Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On 19th century James Randis - a 500 dollar challenge to Spiritualism reported in a Hebrew newspaper from 1857

This is an interesting piece in an 1857 issue of Hamaggid. The correspondent, from Boston, writes about Spiritualism, which was very popular in the 19th century. More specifically, about a $500* challenge from skeptics, sponsored by the Boston Courier.

Amazingly, something was lost in the translation, as there was no Chacham Professor Adon Fonton involved in this. From American newspaper accounts it seems that one of the representatives of the Spiritualist side, none other than H. F. Gardner, was based in Fountain House and as far as I can tell that it where a "Fonton" comes in. The other names are correct.

*I know it says/implies "pounds sterling," but from the newspaper accounts we see it was $500.


  1. http://books.google.ca/books?id=VvQDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=fountain+house+h.+f.+gardner&source=bl&ots=1agE5kZ7TW&sig=xAA-sXlJ3MF3dI505zY8haB5eDc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=daYqUIahMIeg6QGP0YCgCA&ved=0CEsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=fountain%20house%20h.%20f.%20gardner&f=false

  2. Interested for Theology Course7:00 PM, August 14, 2012


    I am interested in Jewish religion and Christian religion, for course I am taking in college. I am wondering whether you can my question answer. You see, if I understand rightly, Christianity believes that Jesus Christ is God, or Son of God. And am I right? Jewish Religion believes that Chasam Soifer is God, or Son of God. Does Jewish Religion distinguish between concepts "God", and "Son of God"? Also, do Jewish Religion believe in Daughter of God? Finally, what is role of Jochanan Soifer in Jewish theology?

    1. Yours is certainly one of the more interesting comments I have ever received. Let me think a bit about the correct responses.

    2. Interested for Theology Course2:10 PM, August 15, 2012

      Still waiting...

    3. This post and thread perfectly recaps the day I just had.

      It began with a visit to the last remaining Yeshiva of Spiritualism (a sad affair, eich naflu giboirim!), was followed by a meeting with a Chabad Rabbi who is a genuine Elokist (the door of his Chabad House is graced with a pictire of the Rebbe post-stroke above the caption "G-D") and just finished as I recounted to a friend my family's confused tradition regarding our supposed descent from the Chasam Sofer.

      Hafoch bah v'hafoch bah...

    4. I was taught that the chasam soifer was the original Son of Sam.

  3. The closest thing I can find online about where the Chasam Soifer fits into the trinity can be found by googling on Chasam Sofer and רוח הקודש. It's at the שמע ישראל website.

  4. I want in on that theology course.

  5. Is it known whether anyone collected the prize?



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