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.
Private Investigator Bob Nygaard will be appearing at DragonCon over the Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. Nygaard will be discussing several phony “psychics” he helped identify and locate for prosecution.
For more information and ticket information, view https://www.dragoncon.org/.
Uncle Sam Wants Bigfoot Trackers?
Last week, news broke about Keith Barnes, a 46-year-old Arkansas man, who liked to dress up and pretend to work for the federal government. More precisely: Barnes claimed he was a “Bigfoot Tracker” for the Department of the Interior. Yes, Barnes claimed that the US government employed him as a Cryptozoologist. While he was under investigation for impersonating a federal employee, Barnes was arrested for possessing child pornography. It is unclear if the investigation as to his impersonating a federal employee continues and if the charges would be rolled into the criminal charges. Barnes’ next court appearance is scheduled for June 18, 2018.
No, the US Department of the Interior does not employ cryptozoologists. Although an interesting and ever-changing job, the position does not exist. However, should one exist, what would the job posting look like?
A Cryptozoologist is a person who studies the existence of “disputed or unsubstantiated species.” The most common are called Bigfoot, Yeti, and Sasquatch. Although a science-based college degree is not required, it is strongly encouraged that the person know about animal life. Further, by definition, it is implied that the Cryptozoologist be a “Zoologist,” someone who has an undergraduate degree in animal biology.
A “Bigfoot Tracker” is a person who tracks Bigfoot. No college degree or experience needed.
Ideally, the job would fall under the purview of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A “Bigfoot Tracker” would probably apply for a Park Ranger position or any of the Biologist jobs. Both positions require an undergraduate degree or relevant work experience in lieu of a degree.
Extensive travel would be involved. Due to the large size of the nation and the varying reports, prospective applicants would need to travel. A lot. Outside organizations are better equipped to handle such reports. They have the infrastructure and network in place to maximize personnel. The US government does not.
The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) claims to be the largest virtual community of researchers, scientists, journalists, and enthusiasts. Founded in 1995, the organization’s mission is to explore the “bigfoot/sasquatch mystery” using scientific means. Membership is by invitation-only. The organization is most known for its connection to the Finding Bigfoot TV show that aired on Animal Planet. [Barnes was admitted to the BFRO. To date the organization has not released a statement about his arrest or the other investigation or whether he remains a member.] For more information, view their website at https://www.bfro.net/.
This is not to say that the government is not interested in the paranormal. While the government has paid contractors to investigate extraterrestrial life, the government does not maintain job lines, complete with pensions and limited job protections. Instead, the government monitors developments and then investigates. If the job title sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Barnes is another example of a paranormal scammer (#ParaScammer) who fed lies to fuel his ego.
Paranormal News for the Week of May 7, 2018
#ParaNews for the Week of May 7, 2018
- Keith Barnes, a 46-year-old man from Black Rock, Arkansas, claims to work for the US Department of the Interior as a “Bigfoot Tracker.” He dons a fake khaki ranger uniform with bogus patches pretending to be a cryptozoologist. Barnes is not a scientist. Nor does the US government employ professional trackers searching for Bigfoot. Barnes is another #ParaScammer. His story would not make the evening news, except that he was arrested for possessing child pornography. Barnes attracted the attention of law enforcement when he began wearing the “uniform” and telling people he tracked the movements of cryptids in North America. An investigation into whether Barnes was impersonating a federal employee when an anonymous source alerted authorities to the child pornography. Barnes posted bail and will appear in court on June 18th.
- FX has ordered 10 episodes of the TV version of What We Do in the Shadows, the 2014 mockumentary about modern-day vampires coping with adulting. The movie was set in New Zealand and starred Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, and Jonny Brugh. The TV series will be set in New York City and star Matt Berry, Kayvan Novak, Natasia Demetrious, and Harvey Guillen. The ½ comedy will debut in 2019 with Clement and Waititi serving as writers and producers. Wellington Paranormal, another TV spin-off based on the police officers in the film who investigate paranormal activity, is in development and scheduled for a 2018 release.
- MUFON, the Mutual U.F.O. Network, is quite active. In fact, last week I read a posting on my city’s neighborhood Facebook page where an investigator was asking for eyewitness reports of supposed U.F.O. activity in March. For more information on MUFON activity or to file a report, visit http://www.mufon.com/. Lesson: Always read your neighborhood posts. You never know what will brighten your feed.
Beware the #ParaScammers
The Haunted Librarian coined the term ParaScammers. These are people who either take advantage of people in the paranormal community or they are people who fake special talents in order to profit. The list grows annually. She will discuss famous and well-known cases and possibly some that may surprise the audience. In addition, she will discuss how she protects herself from scammers and offers suggestions for others.
Tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 1st at 9 PM. Purchase tickets online at http://www.dragoncon.org/.
Beware the Scam Artist #ParaScammers
Earlier this week, I blogged about the unfortunate events that occurred during the “A Haunting in Tombstone” event. (See “Carol Malone Bombs in Tombstone” https://thehauntedlibrarian.com/2015/05/03/carol-malone-bombs-in-tombstone/) Well, actually, the non-event. Carol Malone scammed many, many people out of their money by promising an incredible paranormal event packed with guest speakers, vendors, and investigations. Ms. Malone showed up to disappointed crowds and ran for the hills—right after she was cited for failing to pay for services rendered. Unfortunately, Ms. Malone is not the only one who has illegally profited from the para community. It’s time for us to join in solidarity and to condemn these actions.
John Albrecht, Jr. penned an excellent article, http://www.examiner.com/article/carol-malone-aka-london-knight-scams-haunted-historic-town-arizona. I encourage you to read it. John also posted a YouTube video. It’s worth viewing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dE-KbISLJY#t=25.
Something positive did arise from this. Watch this segment and see how people made the best of the travesty and salvaged investigations. https://www.facebook.com/HuffParanormal/videos/vb.418566248207499/896034383794014/?type=2&theater
So what should you do? Spread the word. Keep people like Carol Malone out of our community. Do due diligence. There are some fabulous and credible entertainment companies out there. Support the community. And finally, associate with positive people. Let’s kick the negativity out of the paranormal community.