Skip to main content

We Hear the Dead by Dianne K. Salerni

It started out as a harmless prank. But soon enough, spiritualism was the fastest growing movement of the nineteenth century, and Maggie Fox was trapped in a life of deceit.

Meticulously researched by the author, We Hear the Dead reveals the secret of how the Fox sisters faked their rapping sounds and their motives for inventing the séance and founding spiritualism.

I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. No one suspected us of any trick, because we were such young children. We were led on by my sister purposely and by my mother unintentionally. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions. As Doctor wrote to me: "Weary, weary is the life by cold deceit oppressed."

My sister has used the word "deception." I object to her use of that word, for I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of all the events that have happened since that night in Hydesville forty years ago. To her the spirits were always a game. For my sister Leah, they were a means to an end. For my mother, a miracle. And for me, they were my life's calling. I have no regrets.

Interesting story! I didn't think I'd heard of the Fox sisters and the start of Spiritualism but the more I read the more I remember hearing/reading about them. I also Googled the sisters and read the exact account as the book, only the book has more embellishment/emotion/story/characters (you catch my drift) etc.
The writing kept me involved in the story as well as the characters. I enjoyed watching Maggie grow up and struggle with her deception. She was easily swayed by those she loved to continue with the 'rappings" of the dead. Until she meets and falls in love with a handsome explorer who wants Maggie to give up everything for him. His family will not accept her and he believes if he can change her, they will. I was bugged that Maggie couldn't see he wanted someone different though he loved her.
Kate is the youngest sister who came to believe she really could speak with the spirits.
Leah was the bossy older sister who used and abused her sisters for money. The only one in the family who truly didn't know it was a sham was the mother. The father moved to the house he was building for his family and we never hear about him again. Sad for the mother! Did she ever miss him?
The story pulled me right in and I enjoyed reading it from the bright, fun beginning to the sad, dark end.

Rating PG
V: Intense mob scenes
L: None
S: None

Want to buy it?

25% test (p. 106):
""The spirits are very wise, of course," murmured Leah, who had turned back to her letter.
"Mrs. Mott went so far as to ask me, I continued, "If I couldn't manage to contact a spirit of some historical fame and acquire testimonial from him regarding women's rights."
Leah's hand faltered and dropped a blob of ink at this news, and she had to reach for a blotter. "What is your point, Margaretta?"she asked in annoyance.
"Do they actually believe, or are they using--"
"They have chosen to publicly state that they believe," Leah said, fixing me with her no-nonsense eye. "That is good enough for me, and it should be good enough for you."
Upon those words I had to be content. Amy Post believed in the spirits, or claimed that she believed, and because I shared most of Mrs. Post's views regarding the abolition of slavery and the rights of women, I was not averse to including support for these progressive issues in our spirits' messages. Part of me wondered whether the feminist portion of Mrs. Post's nature did not admire Leah's gumption at making a living at tricks worthy of Mr. P. T. Barnum himself."


  1. Hi Taffy, this sounds like a fascinating story and that the three point of views are so different makes it more so.

    As a mom I love that your rate the books. It's important to me to know what my kids are reading.

    AND good news, you won CAYMAN SUMMER by Angela Morrison on my blog (or another Angela Morrison book if you'd prefer.) E- mail me at
    jenwolfy (at) gmai (dot)com with your address so I can send you your prize.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jennifer!

  3. I enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn about the spiritual movement, something I knew next to nothing about.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Savvy Saving by Melissa Jennings & Shelley King

Working to stretch your budget? With their expert coupon strategies, menu planning, and other household management skills, Stockpiling Moms are the answer! Straight from their award winning blog to your hands and home, they've compiled their best loved tips and tricks just for you. They know what it takes to live a frugal lifestyle within a budget, and now you can too!

Great book with lots of resources, websites, tips, ideas and secrets for couponing, food storage and stretching your budget.
This is a good book for starting off the new year and keeping your goals of doing better financially or getting your food storage stocked. While I'm not into major couponing I have found using them has helped me save $$, especially now that stores are doing double coupons. 
I use a weekly menu service that prints out my recipes and shopping list. I save a lot of time and money doing this.
These ladies have a blog that's worth reading also:
The book was easy to re…


I'm spotlighting Diane Tolley's book Daughter of Ishmael!
(Isn't the cover pretty??)

Hannah, faithful third daughter of Ishmael has been raised happily in the home of an honourable man. A woman wholly committed to her Saviour. A woman who understands Nephi’s love of the scriptures and commitment to the gospel and secretly longs for such a husband, but finds herself given in marriage to his older brother, Lemuel.
Through the women’s eyes, Daughter of Ishmael follows the family of Ishmael as they commit themselves to Lehi and find their faith tested in the wilderness. Recounts their struggles there with deaths, births and apostasy. Tells of their time in Bountiful and the building of a ship. And their suffering below decks on the Great Irriantum when Laman and Hannah’s husband, Lemuel battle the Lord Himself in their drive to defeat Nephi and take control of the family.
Even their arrival in the Promised Land isn’t without its challenges as they settle. Pride, envy and greed are…

Choose the Right by Kimiko Christensen Hammari

Crazy days mean no time to plan family nights. With Choose the Right, all your Family Home Evening lessons are done for a whole year, complete with activities, games, scriptures, songs, challenges, and a CD-Rom with printable handouts! Not only are the lessons fantastic but they correlate with the 2012 Primary topics and lessons. Spend quality time with your children as you make family night the best night!

Great Family Home Evening help! 
The lessons are easy to understand and teach. 
The activities are tied well to the lessons.
A challenge at the end of each lesson helps the family really learn what the lesson taught.
Perfect for children and teaching how to Choose the Right. 
My kids love to teach FHE lessons so this is a great asset for my family.