Author: Christine Wicker
Hardcover, 288 pages
Publisher: Harper San Francisco
Publication date: March 2003
Price & More Info: Click Here
Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead caught my eye because for a time prior to becoming Pagan, I was flirting with becoming a Spiritualist, and Lily Dale is one of the largest Spiritualist communities in the country. (Others exist in Indiana, and near my home in Brady Lake, Ohio.) I had visited Lily Dale, as well as other communities. Though I did not spend much time there, it had always intrigued me, and I always wanted to go back for a more in-depth excursion. In my life, I have always been able to do what most spiritualists do -- i.e., talk to departed spirits, and channel ó and the religion appealed to me for that reason alone. Without going into my own personal odyssey, let it be said that Paganism, with all its delicious ambiguity and amorphous beginnings ultimately caught me more permanently and gave me a home. But Spiritualism was never far out of my mind, even so.
I am please to say that this is not merely a dry, documentary account of a place. This is more an account of the people who make up the heart and soul of this little community, and it is much more than that as well: it is also, and this pleases me even more, a personal account of an awakening into a whole world of spirituality for the author. It is for that reason alone, a very gratifying read that will absorb you and entertain you, and inform you as well.
If you agree or disagree with the Spiritualist philosophies, you will not be disappointed in the stories that are presented here. The author is a somewhat non-linear writer, and makes her subjects fascinating, as well as tying them all together into a woven tapestry of character and events that will leave you with a desire to see it all for yourself.
The good news about that, is that you can, if you plan to attend the Pagan festival Starwood this (or any other) year. Lily Dale is only a few miles from Sherman NY, and the Brushwood campground (where Starwood is held,) nestled inside the town of Pomfret, NY. Itís accessible, and open to the public, and inexpensive.
I urge you to read Lily Dale. Itís a great book, and a wonderful story. And itís worth many second looks.
Reviewed by Charys Tamesis