Saturday August 21, 2010 – Day 3

Today we went to Lily Dale for the first time. It was very interesting. Lily Dale is a gated community and in order to get in, you have to buy a pass at the gate. Since we'll be here all week, we decided to get a week long pass which cost us $50.00 each.

Since it was the weekend, it was a bit crowded and we had trouble finding a place to park. Finally we parked up on the hill toward the back of the complex. Nearby was a building marked “Forest Temple”.

Kathy and I both love nature, so the thought of a forest temple has a lot of appeal to me. The complex is surrounded by a lake on one side and a large “old growth” forest on the other.

They say the forest hasn't been cut for at least 200 years, which reminded me of “The Lost 40” in Minnesota, a place where the forest was overlooked by early loggers who clear-cut the forests of Minnesota in the 1800s.

The tall pines and maples reminded me of a song by Yes called “Take the Water To the Mountain”. My favorite lyric from the song is “Let the forest be salvation, long before it needs to be.” That's me. To me, God is everywhere, manifest in all things. I've never felt the need to go to a church, temple, mosque or synagogue to visit God or pray or even just to say hello.

We walked around the grounds of Lily Dale, looking at the old houses and taking lots of pictures. Many of the old houses have been here for more than one hundred years.

The original cottage of the Fox Sisters was, at some point, transported from its original location to Lily Dale, but in 1955 (I think) it burned down. There are photos of it, and a memorial where it once stood.

We walked to the Lily Dale library where we saw a video on Spiritualism and its history. It was very interesting. People asked us, “Have you seen the HBO special?” We hadn't. I had not even heard they made one. Maybe when we get back I'll have to track it down and watch it.

The houses around town are very old and quite small.

Many of them have interesting decorations in their yards.

Some of the houses have old photos posted outside so you can see how the house looked a hundred years ago at the golden age of spiritualism.

We visited the Lily Dale book store where I gave a few copies of my books to the owner and promoted it. Now I can write the trip off on my taxes!

At 1:00pm we walked to a place deep in the middle of the forest called “Inspiration Stump.” This is the remnants of an old tree stump where for countless years, mediums stood up and delivered messages from the spirits of relatives who have passed on.

At some point, to accommodate the aging mediums, a set of cement stairs was built to the top of the stump. Now the stump is deteriorated and encased in cement, but the location is still thought of as a sacred space for the Spiritualists.

It's said to have been built on a “vortex” or psychic energy point. Often, people go there just to meditate, especially at night. None of the messages given at the service were addressed to Kathy or me.

After the service, we did more shopping and took more photos.

At 4:00 p.m. We went to another message service at the Forest Temple. Again, neither of us were called on. Still, it was interesting to see the mediums do their job.

There are three kinds of mediums here: resident mediums, visiting mediums and student mediums. The resident mediums undergo rigid testing and are verified by a board who oversees such things. Most mediums fail their tests. If I remember correctly, on a typical year, two mediums will pass the test and eight will fail. Still, there are forty registered mediums in the town of Lily Dale, and it's a tiny town. You can easily walk its perimeter in an hour or so.