Does the Community of Lily Dale Reconnect the Living and the Dead?



In eighteen forty, eight, two young women known as the Fox sisters heard mysterious wrappings in their house in Rochester New York and claimed that they were messages from the spirit world. Enough people at the time believed the sisters that an entire new field known as spiritualism was born. Based in European, philosophic writings from previous centuries spiritualism was and is a structured belief that humans consist of a body, a soul, and spirit. When someone dies the belief goes the soul and spirit live on in a spirit realm. According to a study published in the Journal of Religion in Nineteen, thirty quote the chief duty of these spirits is to look after the welfare and progress of those on earth. Upstate New York at that time was already a hotbed of intellectual communities so hot that it was known as the burned over district for the nearly constant religious revivals took place they're. Just Smith the founder of mormonism got his start their. Literary and intellectual community of Chautauqua where feminist four mothers. Susan B. Anthony Hung Out was nearby. So in a way spiritualism that right in. In eighteen eighty, the Lily Dale spiritualist assembly, it was founded at the Eighteen Acre Casadei Lakes Free Association camp for spiritualist gatherings in nineteen O six. The whole community was renamed Lily Dale. Now, more than a century later, it sounds kind of weird and which he and campy but Lily Dale was incredibly popular in its early days. It began holding summer camps in the eighteen nineties that were well attended to put it. Mildly Susan B. Anthony was one of the many who visited to check out the mediums. A journalist working for the New York Times stayed in eighteen, ninety eight and reported that a quarter million people went to the tiny town every year. The reporter noted mediums as a class are strange beings. At the time of his visit mediums were charging one hundred dollars per session, which is about three thousand dollars today. Interestingly the price for reading is currently around eighty to one hundred dollars in today's dollars. He witnessed a few of the techniques that came to be associated with Lily Dale such as an ear trumpet that would rise from the floor and deliver a message directly into an attendees ear. Mediums Lily Dale also used a slate on which spirits could write messages. You may be surprised to learn the candles incense are forbidden at Lily. Dale. The buildings and the community are very old and very wooden, and it doesn't take a medium to know what will happen if there's an open flame. Well actually, they know very well, what will happen the Fox sisters original house was mood from Rochester to Toledo but went up in flames in nineteen, fifty five. Spiritualism declined in the twentieth century but Lily Dale remained a stronghold was summer camps continuing every year. For the past several years, attendance has also held steady at twenty, thousand, thirty thousand visitors going there in search of clarity indirection though this year visitor numbers were restricted to just eighty per day was social distancing and mask rules in place in addition to other precautions. A study published in the review of religious research in nineteen eighty found that only a small percentage of visitors. At that time, we're going to talk to a dead family member. The study's authors came to the conclusion that the kind of spiritualism practiced at Hillsdale was more like a religious sect than a cult. The difference being that sex are usually breakoffs from mainstream religions whereas cults tend to involve novel ideas. The study concluded that the mediums at Lily Dale might be doing people a service by granting them a level of peace and acceptance. The researchers wrote if spirit communication can be associated with madness, it's also possible to view the medium as a mental health resource. Whether people still visit, Lily. Vail. Today for clarity and direction or they want to make contact with the other side probably comes down to the individual. But since the nineteen seventies, the number of mediums and the population of lily male have soared. Back. Then the village was home to about twenty five to thirty mediums residents during the summer camps and a dozen or so who stayed on to keep up the town year round. Today under normal circumstances, visitors are welcome in the off season and Lily Dale has a year round population of two hundred fifty as well as the Post Office Volunteer Fire Department Library and playground there's also a coffee shop two restaurants a few gift shops some guest houses a hotel and museum. The National Spiritualist Association of Churches is located there. But members of the Lily del Assembly can lease houses in the community. But back to the mediums. Now, there are some forty registered mediums and all aspirants have to pass a test consisting of three readings before being established in the community. And they are still the main a draw. What are people are going in hopes of receiving or conveying a message to dad loved ones is totally personal and depends on their belief in the mediums abilities. Under normal circumstances, those interested don't have to pony up for a private session either there is a day use fee for anyone who wants to go and simply roam the streets and attend the public meditations and services, and you can visit inspiration stump where services have been held since eighteen, ninety eight. This year all workshops classes, and some circles were held virtually. One thing has not changed throughout Lily Tales history. The community has always emphasized sobriety humility and a decided lack of showmanship. They may appreciate a good pun but they take their work seriously. They also emphasized that the future is not written in stone everyone has free will.

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