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The Fox sisters have tenanted more chapters in more books that you can summon up from deja lu -- even so it is both entertaining and at times saddening to have this complete story of their lives and Mr. Jackson has carefully reworked the specifics and written about them with some style. The sisters were Maggie and Cathie (and also Leah who figured less in the early proceedings since she married at 14 and had an infant) who rapped their answers in the seances held by their mother who fully believed in their powers. So before long did many others -- particularly those who claimed that there was a peddler buried in the cellar of their upstate New York house (""Was you murdered for your goods?""). There were many converts and sponsors, including Horace Greeley - but also the expose showing that all this rapping was only toe.tapping. With the years personal tragedies overwhelmed the sisters: Maggie, after a long courtship by an Arctic explorer which never resulted in marriage, became a recluse (and drank); sister Leah retired from spiritualism and had a more settled life; and Kate carried on, also becoming an alcoholic, had a brief late marriage and two children who were seized by the S.P.C.C., and all of this guttered out with the decline of spiritualism which was deservedly, well, rapped. . . . There's a sturdy bibliography and, If the Spirit Moves You, you'll be in good hands.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday