The Fox Sisters
On a March night in 1848, the Fox household in Hydesville, NY was besieged by a series of loud rappings. It was if an unseen force was knocking against the walls. The Foxes asked their daughters, Kate and Margaret if they were making the noise, but they insisted they were not. The parents could hear the rappings even while looking at their daughters, who were sitting perfectly still. Convinced that the house was haunted, the Foxes fled to a neighbor’s house, where the noises persisted. It quickly became clear that the Fox daughters were able to communicate with the knocking spirits by asking them to spell out words using number correspondence (1 knock for A, 2 for B, 3 for C, etc.). When the eldest Fox daughter Leah came home to see what all the noise was about, she quickly realized the family had something special (a.k.a., $$$$$$).
Within two years, the Fox Sisters were performing seances to paying public audiences and to private, high-class clients. Their act marked the beginning of the Spiritualist Movement – in the subsequent decades, tens of thousands of mediums posted professional ads in newspapers across the country. The Fox Sisters became massive celebrities, touring the US and Europe to show off their supernatural abilities. Leah served as the road manager and ring-leader, while the Kate and Margaret communicated directly with the spirits.
But the rapid fame came with a cost. The sisters quickly fell into a vortex of alcoholism, family drama, and poverty. In October 1888, Margaret held a press conference at the New York Academy of Music to admit that the seances had been an act – the sisters had been making the noises by cracking their toes against the floor. While she later reneged on this confession, the damage had been done. The public lost interest in the Spiritualist movement, and the sisters lived out the rest of their lives in obscurity.
Learn more about the fascinating Fox Sisters in “Episode 14 – When Fortune Comes Knocking.”
I nominate Carol Burnett into the Guinness Book of World Records as the luckiest person to walk the face of the earth. Like, can I rent out her guardian angel for a day? Carol was born into the world with a predetermined fate of finding fame and success. While she deserved every bit of that fame and success due to her hard work and natural talent, she did have some type of high power witchraftery on her side assisting her along the way.
There was that time a $50 bill miraculously appeared in her grandmother’s mailbox to cover one year’s tuition at UCLA, a fund she was incapable of affording at the time. Then there was that time she attended a party where a man handed her over a $1,000 interest-free loan to relocate to NY in an attempt to kickstart her career in musical comedy; another fund she was incapable of affording at the time. Oh, and you can’t forget that time a beautiful bouquet of birthday flowers arrived at Carol’s house signed by her dear friend, Lucille Ball, several hours after the news reported Lucille Ball has died. Huh?
Carol’s ridiculously successful career included starring in sitcoms, performing on The Tonight Show, appearing in Broadway musicals, her highly popular CBS-TV special “Carol + 2”, and The Carol Burnett Show that ran for 11 years and won more than 25 awards, making Carol famous and a role model for women in comedy and television.
But why stop there?! This month, Carol was honored at the 2019 Golden Globes where she received her own television special achievement award. Steve Carell presented her the Carol Burnett Award following an incredible slideshow of all her accomplishments. Carol graciously accepted her award and gave a thankful speech that you can watch here- a janky video of it I found on YouTube – Golden Globes – Carol Burnett Award.
Listen to “Episode 14 – When Fortune Comes Knocking” to hear Carol’s life of luck and witchcraftery + the tale of her inspiring career.