Kane married Margaret nonetheless, and Margaret converted to the Roman Catholic faith. When Kane died in , Margaret returned to her activities as a medium. Kate had traveled to England in , the trip paid for by a wealthy New York banker, so that she would not be compelled to accept payment for her services as a medium. In , Kate married H. Jencken, a London barrister, legal scholar, and enthusiastic Spiritualist. Jencken died in , leaving Kate with two sons. Emily B. Ruggles, State Street in Brooklyn, where she died on March 8, In , Mrs.
She also claimed that Kate and Margaret revealed to her the method of producing the raps by snapping their toes and using their knees and ankles. Over the years, sisters Kate and Margaret had developed serious drinking problems. Around , they became embroiled in a quarrel with their sister Leah and other leading Spiritualists, who were concerned that Kate was drinking too much to care properly for her children. At the same time, Margaret, contemplating a return to the Roman Catholic faith, became convinced that her powers were diabolical.
Doctors from the audience came on stage to verify that the cracking of her toe joints was the source of the sound. Margaret told her story of the origins of the mysterious "rappings" in a signed confession given to the press and published in New York World , October 21, She expanded on her career as a medium after leaving the homestead to begin her Spiritualist travels with her older sister, Mrs.
Harry Houdini , the magician who devoted a large part of his life to debunking Spiritualist claims, provided this insight:.
Pressured by the Spiritualist movement and her own dire financial circumstances, Margaret recanted her confession in writing in November , about a year after her exhibition. She had attempted to return to Spiritualist performances, but never again attracted the attention or paying clientele of the sisters' earlier careers. The Fox sisters have been widely cited in parapsychology and spiritualist literature.
According to psychologists Leonard Zusne and Warren Jones, "many accounts of the Fox sisters leave out their confession of fraud and present the rappings as genuine manifestations of the spirit world. Hansel notes in that "remarkably, the Fox sisters are still discussed in the parapsychological literature without mention of their trickery. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other people, see Margaret Fox disambiguation. Psychology in Social Context: Issues and Debates. Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism. In the autumn of Mrs. Kane Margaretta Fox and Mrs. Jencken Catherine Fox made public, and apparently spontaneous, confession, that the raps had been produced by fraudulent means. Kane even gave demonstrations before large audiences of the actual manner in which the toe joints had been used at the early seances. Jencken, at any rate, if not also Mrs. Kane, afterwards recanted her confession. McFarland Publishing.
By the s, Maggie, like her sister Kate who was now widowed after losing her English husband Jenckens, had become a full-blown alcoholic. In , the sisters confessed that they had faked the ghostly rapping which precipitated the age of spirit contact. They claimed to have produced knocking sounds by manipulating and cracking the joints in their feet and knees. For a while they made money giving lectures about this "deathblow" to Spiritualism. However, before she died, Maggie recanted the confession, and Kate began conveying spirit messages to close friends once again.
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Ultimately, trance mediumship brought the sisters neither wealth nor happiness. Both died in penurious circumstances, essentially drinking themselves to death. Macmillan Publishers.
The only real impact of the confession was to distance the sisters from their supporters. The vast majority of Spiritualists were eager to cling to the comforting thought that they might survive bodily death, and they were not going to let a couple of rambling alcoholics stand in the way of immortality. But although Margaretta tried to retract her remarks shortly after confessing all, for the Fox sisters at least, the damage had been done.
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Neither made contact from the spirit world. History of Rochester and Monroe County. Retrieved November 14, A Magician Among the Spirits. The goal, they explained, was to be free of any particular attachment so they could devote their entire selves to the church as a whole. But most had some kind of past incident or failing that could be used against them if made public, even if it were only their identity as a gay man.
Mundane failings — like a brief affair — can become easily blurred with profound evils like child abuse. If you expose a child molester to his superior, for example, he might expose your own homosexuality and destroy your career. This dynamic has made the clerical closet — not the fact of gay priests but the way that fact has been hidden — a core mechanism for tolerating and enabling abuse. On top of all this, the vow of obedience to superiors gives gay bishops and cardinals huge sway over their priestly flock.
Some, of course, realized this power could be leveraged for sex and abused it. New procedures for the protection of minors were put in place after But so much damage from the past has yet to be confronted. The McCarrick case in particular revealed that the pattern of concealment and toleration of abuse went to the very top of the church.
That some of the sex criminals were also responsible for directing vast sums of money to the Vatican — Maciel and McCarrick were legendary for their fund-raising — makes the toleration seem particularly cynical.
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We still do not know why, exactly, the traditionalist Benedict XVI decided to be the first pope to resign the office, but some were quick to note that he had compiled an extensive dossier on sexual abuse in the church … and yet somehow felt unable to act. Was he simply overwhelmed by the task, taken aback by the scale of it, and fearful that the entire church could collapse?
Francis, in one of his first press conferences as pope, struck out on a different course. He reiterated the distinction between sins and crimes and, while denouncing abuse, did not insist on sexual perfection in the priesthood, as long as failures were confessed, sins absolved, and the priest was committed to a future of celibacy. It also, perhaps, worried some powerful sex abusers, who recognized the role of the clerical closet in keeping everything quiet.
The lull may be temporary. In September, Francis appeared to lose his equanimity. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. It may well become a moment of reckoning for his papacy — and those of his two predecessors. It may force some kind of decision about the role of gay priests, clerical celibacy, and homosexuality across the church.
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O ne possible option is the preference of the Catholic right: for all those implicated in the McCarrick cover-up to resign, including, one presumes, Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI? Countless lay Catholics would watch their priests be outed and fired by the church. How would they react? The mass firings would brand the church as baldly homophobic and easily lead to mass resignations and a further decline in vocations.
So be it, the traditionalists say. They want a much smaller, purer church.
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But few potential popes would want to be the one who precipitated the implosion. More to the point: It could make the problem worse. The church would lose all those priests who are adjusted enough to be honest about their orientation and keep all of those who are the most deeply damaged, closeted, and self-loathing.
The potential for sexual abuse could increase.
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