1848: In New York, Catherine and Margaretta Fox, aged 13 and 11, claim to communicate with the dead by knocking on their bedroom walls. Conversations with the dead, however, are limited to yes-no questions. Forty years later, the Fox sisters confess that responses from the dead were faked by cracking their toes.
1855: Cora Lodencia Veronica Scott Hatch enters trances and lectures audiences on women’s rights. She is said to speak with “supernatural eloquence.”
Late-1800s: Séance catalogues offer home kits for daily séance needs. Offerings included fake hands and instructions on how to make a table levitate.
1882: The Ghost Club is revived under the belief that paranormal activities do occur. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is listed amongst their adamant members, which always included figures both living and dead.
1901: The Ouija board becomes popularized as a toy by William Fuld, who claims to have gotten the name from using the board.
1915: Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates his knack for long distance communication. He makes the first transcontinental telephone call, made possible by his acquisitions of Thomas Edison’s patents for an early microphone. Bell spoke to Edison in a séance about it beforehand.
1924: A cynical Harry Houdini offers $2,500 for the first medium who could produce authentic paranormal activity in an attempt to expose séances as fraudulent. Before Houdini died, he and his wife agreed on a secret phrase that his spirit would utter to prove its identity, just in case.
2008: President Barak Obama calls Nancy Regan to apologize for making her name synonymous with séances. Mrs. Regan’s sister comments, “My sister is not a medium; she’s an astrologer.’’
2010: Lady Gaga is annoyed by a ghost named Ryan who follows her around during her international tours. She installs an Electro-Magnetic Field around her house to detect and prevent spirits from trespassing.
Laurel Nakadate and James Franco‘s Three Performances in Search of Tennessee
Sunday, November 13, 12:00pm
Abrons Art Center
Paddle8 will be streaming the documentation for one week starting Monday, November 14th at noon EST.