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Tales of Lily Dale

Lily Dale(1) is known as the town that talks to the dead. A Victorian village located in southwestern New York state, it was founded in 1879 and contains a large number of mediums and spiritualists. In Christine Wicker's book Lily Dale(2), in which she immersed herself in the town over a period of weeks, she writes that some 20,000 guests arrive each summer to consult the mediums. The mediums, she notes, must pass a test by the Lily Dale board to confirm their connection to the spirit world.
One well known medium was Jack Kelly, whose flashy performances mesmerized audiences in the 1940's. One of his feats included driving from Lily Dale to Buffalo (a distance of 60 miles) while blindfolded, and it was said that when he was pulled over by a state patrolman, he gave him such an accurate spirit reading, that he wasn't even ticketed.
Mae West was a client of Kelly's and she claimed that after his death he appeared to her dressed in a tuxedo, Wicker reported. Other famous visitors included the magician Harry Houdini (whom the mediums were said to fear) and suffragette Susan B. Anthony. Upon visiting one medium who told Anthony she had a message from her aunt, Anthony replied: "I didn't like her when she was alive, and I don't want to hear from her now. Why don't you bring someone interesting like Elizabeth Cady?"
--L.L.(3)

1. http://www.lilydaleassembly.com/
2. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060086661/ctoc
3. http://archive.coasttocoastam.com/info/about_lex.html

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