Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

In Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead, Christine Wicker packs her bags and takes a good honest look at the Spiritualist community of Lily Dale and the mediums that call the place home. She views every experience with an open and respectful, yet unapologetic and skeptical eye, which I appreciated… even if I felt a bit guilty for appreciating it. The reader gets to follow what ends up being a cast of fascinating characters, including guests, mediums, and other members of the community. She asks the questions many of us would probably want to ask, but wouldn’t, because we’d be afraid of being offensive. Christine covers the good, the bad, and the dysfunction of Lily Dale (even juicy gossip among mediums)! And even though she stubbornly refuses to have a spiritual experience, there’s evidence that she does, even if it’s just temporary. 

In the last five years or so, I’ve spent much of my time reading, experimenting, and researching all things “spirit communication”. After first reading about Lily Dale in a book about Spiritualism and the famous Fox Sisters, and after conversations with medium Lee Allen Howard and hearing about his trips to the famous Spiritualist camp, it has been a destination I’ve been very interested in learning about and possibly visiting. Also, six months ago I watched and reviewed No One Dies in Lily Dale, the HBO documentary. As I mentioned in the comments of a recent post about this book, I think I’m going to have to watch the documentary again after reading Christine’s take on it all. I’ll make it to Lily Dale one of these days, but in the meantime I feel like the experience of reading this book was the next best thing. 

Do you have any other recommendations on the topic of Lily Dale? Let me know in the comments below! 

(Speaking of taking my word for it, you may be interested in LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow Kickstarter project.) 


About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

10 responses to “Lily Dale: The Town That Talks to the Dead

  • Sally Bosco

    Interesting article! We have a town like that in FL–Casa Dega. Interesting place. My friends and I used to go there to get readings.

  • Gary Leigh

    Yes, interesting article.

    You’ve inspired me to ask Omen what ghosts are and why they do what they do. Would make for an interesting read for sure.

    • Patrick Keller

      Oh great. Your Omen scares me. 🙂

      • Gary Leigh

        Yeah, right lol.

        But he did write a lengthy response in a staggering short amount of time.

        It will be a while before it gets published on the blog, but thought I’d share the first couple of paragraphs with you as food for thought.

        We simply call your ghosts ‘the human deceased’ or ‘deaders’ (while in comparison living humans are ‘breathers’.) They are as their namesake denotes, humans who have died and are not flesh anymore, however we do not consider them to be legitimate spirits, but I will get to that point further on.

        So, if they are dead but they are still present, where are they? They exist on a pseudo-physical layer of reality, one that is closest to the physical world itself yet far away from the spirit world, and they are limited to that particular ‘vicinity’ (not that there is any kind of mass or legitimate space or distance in physical terms there.) This doesn’t mean they are trapped or in ‘limbo’ or ‘purgatory’ as you religious ones might say, they simply don’t know there is more outside of where they reside and so they simply don’t try to move further away from the physical world as there is just not context for travel or awareness within them. Yes, it can happen in some rare cases and some human spirits go on to become ‘fully fledged’ and aware as we say, but that is another topic altogether.

  • deborahjhughes

    I’ve been to Lily Dale. My husband and I stayed at the old hotel there. It was very affordable and had a spooky sorry of feel to it. We loved the community there and the general feeling of peace and friendiness. We attended some of the workspace and found those quite interesting. The café that serves homemade baked goods was so sinfully good and sitting on their covered, comfy porch watching people come and go was rather enjoyable to! We even dreamed of living in a community like that. I found the people living there to be genuine and the people visiting were open and eager. .. all looking for more to what life is all about. I will definitely go back again.

    • Patrick Keller

      Well that settles it! I have to go now! I think I’m actually more excited about staying at the hotel or one of the homes more than anything else. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • lara314

    I’ve been there a couple of times. It’s a great community. I loved taking some of the classes they offer and listening to the mediums giving messages at inspiration stump. Really a great place!

  • LeeAllenHoward

    I read this book too. Wicker was a bit too jaded and skeptical for my tastes, but she did bring out some interesting points. Thanks for the shout out, Patrick. Your blog is a terrific resource!

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