More Than Rock

Rock & Extrasensory Perception

I Love The Dead (Alice Cooper)

On March 31st, 1848, in Rochester, New York, two sisters, Katherine and Margaret Fox, ages 11 and 13, ignited America's medium mania. The Foxes claimed they heard unexplainable rappings from a room in their farmhouse. To communicate with these noises, the sisters would click their fingers and, in response, it seemed, they would receive answerng knocks.

Carriages lined up outside the Foxes' house as people hoped to witness this phenomenon. Many believed that the sisters had contacted the spirit of a murdered itinerant peddlar thought to have been buried in their basement. The Foxes became immediate celebrities, embarking on succcessful careers as mediums both in the US and in England. Soon others, anxious to make an easy dollar, also claimed to have spiritual powers. The craze reached its peak after the Civil War, with many so-called mediums taking advantage of the vulnerability of those who had prematurely lost husbands and sons.

Before long, however, the Fox sisters revealed the truth- that they themselves had produced the rapping sounds, and to the surprise of skeptics and the sisters alike, their public remained devoted follower.

It is easy, however, to explain people's blind acceptance of paranormal phenomena. For those who are alive, death is a great mystery and the fact that the dead apparently seem to communicate through witches, ghosts and mediums will continue to preoccupy human collective imagination here on earth.  

Blithe Spirit is a comic play written by Noel Coward which takes its title from Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "To a Skylark" ("Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert"). The play is about novelist Charles Condomine, who is haunted by the ghost of his first wife, Elvira, after a sťance held by the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madame Arcati. Elvira makes continuous attempts to disrupt Charles' marriage to his second wife, Ruth.

The stereotype of a sťance involves a group of people sitting around a table holding hands with each other in a dark room. One person is a medium, someone (typically a woman) who claims that they can communicate with the dead friends and relatives of the person present, and passes messages from them. Many people believe that sťances are just a trick played by the medium. Other people think sťances are evil and dangerous. Many religions also believe that it is wrong, impossible, or immoral to hold sťances.

Alice Cooper

Few people know that Alice Cooper's real name is Vincent Damon Furnier. The press claimed that Cooper adopted that name after a session with a Ouija board, during which it was revealed that Furnier was the reincarnation of a 17th century witch named Alice Cooper. However, it is now widely accepted that this story was in fact a publicity stunt - Cooper in later interviews confirmed that the name actually came out of thin air, conjuring an image of "a cute and sweet little girl with a hatchet behind her back".

Professional mediums have become big business in the United States with some psychics charging as much as $400 per session. Many boast celebrity clients or "sitters" as the mediums call them, such as Cher and actresses Cindy Williams and Patty Duke. Cher recently confirmed that one medium contacted her late husband Sonny Bono, who told her that he didn't like where he was buried.