Time for the 4th #Roc based #Ghost story.
And this time it’s personal.
Nowadays, everyone knows what a Medium does.
A Medium is someone who communicates with the dead directly.
But back in the 1800’s direct communication with the dead had been largely unheard of.

That is, until the Fox Sisters - Leah, Kate and Maggie.
The youngest of six children - both Kate and Maggie still lived at home with their alcoholic father and nervous mother in a farmhouse in Hydesville, New York.

Shortly after moving into the house, Kate (11 years) and Maggie (14 years) began to communicate with a spirit.
The girls called the spirit “Mr. Splitfoot,” and claimed that he was a murdered peddler who was buried in the basement. Mr. Splitfoot answered their questions using mysterious knocks.

Needless to say, Mrs. Fox whose nerves were never good, pretty much lost her mind.
To prove she wasn’t crazy - Mrs. Fox invited neighbors over to hear the mysterious knocks for themselves.
The neighbors were freaked out too - and brought shovels to dig around the basement. They didn’t find anything - but started to believe the girls were witches.
It was decided that Maggie & Kate should leave town. They ended up living with their older sister Leah in the Corn Hill neighborhood. Leah had been recently abandoned by her husband & needed to make money fast.
Leah was a shrewd teenager (she was only 16 years old) and saw an opportunity to turn her sister’s new found talent into money. Big money. Leah knew Amy Post, a well connected Corn Hill resident. Amy had lost several children to diseases & would do anything to talk to them again
After seeing Kate & Maggie in action - Amy Post and her husband believed them to be the real deal and arranged an evening for the girls to demonstrate their abilities at Corinthian Hall - Rochester’s largest speaking venue.
For 3 nights, Kate & Maggie asked audience members for questions they needed to ask departed loved ones. Although esteemed city officials sat directly onstage with the girls, no one could see any trickery. By the end of the 3rd night - THE FOX SISTERS WERE FAMOUS!
Their performance at Corinthian Hall launched the Spiritualist movement - a religion that believed the living and the dead could communicate. This movement created a desire worldwide for mediums & seances were people could communicate with the dead in the comfort of their homes.
Wealthy Rochester Families hosted “Seance” parties where they would invite their friends to dine & then the Fox Sisters would lead the guests in a seance to commune with the dead. One of the homes where the sisters supposedly conducted a seance was 275 S. Plymouth Avenue.
275 S. Plymouth Ave. was also known as The Wilmot.
I had been told the original owners were one of the founders of Western Union. When I first moved into The Wilmot, I lived in the basement apartment. I later moved to another apartment but the creepiness happened in the basement.
If you look at the building, there is a separate entrance on the right side which leads directly into the basement apartment. It was a one bedroom and I lived there with my black cat Houdini (aka Houdini Pie, aka Dini, aka Sweetie Ukums).
Now everyone knows cats can see on the spiritual plain.
Houdini was no different. From the first day we moved in, Houdini sensed something
Her eyes would slowly follow something I could not see around the room - many times stopping to focus just above my head.
My apartment had two entrances. One from the side of the house - and a back door through the basement. The parking lot was in the back - so I usually chose the back door, which took me down some steps through the basement laundry area, through storage, to my locked back door.
There was a light switch which would illuminate the basement - but one night it didn’t work. I guess the circuit breaker was tripped. I knew the route very well - so I decided to just walk through the pitch black basement. My keys were in my hand in case I needed to stab someone.
As I began to walk, I heard some whispers & laughs coming from the right side of the basement. The basement had a sauna in it - which the rental agent showed me like it was something great - but I thought it sounded kind of gross & didn’t look very clean, so I never used it.
I wondered if some of the other tenants were using it in the pitch dark - but didn’t want to find out. As I continued to my apartment - the whispers & laughing kept up with me. They actually seemed to be getting louder. They seemed to be coming from my apartment!
There was an area in the basement that used to be a wine cellar. This was located just outside of my apartment door - and I used it for my own personal storage. There was a door which separated it from the other storage areas, and another door that separated it from my apartment.
I was just outside the door & it sounded like a party was going on!
That’s how loud it was.
I quickly opened the door!
And nothing.
There was nothing there.
Just darkness - and the deep scent of flowers.
Lilies and Roses.
The smell was incredibly strong - like a florist shop.
After learning about the Fox Sisters - and hearing that they would perform seances in the building, I have since wondered if that was what was going on.
Were the people who wanted to commune with spirits, now spirits themselves?
I hate to admit it, but the next morning I put an unauthorized lock on the door between my apartment & the wine cellar. Not that it would keep the ghosts out —- but it somehow made me feel a little better.
Houdini on the other hand, never stopped seeing ghosts in the apartment.
Fun fact - the real Harry Houdini (whom my cat was named after) - thought the Fox Sisters were frauds. He tried on many occasions to debunk them - but was never able to prove they were not legitimate.
You can follow @MimZWay.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: