Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker

I was reading this book on Halloween weekend, on a plane to New York at 7pm. I'd not bothered to put on any makeup, I'd been at work that day since 6:30 a.m., my hair was pulled up on top of my head, messy, an upside down ponytail of sorts. My nails were painted black, my pentagram ring in its usual location on my left ring finger, and I was wearing a t-shirt advertising a "Transylvanian blood drive." The woman sitting next to me glanced at me uneasily and I became aware of how frightening I must have looked. I never think about my appearance until I see myself through the eyes of others. And I suspect reading about talking to dead people didn't make the sight of me any less disturbing. I felt obligated to say something, make clear that I was somewhat normal and not a complete goth freak. Once we started talking to trip went fine, we talked travel and guys and makeup and hair (she's a beautician). We exchanged phone numbers at the Newark airport.

Back to the book...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I liked the way in which it was written. This is written by a former journalist who is basically reporting what she sees, without bias. She points out the discrepancies, the possible hoaxes. But she also points out the unexplainable events, the things that might be a result of a spiritual presences, messages from the dead. During the summer, Lily Dale is the home to registered mediums and people travel there to communicate with the dead with the assistance of these mediums.

The tone of the writing was consistent with my own beliefs regarding spirituality. I often have a difficult time trying to reconcile my uncomfortably, sometimes painfully, rational, practical tendencies with my desire to believe in a realm of this world we can=t understand. I need to believe that there is more than this. I need to believe that we have some control over our destiny, that we can generate good will and fend off negativity. I need to believe that there are forces in this world that can assist in such actions. But I can't accept what is presented to me in the traditional books, the stories of the Bible seem as valid to me as Greek mythology. Stories created to scare people into good behavior and obedience, stories created to explain things that people didn't understand. So I seek out less traditional ideas, more basic, older ideas that can provide results and work with nature and the here and now, ideas that can produce results that I can see or feel, not ideas accepted on blind faith.

I would readily recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the spiritual world and the work of mediums. And now that I've read it, I want very much to visit Lily Dale.

Read: Oct. 30, 2005

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