The origins of the Spiritualist movement began humbly, in the hamlet of Hydesville, New York, just a few miles outside the Erie Canal town of Newark, about 20 miles west of Rochester. Noises known as rappings and tappings were disturbing the Fox family who had recently moved to the small town of Hydesville in New York State U.S.A. The noises had been a nuisance, but on the evening of 31st March, 1848, they reached such a pitch that the family could not sleep. The two young daughters (Kate and Margaretta) clapped their hands and shouted to the noise "come on Mr Splitfoot, do as I do." They were amazed when the clapping was echoed by a light number of raps. They asked for their ages and these were given.
An alphabetical code was established including one rap for no and two raps for yes and the instigator of the raps was able to tell them that he was a peddler named Charles B. Rosna who had in 1843, been murdered by a man called John C. Bell, who was a former tenant of the house and his body had been hidden in the cellar. All of this was discovered to be true when in 1904 within the cellar walls of the cottage the remains of the peddler`s body was recovered.
The mysterious raps heard in Hydesville in 1848 sowed the seeds of Spiritualism that have continued to sprout, evolve and flourish to the present day. Even today, Spiritualism, represented by celebrity mediums, the practice of channeling, descriptions of near-death experiences, New Age philosophies, hundreds of books and a spate of new television shows and movies featuring conversations with the dead, continues to fascinate world-wide.