My travels bring me to some of the coolest, most interesting, and unusual places in the country. One place, in upstate New York, proved to be worthy to top the list on the unique scale, and one I speak of often. I love having my fortune told, prefer a reading to cards, and think that spiritualism is incredibly interesting. See how this unfolds with my almost-eerie visit to Lily Dale Assembly, the world’s largest community and most visited spiritualist site.
First, you have to be open-minded to the things you cannot explain, don’t see logical, and often, cannot see, to get the maximum benefit. I’ve had what many refer to as “ghost encounters” for 30 years of my life. I’ve had readings that came true, found objects that weren’t there five minutes ago, seen apparitions, had signs from deceased loved ones, and the list goes on and on. Let’s talk about my visit to the Lily Dale Assembly.
Scientific studies have shown that we all have the ability to experience the unexplained, with ranges from unexplained memories or happenings in regards to smell, sight, touch, taste, and hearing.
What to Expect at The Assembly
The Lily Dale Assembly (I’ll refer to as LDA here on out), founded in 1879, is the most famous and largest spiritual center. Spiritualism is the name that describes the practice in relation to science, religion, and philosophy. It simply means that death transitions us to the afterlife, and those who know how, can communicate with both living and deceased through intuition.
When you drive into the LDA, you’ll see street after street of charming and some, typical, houses. This is where the practitioners live. If you wish to have a reading, you can refer to the signs or docket posted on the doors to see their availability, hours, and price ranges.
Choosing a Psychic For a Reading
With so many to choose from, I had a hard time picking. I ended up selecting the house that caught my attention with a huge covered front porch and enormous light fixtures that were stunning. It so happened to be Rev. John C. White, unbeknownst to me, the most famous Lily Dale resident.
When my friend, Howard of Backroad Planet, and I visited LDA, it was the end of the rigorous 10-week summer season. During that time, a full calendar of events are offered with lectures, meditation, ghost walks, and even séances, for visitors to explore. There is a $15 gate fee to enter the assembly and some activities require a ticket that may be purchased or reserved in advance. From what I hear, Europeans are some of the biggest groups visiting Lily Dale, so tickets may be scarce as we know they aren’t waiting until the last minute to reserve their spots.
Sightseeing Around the Assembly
For Howard and I, the end of the season meant that after months of the camp being at capacity with visitors, scholars, and students, it had finally quietened down for a much needed break. A 20-year employee for LDA showed us around and gave us the run down on the happenings of the spiritualist camp.
He took us to the auditorium where the weekly indoor services are held, the Healing Temple, and the lakefront area known as Inspiration Stump, where seminars take place. Inspiration Stump is a huge outdoor space and occupies a vortex of unexplained spiritual energy that attracts many visitors. It may be the biggest do-not-miss of all at Lily Dale, and you can almost feel a thickness in the air as you wander the hallowed grounds.
As I went to the door of Rev. White to book a reading, a young girl answered the door and informed me that he was meditating (the last of his five or six hour ritual) at the moment, but I could come back later. I walked around the community, admiring the cute fairy gardens and whimsical trinkets placed in the front yards and windows, then went back for my appointment.
Rev. White reminded me of a cross between Frankie Valli and Richard Simmons. He was friendly and led me into his home where I sat on a couch and he pulled up a straight back chair in front of me. He explained how his readings work and told me I could record our session, which I promptly did with my phone.
I felt out of sorts closing my eyes and getting into the reading, and it took a few minutes before I was comfortable. I think that with a nearly $200 price tag for a 30-minute session, I was not sure what to expect, making it harder to relax. The only time Rev. White and I touched was when I mentioned a person for my reading and then we shook hands as I said the name aloud. One of his special abilities is to time travel, straight into the minds of those we are talking about. This was my first reading with someone so insightful and I know it may sound a little hokey, especially to skeptics, but it is a thing, and very helpful as you will soon see.
Duplicate Reading Connections
Something I found fascinating, is that the first four things the psychic told me, were identical to the first four I was told from my reading in Cassadaga, Florida, which I haven’t written about yet. First, was that my deceased grandmother was furious that I was having a reading, and she was standing arms crossed with a stern scowl on her face. I had three grandmothers, and none were believers in what they would have called “witchcraft”, so it could have been any of the three.
Then, Rev. White discussed my son-in-law, calling out exactly what his profession was, though I had not told him, and a future thing that he would be dealing with. Then came changes in regards to my job, two of them, one of which has since happened.
The reading ranged from those who have passed in my life, to my career with my daughter (we blog together), our homes in Panama and what the selling market would be like, and the such. Two things happened at my reading that would come into play weeks later, and they were both life changing.
Heed Warning: My Reading Intensifies
Rev. White asked me if my daughter (Taylor, the blog partner) was pregnant. Yes, she was around 24 weeks at the time of my reading. He then asked her due date (January 10th) and stressed that she should not travel far from home after December. Then he backed up and said October, informing me that I shouldn’t be too worried, but that she would have to go to the emergency room in the wee hours of the morning. Taylor did, in fact, deliver at 27 weeks and went to the ER around midnight.
The second oddity is that he asked if my mother was still living. Yes, she was. At the time, she had broken her leg and was at a skilled nursing facility in Charleston, WV, healing. She was of sound mind and body. When I answered him that, yes, she was still alive, he quizzically responded “really”?
I didn’t think much about that at the time, but 10 days after my daughter delivered a preemie baby girl (who is well and thriving), my mother passed from heart failure with no notice. It still haunts me that I didn’t pay more attention to the way he questioned my response, and if I would have done things differently as a result of that.
Lily Dale Assembly: A Visit I Won’t Forget
Back on track, our visit to Lily Dale was a most interesting one and something I will never forget. You are sure to be intrigued by the stories of the Fox Sisters, thought of as the creators of Spiritualism worldwide. There is much banter as to whether or not the sisters claims were a hoax, but you can form your own opinion.
Their original colorful homes, where the sisters made the claim of communicating with spirits, is on the property at Lily Dale. It was moved there in 1916 and adds a certain flair to the mystical property. You can still visit the original site of the Fox home in Neward, New York, at Hydesville Memorial Park.
If you would like to know more about Lily Dale, check out HBO’s No One Dies in Lily Dale documentary. The reverend in the movie is the one I had a personal reading from. Part of it will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck!