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IMAGE GALLERY

Featured photograph, by Lauren Kuehmeier, is of
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 10/30/2019

Staff favorite "Séance" documents Shannon Taggart's quest for Spiritualist ectoplasm

The story of Kate and Margaret Fox (pictured in Shannon Taggart's remarkable new photography book, Séance, here photographed before the headstone of Anna Leah (Fox) Underhill, Kate and Margaret's sister and manager) "is a Spiritualist microcosm," Taggart writes. "Every topic tackled in this book traces back to their lives, including table-tipping, spirit materialization, automatic writing, communication with dead celebrities, technology's spiritual shadow, the scientific scrutiny paid to mediumistic bodies and the specter of fraud that haunts it all. My own initiation experience even echoes theirs—pubescent girl learns of a wrongful death from a restless spirit. The sisters' strange saga illustrates just how deeply intertwined fact and fiction are in Spiritualism. Their biography is a head-spinning tale of confusion—phenomenal feats of mediumship and displays of verifiable evidence, admissions of fraud, demonstrations of trickery and a series of recanted confessions. Even after their deaths in the 1890s, the story continued. In 1904, an incomplete human skeleton was unearthed from the Foxes' cellar, near a peddler's tin box. In 1905, Margaret Fox's doctor publicly testified that an immobilized Margaret produced hundreds of loud knocks in the walls, ceiling and floor of her room in the hours before her death. Today, historian Paul Gaunt is using primary sources to propose that the sisters' story is even weirder than it stands on record. In his retelling, the adults started communicating with the noisy spirit by using coded knocking and the young girls caught it like a virus. The phenomenon followed them wherever they went." Photograph by Lauren Kuehmeier.

Shannon Taggart: Séance

Shannon Taggart: Séance

FULGUR PRESS
Hbk, 11.75 x 9.75 in. / 304 pgs / 165 color / 8 b&w.

$65.00  free shipping




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