The Gated Community for People Who Talk to the Dead

Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
June 11 2014 10:51 AM

Lily Dale: The Gated Community for People Who Talk to the Dead

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a blog about the world's hidden wonders. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

There's a saying in Lily Dale: "If you believe, you will receive."

Small, peaceful, and tucked away in southwest New York State, Lily Dale is a gated community of spiritual mediums who offer their psychic services to visitors. In order to live in Lily Dale, mediums must demonstrate their powers to the community's board of directors. If their messages from beyond the grave are of satisfactory accuracy, they can move in to one of the quaint, clapboarded homes.

Advertisement

Visitors come to Lily Dale for individual readings, during which they hope to receive or convey messages to departed loved ones. The 40 or so resident mediums operate independently and set their own prices—the idea is that you walk around the community, look at the mediums' signs, and allow yourself to be drawn to the spiritualist who best suits you. Or you could just look at the mediums' websites beforehand.

Whatever your level of belief in the residents' psychic abilities, Lily Dale is a tranquil place to spend a day. Beyond individual readings there are ghost walks, workshops, group gatherings at the Inspiration Stump, during which a medium relays short messages to select people in the crowd.

This year, the Lily Dale visiting season begins on June 27 and lasts through mid-September. To make the most of the $12 entrance fee, stop by the pet cemetery, wishing tree, and healing temple.


View Lily Dale, NY 14718 in a larger map

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

Why Men Can Never Remember Anything

The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Why Men Can Never Remember Anything
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 19 2014 1:56 PM Scotland’s Attack on the Status Quo Expect more political earthquakes across Europe.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 3:24 PM Why Innovators Hate MBAs
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 3:07 PM Everything Is a "Women's Issue"
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:03 PM Kern Your Enthusiasm: The Ubiquity of Gotham
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 12:38 PM Forward, March! Nine leading climate scientists urge you to attend the People’s Climate March.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.