Commune Communing with the Dead – The New Indian Express

Express press service

If you are a traveler mourning the loss of a loved one, perhaps even a beloved pet, and find yourself in upstate New York, chances are may you have a chance to find solace in Lily Dale, the oldest spiritualist commune in the United States. . Drive past the quaint Victorian homes that slumber along roads lined with red oak trees and you’ll spot signs for ‘Medium Open’ or you’ll see the Healing Temple. There’s even a pet cemetery; no connection to Stephen King although the metaphor seems appropriate. Lily Dale, founded in 1879 on Upper Cassadaga Lake and surrounded by a huge forest, as a spiritualism summer camp, is now a destination for seances, sending and receiving ethereal messages, and training and supervision of mediums. Originally, it was supposed to be a city exclusively for spiritualists. Each year, the township, which receives about 22,000 visitors (the number almost never changes) between June and September, has about 250 permanent and semi-permanent members, 36 of whom are registered mediums who charge between $80 and $100 to send messages to the dead. .

Lily Dale, the oldest spiritualist community in the United States; (below) Forest Temple

So who is a medium? According to the Reverend Dr. Janice L Dreshman, ordained spiritual minister at Lily Dale, a medium is “an intermediary between our physical world and the people, animals, and other beings who live in the realm of Spirit. In common parlance, a medium is someone who speaks to the dead. A medium can also receive information from pets, angels, spirit guides, and other people in the Spirit world. It’s not easy to be one here. At the courier services, experienced seniors evaluate aspiring psychics on stage. The seven psychics who make up Lily Dale’s board of directors and run the commune are tasked with testing them. More than a thousand people attend four courier services: two outdoors at the Inspiration Stump, which Lily Dale says is a spiritually charged tree stump covered in concrete, one at the Forest Temple which has was established in 1894 and the daily 7 O’Clock Monday Night Circles. The procedure at all of these services is similar to seances everywhere – after a short meditative prayer, a medium tries to listen to ghostly voices and asks the audience if they recognize the deceased person. These mediums are part of the Lily Dale Assembly, which has members all over the world. People all over the world can get readings from psychics through Zoom.

In addition to feeling the spirits, the small town of Lily Dale also has a sense of humor. A sign reads: ‘I can read your mind and you should be ashamed of yourself.’ There is a small history museum in town with a spiritual message from Abraham Lincoln. But in no way should mediums be confused with astrologers or fortune tellers; mediums only transmit the messages they receive from the spirit world. In today’s world where death and fate stalk the world in mutated forms, Lily Dale’s message bearers see themselves as bridges between hope and despair.

Joan D. Boling