by Cathy Anderson Corn
Note: Blog written while still bleary-eyed from whirlwind trip to Michigan to visit ailing parents.
We enjoyed the Festival of Mystery this past May. In our travels from author table to the next, we happened upon Wendy Corsi Staub, an enthusiastic novelist with sixty novels to her credit. Much to my delight, she authored In the Blink of an Eye, a fast paced page turner set in one of my favorite places in the whole world--Lily Dale, New York. Wendy's characters are well-developed, the plot intricate, and her writing spell binding.
Back to Lily Dale, though. It's only a three hour drive from Pittsburgh and a half hour beyond Chatauqua Institute. Chatauqua is much larger and grander than Lily Dale, which sits beside a tranquil little lake. Lily Dale's summer cottages aren't kept up as well, and you can find moss on some of the roofs. It's a Spiritualist camp, started in the 1890's, and those who've studied do hands on healing and operate as mediums.
A medium brings messages through from the other side. They talk with dead people, many times relatives or friends, sometimes pets. They offer no guarantee as to who will come through for you, and you may not hear from the ones you want. The spirits decide who comes forth.
This you can do via a private reading or one of their public sessions. My favorite spot is the Inspiration Stump service, with its benches set back well within a forest of tall, ancient trees. Usually five or six mediums do several readings each, picking people from the crowd.
I've been read several times over the years. A few weeks ago, I received a message from medium Peggy Rogers from my maternal grandmother. She said I'd changed a lot over the past twenty years. I've come from a mild, please-everybody-else person to someone who operates independently and takes on leadership roles. Another medium gave Alan and me a tandem reading, saying our heart energy was especially strong and Alan's father (deceased many years) blessed our union.
Lily Dale offers workshops during the season mostly, teaching everything from Reiki to healing with stones to sweat lodges and ghost walks. And of course, probably the most important place within the gates is the Crystal Cove gift shop. Quite a treat, and you don't want to miss it. And the cafeteria's important, too.
Mostly, I treasure the sense of peace I always enjoy there, the rest and relaxation of this lakeside community from the 1880's.
But of course, I don't think there have been any real murders in Lily Dale, just the fictional ones of Ms. Staub. The killer wouldn't have a chance, for the spirits would certainly tell on him or her.