depictions of the Fox sisters in horror lit

Clay McLeod Chapman made a reference to the Fox sisters in his novel Ghost Eaters, and it caught my attention because I was sure I’d heard of these women (girls?) somewhere before. I couldn’t quite recall if they were teenagers or adults when they made their claim to fame as spiritualists in touch with the other side, but in any case: I was right! The Residence, by Andrew Pyper also featured these two OG influencers.

Reading through Ghost Eaters for the noises above book club guide, I noted that the Fox sisters were mentioned as having been spiritual advisors to First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and my bell was immediately rung!

I shuffled over to find my copy of The Residence by Andrew Pyper, and sure enough, there they were – the infamous Fox sisters. Only in The Residence, they were advisors to First Lady Jane Pierce – not Mary Todd Lincoln.

Now, I don’t know if these chickies actually made their way into the White House to spook some of the biggest big shots, but it wouldn’t surprise me because apparently they were in demand at the height of their fame.

If you aren’t familiar with the Fox sisters, there are piles and piles of books and articles about them. A quick google search should easily send you down at least an all-day rabbit hole if you’re looking for something to do. Hey, there’s even a short animated film made in 2010 that you can watch on YouTube! Wikipedia also lists a bunch of reference materials about the Fox sisters, and wouldn’t those sisters be thrilled to know their names still echo in our haunted halls well over 100 years since the last of them passed away.

image of the Fox sisters, Margaretta, Kate, and Leah
“Mrs. Fish and the Misses Fox: The Original Mediums of the Mysterious Noises at Rochester Western, N.Y.” This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID pga.09494

Hauntings are probably my very most favourite type of horror, and if you also love a good haunting, let’s be friends! 👻 Just keep your ectoplasm to yourself, thanks. Let me know in the comments if you’ve come across any other great fiction featuring the knuckle-cracking, joint-popping Fox sisters – or any other fictional mediums who have good game.

go ahead, whistle past the graveyard

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