Greeley, Horace (1811–1872)
Famous American political writer, editor of the New York
Tribune, and an important figure in early American Spiritualism.
He was the first to call upon the Fox Sisters on their arrival
in New York in June 1850, and he admitted publicly that he was
puzzled by the phenomena he observed and that he thought
the good faith of the mediums could not be questioned.
The Fox sisters were guests at Greeley’s home in New York
for three days. During that period he became convinced of the
genuineness of their mysterious rappings, although he did not
accept the spirit hypothesis. ‘‘Whatever may be the origin of the
cause of the rappings,’’ he wrote, ‘‘the ladies in whose presence
they occur do not make them. We tested this thoroughly and
to our entire satisfaction.’’
The columns written in Greeley’s paper were fair and impartial
during periods of the wildest controversy. In his Recollections
of a Busy Life (1868), he admits that ‘‘the jugglery hypothesis
utterly fails to account for occurrences which I have
personally witnessed,’’ and that ‘‘certain developments strongly
indicate that they do proceed from departed spirits.’’ He submitted,
however, that nothing of value was obtained from the
investigation, that the spirits ‘‘did not help to fish up the Atlantic
cable or find Sir John Franklin.’’
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Moore, Lawrence R. In Search of White Crows. New York Oxford
University Press, 1977.
Van Deusen, Glyndon G. Horace Greeley Nineteenth-Century
Crusader. Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953.

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