicious murder. All responsible received commuted life sentences.

The 1,655 square foot home is a favorite stop for thrill seekers and dark tourism fans. The original address of 3301 Waverly Drive was later changed to 3311 Waverly Drive. The footprint of the home remains today with little being changed. Last sold in 1998, the home was on the market for three weeks. Bagans is expected to close on the sale within the month.

Centralia: America’s Man-made Ghost Town

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America’s Man-made Ghost Town: Centralia, PA

Centralia is a modern-day ghost town created by man.

Centralia, PA was an ordinary town with a steady population of a thousand or so residents. Centrally located within the state, Centralia was a coal mining town. In 1962, local volunteer firefighters sought to clean up the town’s landfill and set it on fire. The fire was never extinguished and went subterranean. In 1972, then-mayor Jim Coddington, owner of the local gas station, recorded elevated temperatures in his gasoline tanks. It wasn’t until 1981, when 12-year-old Todd Domboski fell into a sinkhole, that the government took notice. By then roads were cracking with hot steam floating up.

Congress allocated $42 million to relocate the town. All but a handful of residents left. In 1992, the US government proclaimed eminent domain and reclaimed the land. After demolishing the houses and buildings, the government let nature take over. Today, only 5 residents remain. However, the town is a popular “Dark Travel” destination. Please remain vigilant and respect the land if visiting.

Death in the Digital Age

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Nat+Geo+Mashup

Death in the Digital Age

Cemetery historian, Katie Thornton, launches her podcast, Death in the Digital Age or DitDA, in 2020 where she explores how the dead will be memorialized through digital documentation and eventual land restraints. Thornton produced an episode on 99% Invisible in June highlighting how Singapore shifted from a cemetery/graveyard dominated nation cremating only 10% of the Chinese population to where 80% of corpses are now cremated and housed in elaborate, though condensed, columbariums. As Thornton ponders how nations will deal with corpses, so should we.

Singapore is an island city-state of roughly 5.6 million people. The tiny nation was decimated by the Japanese in World War II. Families lived in overcrowded make-shift structures that lacked modern amenities. The government stepped in and created the Housing and Development Board, or HDB, to create a solution. Within 5 years, the HDB oversaw the relocation of 400,000 people. The solution? Very tall apartment buildings—some 50 stories high. Now, the 3rd richest nation in the world houses 80% of its citizens in these nondescript cement high rise buildings.

Unfortunately, in order to build these buildings, the government had to reclaim the land used for cemeteries. Established in 1870, the Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng, or Peck San Theng, became one of the largest cemeteries in Singapore. It housed 100,000 graves on 324 acres of land. The cemetery became a town where merchants in the trades of death lived amongst the dead. Nearly 2,000 people lived within the cemetery on prized land. Land that the government wanted for redevelopment.

By 1974, the Singapore government realized that housing was more important than cemeteries. Cremations were encouraged. In 1978, the residents, living and dead, of Peck San Theng were told they had 4 years to move out. The dead were dug up—yes, raised from the dead, and either claimed by family who relocated the deceased or cremated them or, for those unclaimed, the government cremated and held a mass spreading of the ashes ceremony in their honor. The land was quickly redeveloped.

Of the 324 acres, 8 acres were reserved for a new building, a columbarium, a structure to house cremated remains. And there were a lot of urns to house. Designed by Tay Kheng Soon, the Peck San Theng columbarium opened in 1986. The structure is multi-tiered with urns in bookcases from floor to ceiling. Actually, the building looks like a modern condominium—minimalistic and tranquil.

Interestingly, as the newly branded Bishan Park development opened, ghost stories began to circulate. Stories of a woman waiting for a train who removed her head once seated spread through the development along with other spooky tales. Many who had such sightings or retold these tales were unaware that the land was once a massive cemetery.

Singaporeans realized that in order to remain sustainable, the people needed to change their burial practices. They simply ran out of land. But what about larger countries? How will we alter our burial practices? We have plenty of land (for now); however, we’re increasingly mobile. A lot of us don’t live where we grew up or where our ancestors are buried. How will we memorialize our ancestors in a digital age? I look forward to listening.

In the meantime, visit 99% Invisible’s “Life and Death in Singapore,” https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/singapore/ and view Thornton’s website, http://www.itskatiethornton.com/deathinthedigitalage, Death in the Digital Age.

Children of Dave

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Girl

David Jessup’s “children” are showcased at Curiosities in Lakewood, in Dallas, Texas. Read up on David’s creations and consider adopting.

https://www.hauntjaunts.net/children-of-dave/

View David’s social media accounts:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/childrenofdave/

http://david-jessup.squarespace.com/

Summer Recipe: Frozen Charlotte

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Summer Recipe: Frozen Charlotte

The porcelain miniature dolls made predominately in Germany in the 1850s were meant to be bath toys. The stiff dolls became popular in America. American writer Seba Smith (1792-1868) penned the poem “A Corpse Going to a Ball” about a vain young woman named “Charlotte” who refused to bundle up on the 20-mile horse ride to a New Year’s ball. Her date, aptly named Charlie, found her frozen to death. Smith’s inspiration supposedly came from an article he read in a newspaper. Although the dolls were only popular from the 1850-1920s, they’re having a resurgence of sorts. Collectors can purchase online with several Etsy venders claiming to have dolls long buried from abandoned doll factories. (I’ll keep you posted on the two I purchased)

During Charlotte’s popularity, French chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833) created a decadent dessert while working in King George IV’s Court. His first creation was called the “Apple Charlotte,” named for the King’s daughter, Princess Charlotte. When Carême went to work for Czar Alexander I, he created the “Charlotte Russe,” translated as “Russian Charlotte.” For this creation, Carême made a thick custard circled by ladyfinger cookies. Per legend, he was inspired by the “Charlotte” hat and his love for London. The “Chantilly Charlotte” is flavored with violet.

The modern “Charlotte Russe” means a “dish of custard.” It can be a trifle served hot or cold; a cake, bread, or cookies lined with custard; or an ice box cake. For the hot summer, one should consider making a “Frozen Charlotte.”

For this recipe, follow these directions:

  1. Line a springform pan with ladyfingers, including bottom.
  2. Chill.
  3. Make a frozen mouse or use soft ice cream.
  4. Spoon into the pan.
  5. Freeze overnight.

The original recipe calls for a Bavarian custard; however, the custard is not recommended as it will not freeze. You could make the tradition Bavarian custard cake and merely chill for a cool, refreshing dessert. Enjoy!

Twin Orbs Filmed Over Kansas City

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Weather

Twin Orbs Filmed Over Kansas City

Clint Banning filmed 2 and half minutes of twin white orbs floating in the sky. The large balloons were incredibly high in the sky. Banning published the video on June 20.

View here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExfefIOyd2E

The Weather Channel edited the video and added comments and observations: https://weather.com/news/trending/video/strange-sighting-over-kansas-city-sets-off-wave-of-speculation

The sincerity in Banning’s voice and the running commentary from his friends and neighbors add to the video viewing experience.

Although the US government has not commented, there’s most likely a reason for the balloons. Some YouTube users hoped for faster rural Internet connections. The balloons are probably collecting data on weather and not of the extraterrestrial kind. However, the experience seemed positive for Banning and his guests.