Bob’s sister, Cynthia, was in town last week. Cynthia spent the past week visiting with family members, and at least one friend, and doing genealogy research. On one afternoon Cynthia delivered a painting by Esther Boyd of the Warren Train Station to the Warren Public Library for permanent display in the Wetmore Gallery, where it was first displayed in 1958. Cynthia came into possession of the painting by purchasing it via an online auction. The painting, which had been in storage on the west coast, was water damaged, had flaking paint, and was dirty.
Now that I have laid the groundwork for a day spent with Cynthia, I will move swiftly forward.
Bob and I accompanied Cynthia to Lily Dale, New York (official website) this past Saturday. Lily Dale is located in Chautauqua County at the north end of Cassadaga Lake, next to the village of Cassadaga. Lily Dale was established in 1879 and is a community dedicated to the religion of Spiritualism. Lily Dale became the center of the Spiritualist movement when the childhood home of Kate and Margaret Fox was moved from Hydesville, New York to Lily Dale in 1916. This established Lily Dale as the home of Spiritualism in the United States. Lily Dale is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in the paranormal. A large population of mediums and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.
Here is a map of Lily Dale, which I snipped from the community’s official website. If desired, you can view a larger-size map by clicking here.
Upon reaching Lily Dale, our first destination was the Leolyn Woods.
Found at the end of the Leolyn Woods is Inspiration Stump.
Inspiration Stump is a spiritual retreat. This stump dates from 1898 and is believed to be an energy vortex in the community. According to Lily Dale’s official website, it “is not unusual to become more aware of the spiritual energies while in this open and receptive state at the Stump.” Services are held here twice daily from late June to early September. “Demonstrations of mediumship are presented by the mediums giving short messages to those in the audience…As well as possibly receiving a message of meaning at Inspiration Stump, you may well renew your own Spiritual energies.” Participants in the services report that they feel an unusual power when sitting in the clearing around the stump, and that they have clearer visions and are able to meditate or commune with spirits much more easily here than anywhere else. For the record, I didn’t feel any unusual power while at the stump. I didn’t commune with any spirits.
Please note that Inspiration Stump stands surrounded by a metal gate. This wasn’t the case in October 2007, when my stepdaughter Stacey and I visited Lily Dale. That October day in 2007 was my first visit to Lily Dale. Saturday’s visit was my second visit.
After seeing Inspiration Stump, we drove through Lily Dale making a few stops along the way.
These stone structures are located next to the Bargain Shoppe at 14 East Street. The plaque above the fireplace mantel reads: “For the communion of kindred souls”. I attempted to find more information about these stone structures but to no avail. Until I stepped near these stone structures, squirrels and blue jays were enjoying the peanuts and birdseed lying on top of the round stone.
Continuing on East Street we stopped at the Healing Temple.
The Healing Temple dates from 1955. According to Lily Dale’s official website, it is “a place of peace for all those who come to renew their energies through healing or quiet meditation and prayer… There is a sacredness to the energy of the Temple that many people feel just walking through the doors.” On hindsight I wish I had determined whether or not it was possible to go inside the Temple. I would have loved to have seen the stained glass windows from inside the Temple.
Located at the northeast corner of Lily Dale is the site of a memorial to the Fox family. Earlier in this post I mentioned that Lily Dale became the center of the Spiritualist movement when the childhood home of Kate and Margaret Fox was moved from Hydesville, New York to Lily Dale. All that remains of the Fox home is a stone foundation upon which lies a memorial plaque.
I took a few photographs of the homes, most of which I believe are occupied by mediums, along Cleveland Avenue and Cottage Row.
At the northern end of Cottage Row is the Lily Dale Auditorium.
I didn’t photograph the Lily Dale Auditorium during Saturday’s visit, so I will share with you this picture that I took in October 2007. I did, however, photograph the mushroom-shaped gazebo shown in the foreground of this picture during Saturday’s visit.
I posted photographs from our Lily Dale visit first on Facebook and have received a few questions about Lily Dale and pictures of interest. I trust that this blog post and the links provided herein will provide answers for all the questions from my Facebook friends.