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Talking To Spirits: The Lily Dale Assembly

Updated on March 22, 2009

Is Death Just A Transition?

A Spiritualist By Definition

Someone who through their religious beliefs, upheld in the faith that everyone must accept individual responsibility for their life which is in continum. Some of these Spiritualists are believed to be Mediums and/or Healers. The ideology of the Spiritualists is to attempt to find the truth in all things, and to try to live their lives in that truth.

What Is Spiritualism?

"Spiritualism" is a religion that not many have heard much about in the past 50- 60 years or so. In the mid twentieth century Spiritualism was fashionably popular, boasting a thriving estimation of millions of members worldwide.

For the Spiritualists, the strongest basis of their belief system is that death, in the practical sense, doesn't exist. To the Spiritualist faithful death is just a transition; the deceased are still around us and active in our lives. The passed-on are called Spirit, not ghost. To the Spiritualitist the word "ghost" is to be looked down upon and avoided. A spirit is willing to communicate with those still in the physical plane, and are believed to do so through mediums.

Spiritualists generally believe in a God in much the same way as those in Christianity do. The major difference between a Christian and a Spiritualist is that Spiritualist mediums will give readings on past lives, though a belief in reincarnation is not an official belief for the Spiritualist's religion. Many of it's members believe in souls having multiple incarnations, but many Spiritualists do not. Church services are held in the religion, but members of the church speak openly as though delivering messages from Spirit during the church gatherings.

What Is Lily Dale?

An early group of Spiritualists bought some land in New York state, and named the grounds Lily Dale, after the abundance of water lilies on the lake. Lily Dale wasn't just a campsite, but also a meeting area where Spiritualists could come and discuss their beliefs; as well as practice their healing and mediumship. The grounds grew to become the world's largest center of modern Spiritualism.

The Lily Dale Assembly of Pomfret, New York, was established in 1879 as a gated community for members of the religion. To this day Lily Dale is residence to mediums, healers and members. During a few months in the summer, Lily Dale opens its gates, and thousands of people flock to this tiny town to get readings from the mediums. Many of these outside people also join the open sessions in  hopes of being picked from the crowd, to have a message delivered to them. Classes are taught in Lily Dale, in everything from mediumship to energy healing. Spiritualism has been called by scholars, " a new religious movement, that has its roots in ancient traditions." While Spiritualism is not as popular as it once was. The religion is still, if not a rapidly growing influential movement today.

Lily Dale - Phantom Tour 13 Most Haunted Places

The Fox Sisters, left to right: Margaret(1836–1893), Kate(1838–1892), Leah(1814–1890)
The Fox Sisters, left to right: Margaret(1836–1893), Kate(1838–1892), Leah(1814–1890)

The Origins of Spiritualism: Kate and Margaret Fox

The Birth Of Modern Spiritualism

The modren Spiritualist movement is said to have been started in Hydesville, New York, a town near Rochester. When two young girls, the Fox sisters, on March 31, 1848, Margaret and Kate Fox claimed that, through rapping, tapping, knocking sounds, the girls had made contact with the deceased. The physical evidence of knocking spirit grabbed the attention, and the imagination of the scientific-minded American public. The two sisters, accompanied by their older sister Leah became a sensation overnight. This modern-take of an older based religion became popular especially with the women of the era. The thought of contacting those that have passed-on through trance, or channeling and recieving messages from the beyond was exciting, paticularly to the wealthy.

Later, Margaret Fox said they had made it all up, but years later the sisters retracted the statement, leaving many confused and skeptical. But even without Kate and Margaret Fox the religion of Spiritualism kept on rising steadily, until the 1920s, because of bad publicity and fraud claims.  

Spiritualism today is gradually gaining ground once again, with thanks to novels, many paranormal television shows, as well as a public interest, "in life beyond this realm." The believers of Spiritualism, say they are able to contact the spirits of the departed through gifted members of the group, called mediums (the word psychics is not used).

In 1916, the infamous Fox family cottage was moved from Hydesville to Lily Dale, where the Spiritualists of America held their annual camp meetings. Since the addition of the cottage, the community of Lily Dale had grown steadily. The Fox cottage was destroyed by fire in 1955, but Lily Dale continued to prosper.

Lily Dale has evolved into an industry based on contact with the spirit world. They offer a full program of summer workshops in topics ranging from astrology, paranormal investigation, past-life regression, channeling the "higher mind", intuitive medicine, Reiki, Falun Dafa, and using sweat lodges.

Spiritualist Village of Lily Dale, New York

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Inspiration StumpInspiration Stump
Inspiration Stump
Inspiration Stump
Inspiration Stump
Inspiration Stump
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Some Unique Experiences And Attractions


Fairy Trail

The Lily Dale Fairy Trail is marked by pink fairies on the trees. The trail has fairy houses, gnome homes and small villages located along the trail. The Fairy Trail shares part of the hiking trail for the Woodland Heritage, winding through the woods and offering natural beauty.

Forest Temple

The Forest Temple is an area of extraordinary tranquility. It has been used as a site for meditation, prayer and connection to the world of Spirit since 1894.

Inspiration Stump

Inspiration Stump is the site of some of the most profound spiritual energy in all of Lily Dale. It is not unusual for visitors to the Stump to experience a strong sense of heightened awareness and profound peace.

Healing Temple

Dedicated spiritual healing, the Healing Temple was opened in 1955. It has remained a place of peace for all those who come to renew their energies through healing or quiet meditation and prayer. It is home to the Lily Dale Spiritualist Church.

Lakeside Assembly Hall

Since the 1880’s, the Assembly Hall has been a hub of activity in the community. Many portraits of the historical leaders in the Spiritualist Movement grace its walls. It is now the home of the Church of the Living Spirit.

Lily Dale Auditorium

The Lily Dale Auditorium is the historical center of Lily Dale and has been the scene of many remarkable events.

Marion Skidmore Library

The Marion Skidmore Library contains the largest collection of rare Spiritualist and metaphysical books in the world. Because the books are irreplaceable, they may not be taken from the premises. A reading room is available for research and study.

Pet Cemetery

There is a place that honors the bond between people and their pets. Pets also find peace and joy in the afterlife, but remain connected to their beloved people still on the physical plane.

Fox Cottage (burned down in 1955)

The Fox cottage was considered so important to the religion that it was moved to Lily Dale in 1915 and set up as a shrine to Spiritualism. In 1955 a fire destroyed the cottage, but some artifacts were saved and can still be seen in the Lily Dale Museum.

The 13th screen: Lily Dale


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I loved when Michelle Whitedove was in Lilydale.She goes onto Journey Into The Light on Blog Talk Radio twice a month.The man who host's the show is David Long but his real name is Michael.He had a bad past where he sold fake swiss watches but turned his life around.If you donate to the show,Michelle and Michael will be sure you get a reading.Hope to see you there.

  • Christopher Price profile image

    Christopher Price 

    8 years ago from Vermont, USA

    Interesting. I'm open to most anything though I try to maintain a healthy skepticism.

    I spent a year in love with a young woman who was psychically gifted and I ended up reading a number of the "Seth Speaks" books. I'd like to revisit them just for the experience.

    Good hub.


  • profile image


    9 years ago

    You forgot to mention there is a very nice and informative MUSEUM.

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    I am glad you have such strong faith, but nothing wrong with checking out something that has piqued your interests. All the best to you and yours.

  • profile image

    Aurelius Stryker 

    9 years ago

    I'm a practicing Roman Catholic and I will die One, but I find this stuff fascinating and I wanna get more into it. I live in Buffalo so maybe i'll take a trip there this summer. maybe even get in touch with my grandma as well

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Jewels I have not heard anything negative in anyone's experience of Lily Dale. Most say that its a lovely, peaceful place.

    ...but yes, use caution in spiritual matters. Thank you for bringing up an important point.

  • Jewels profile image


    9 years ago from Australia

    Not all is as it seems though, I'd be quite cautious about walking into a place that could invoke the good, bad and ugly. Spiritual spaces are many and varied and unless you have a good sense of discernment, you could bring anything down on your head, literally. I would certainly be curious to see what they do.

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Trish... after our little comment conversation on the Robert hub... I am without a doubt you would enjoy Lily Dale. Thank you for popping by and chacking this hub out.

    MistyHorizon... It makes me happy knowing that you enjoyed this read. There are pockets of Spiritulist groups throughout the world. Lily Dale is just the largest. I'm sure I'll be revisiting many spiritual subjects, especially since I concider myself religion neutral...

    I too, am surpised at the positive comments, but I believe positive begats positive.

    Much appreciation to you both!

  • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

    Cindy Lawson 

    9 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

    Hi St. James, Really enjoyed this article as it is on a subject I have a strong belief in. It is also refreshing to read such open minded comments afterwards. Would love to read more similar hubs if you write them :)

  • trish1048 profile image


    9 years ago

    This sounds like a place I'd love to visit. Something different other than the hum-drum getaways. I'd like to believe I lived in the Victorian era, or that I once was a detective. I love all things Victorian and am an avid true crime reader.

    I bookmarked this for future reference. Thanks for another interesting read!

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    White Atlantic... Maybe there is a bit of research that can be done, about many other beliefs? There have been a few others I've been debating on doing and may be something I'll work on in the near future. ... Thank You, it is very much appreciated.

  • white atlantic profile image

    white atlantic 

    9 years ago from INDIA

    do u know more abt paganism or other witchcrafst?in india u can see a thousands of this types n oyher spiriy calling methods............nice one

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    PackerPack I think Lily Dale would be an interesting visit. If not for any other reason than its unique and from everything I have read and heard very peaceful. I guess it not a wierd tourist trap, and the citizens of Lily Dale aren't the type to try to convert you. You are welcome to walk about Lily Dale freely.. . how many religion based areas allow that?

    Thank you.

  • packerpack profile image

    Om Prakash Singh 

    9 years ago from India, Calcutta

    Hey man, now do I need to tell you that this is yet another good hub from you as always? If you have gone through my hub on God and religion then you would know what a good piece of information you have shared here. I am always in the lookout for these kind of places. Unfortunately my hectic schedule leaves very little scope for me. However, I will make sure to visit this place sooner or later. Thumbs up!

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    AEvans.. no worries here. As far as I am concern speak your mind, and say your peace... don't let the feeble-minded get to you.

    Jewels.. Welcome! always good to have one more "come-out."

    DjBryle Works... Thanks for driving-by and giving me your comments. Much Appreciated.

  • profile image

    DjBryle Works 

    9 years ago

    Very interesting and informative! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jewels profile image


    9 years ago from Australia

    I have found what works.I'm not sure who made that rule, they need to be tarred and feathered.  Cause I believe being spiritual does not have to align with organized religion and when I first heard it was I didn't want to be spiritual!  It is why I choose not to have a label.  So I'll come out of the closet and say "I'm Jewels, and I'm not part of an organized religion, but I am a spiritual being having a human experience, but I'm also not a spiritualist, but I do spiritual things, and see spiritual presences."

    Good to get clarity. LOL

  • AEvans profile image


    9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    it is very interesting as honestly I am quite open minded , that you can trust me on as some of my articles I have written in the past several weeks, has had my hand slapped by a few, so I did enjoy it tremendously.:)

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Jewels many people confuse being spiritual or having spirituality to spiritualism or Spiritualist. Being a spiritual person does mean you are part of an organized religion. Yes you can be spiritual and part of a religious denomination. Spiritualism/ Spiritualist is what is the focus of this Hub. Find for you what does work for you.

    Thank you Frieda Babbley, there is a bit of experience mixed into this piece. I may not have been to Lily Dale, but just out of curiousity about a decade ago I attended a Spiritualism group. It was interesting and I witnessed a few things that could have lead me to believe in Spiritualism, but I'm just not an organize religion kinda guy.

    AEvans...So glad you could stop by. Everyone has the choice of free will to believe in what is right for them. Personally I have picked up and read many a religious text, because I just wanted to know. Religion is not really a hot- bed issue for me. I find it all I am the last person to pass any judgement. I'm just happy you found this interesting enough to comment on it.

    Thank you all!

  • AEvans profile image


    9 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

    Quite interesting as I believe in healers it is in the Bible and God has given people different gifts, however some of Christianity may not agree, but honestly they should pick up the book. Informative information as I am always one who loves to gain knowledge. :)

  • Frieda Babbley profile image

    Frieda Babbley 

    9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

    You did a fabulous job on this hub. A lot of research, or experience. This is sooo interesting. I really like that you added the "Unique experiences and attractions". Pet cemetary, very cool. Very interesting videos as well. May West, hmh. I love the museum lady. She was great to listen to. Fascinating stuff here! I'm passing this one on.

  • Jewels profile image


    9 years ago from Australia

    Another ist. Interesting hub. To be honest I'd not looked into what being a spiritualist was and I'd assumed it was different to this. Thanks for the info, appreciated.

  • St.James profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Lurking Around Florida

    Thank you Shalini Kagal... Its been a while since I've written about anything spiritual. Glad you found it interesting, yet eerie..

  • Shalini Kagal profile image

    Shalini Kagal 

    9 years ago from India

    Very, very interesting - yes, a bit eerie too - but incredible - thanks!


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