Dead Set Lily Dale

On the shores of Lake Cassadaga, New York State is a most unusual community.

Called Lily Dale, and also known as Lily Dale Assembly, it is a spiritualist community that is home to mediums, healers and psychics who open up their community to people seeking to contact the deceased.

For people to set up residency in Lily Dale they must be able to prove that they have the gift of healing, or of being in contact with members of the spirit world.  Their definition of a spiritualist is “one who believes, as the basis of his or her religion, in the continuity of life and in individual responsibility”. I’m not exactly sure how someone proves that they can channel the dead, but they obviously have some scientific way of doing so.

Spiritualism has been practised in Lily Dale since 1879, and it claims to be the world’s largest centre for spiritualist development. The residents, and their followers, believe that the energy of the universal life force is extremely strong there.

Events take place mainly in summer and include meditation services and healing services, but participants can also have private sessions with mediums if they wish.

The two main public places where services take place are at the Healing Temple, which is an indoor venue, and at the Inspiration Stump, which is situated outdoors at a small grove in the Leolyn Woods. Believers can follow the fairy trail and visit the pet cemetery for inspiration.    

There is a cost involved in visiting Lily Dale as they charge a daily gate fee of $10 per person, but if you currently serve in the military access is for free.  Accommodation is available at the two hotels, in the Caravan and RV Park and in the guest houses, which have appropriate names like The Gingerbread House, Zen Glen, Harmony House and Divine Wisdom Centre.

There are 39 registered mediums operating in Lily Dale, and they invite guest mediums during the summer season to help deal with the crowds.

Lily Dale is located about one hour south of Buffalo, near the town of Pomfret.  The town has been featured in a movie length documentary film and a series of books about the paranormal by author Wendy Corsi Staub are set in the town.

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