The Magnetic Girl

Lulu Hurst has been tugging on my sleeve for a few years now, even though she is, as we say in the South, passed. Lulu was a marvel – literally. In 1883, when she was thirteen, she may or may not have engaged the wonders of what was then known as “magnetism,” to move objects, lift grown men in chairs, and maybe – maybe – stop a runaway train.

Lulu toured the US for eighteen months, from Cedartown, Georgia, to Anaconda, Montana, from New York to Charleston. She made a bunch of money. She bought nice clothes. She may have lifted her family out of debt. Spiritualist societies met and determined she was indeed otherwordly. Cynics scoffed and said she was a hoax. Harry Houdini debunked her (but he was on a tear about his mom, right?).

Only Lulu really knows what happened, but I have a pretty good idea.

Planning to be near Cedartown, Georgia on Tuesday, March 27th? If you’re there, come by the Polk County Historical Society at 7pm and join the good folks there to hear me read from my novel-in-progress! There will be magnetism explained! 205 South College Street, Cedartown.

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