Lily Dale Assembly in New York, a home for spiritual mediums

The Gated Community for People Who Talk to the Dead

The Gated Community for People Who Talk to the Dead

Atlas Obscura
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

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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.


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

Ella Morton is a writer working on The Atlas Obscura, a book about global wonders, curiosities, and esoterica adapted from Atlas Obscura. Follow her on Twitter.