|Cottage at Hydesville|
The histories I read were more illuminating. If you grew up in the Rochester, New York area as I did, at some point you would have heard of the Fox sisters. I heard the story years ago, but had forgotten that the site of their home was Hydesville! But let me begin at the beginning-- in 1815 Henry Hyde built a cottage on property he owned and as others built homes nearby, it became known as the hamlet of Hydesville. The history gave the names of subsequent occupants of the cottage over the years, but it didn't go back far enough for my purposes. It occurred to me however, the Hydesville cottage could very well have been the property Grandmother lived on previous to living with Henry. The home was described as "humble with two fair sized parlors, a bedroom and pantry on the first floor, with stairs leading to a half story above." Not the sort of residence a well off doctor would live in for long, probably a temporary residence while his mansion was being built.
After Henry Hyde's death, ownership of the Hydesville property passed to his son who in 1842 rented it to the Bell family-- this is where the legend of the haunted cottage begins. As the story goes; Mrs. Bell, covetous of the lovely goods shown her by a traveling peddler, murdered the man and buried him in the cellar. Soon after, mysterious noises began to be heard within the walls, and before another year passed, the Bells left for parts unknown. The next occupants were the Weekman family. They too heard the strange noises, and their children reported being touched by a "cold hand". One daughter even claimed to have seen a vision of a man in the cottage. Shortly after that, the Weekmans also fled the cottage.
|The Fox Sisters|
The sisters later admitted it had all been a hoax, and died in poverty. But the true believers still carried on the new religion. As for Grandmother? She would have lived in the cottage long before the supernatural disturbances if she lived there at all. But it's sort of fun to speculate.