The title role is played by Margaret Fox, whose youthful pretense of being in touch with the Great Beyond set off a nationwide madness in which some ten million persons became involved. The strange noises Margaret and her younger sister heard detonated into quite a fad, and thus began a pathetic career that included an unhappy romance with an Arctic hero, pseudopsychiatry, denunciation and recanting, alcoholism, and Margaret's ""manifestations sessions"" across the country. Horace Greeley gave the story a play until scandals brewed among Free-Love cultists claiming to be acolytes. There were many side effects and Forenell considers spiritualism in the courts and other ""amazing social phenomena."" The Unhappy Medium reads almost as strangely as its contests because one is never absolutely sure of the author's intentions. Closer editorial supervision would not have permitted phrases and clauses to run together in wild ambiguity.