This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lily Dale

Ever heard of Lily Dale?

Me neither.

But it's an interesting little community in New York State. I learned a bit about it in HBO's documentary No One Dies in Lily Dale.

It's a fun little documentary to watch: a township known for it's large population of mediums. Yes, mediums as in spiritualists, seers, psychics...those that communicate with the dead.

For the most part, I didn't get a lot of "wow" moments, with the scenes of those who were trying to communicate with their loved ones on "the other side". As usual, there were a lot of vague comments that surprisingly, the visitors would say "that was spot on".

Things like 'she was in pain and anguish over what she did'; 'she doesn't blame you'; 'he wants you to know he's happy', 'he wants you to know he loves you'. And the people would be like "wow! she is spot on!" All heard things that gave a happy ending.

There were a couple of almost "wow's". One scene has the pink lady (forgot her name, but she loves pink) telling a father -- who lost his young son in a gang shooting...his son was an innocent bystander -- that the son was telling her about all the trinkets they left in the coffin. The father said this was a ritual that he and his family did, back from the Egyptian days, of leaving trinkets in the coffin. That was pretty good.

The same woman told a fellow medium about her messages about 'Jeffrey' or 'Jeff', which was the names of her ex-boyfriend and her son (btw, both living).

But nothing else in the documentary comes close to those specifics. In fact, at least two different women felt that there was no validity behind their readings (from the same medium too).

It was still amazing to see this little township. It was beautiful, to say the least. It looked, to me, like a sleepy little township by the beach of NC or SC...not even close to any place I could imagine existing in New York State.

Most of the mediums in the town are much older, like a retirement community. They love their animals, and they roll around in golf carts, but apparently, this is the mecca for anyone who is aware of Lily Dale's reputation for being the 'vortex of spirituality'.

I somewhat believe that this stuff can happen: communicating with the dead (remember, I'm not an atheist; Tim is). It's hard to grow up in the Philippines, in the heart of Catholic spirituality and superstitious beliefs, and not believe that there is _something_.

But I tend to be more skeptic as to who could really do well as pretty freaked out about it. I have been spooked by any type of fortune telling of any kind since the 5th grade, when an odd girl in my class read my palm. She freaked me out and I have never forgotten what she said to haunts me today. She was probably making the shit up, but she was one of those freaky girls and at the time, I didn't believe it until she read my palm. So to this day, I have zero desire to have any kind of reading, tarot, palm, crystal ball, blah blah.

But the skeptic in me is that the readings tend to always be the same. I watched a few episodes of Crossing Over with John Edward and he said the same things as the folks in Lily Dale did...and they are always very upbeat and positive. The happy ending to a fairy tale. It's a good thing, I think, for the people who seek some sort of closure. I don't believe it's that harmful...fork over $60 buck for someone to tell you that your loved one is not just dust in the wind, but someone who now is happy and follows you around in spirit.

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