In A Nutshell
Want to speak with the dead or learn a little something about your future? Well, if you live in the US, then you need to visit Lily Dale, New York, or Cassadaga, Florida. These little towns are jam-packed with psychics, modern-day Spiritualists practicing their trade in the most psychic cities in America.
The Whole Bushel
Lily Dale, New York, isn’t your typical city. Sure, there’s a post office, a library, a couple of restaurants, and even a coffee shop. But the inhabitants of Lily Dale aren’t your typical American citizens. This city is home to around 500 psychics and mediums, people who specialize in communing with the dead, peering into the future, or healing the sick.
The city got started back in the 1870s when Spiritualism was all the rage. Hoping to establish a super psychic summer camp, a group of Spiritualists purchased around 20 acres of land and named their new hangout the “Cassadaga Lake Free Association.” Over time, the name evolved into Lily Dale, in honor of the local plant life.
Today, the psychics and clairvoyants of Lily Dale continue to ply their trade, but the town is especially busy during the summer. For about 10 weeks, thousands of visitors descend upon the city, hoping to contact long-deceased relatives, answer pressing questions about the future, or attend the numerous psychic seminars. As one of the town’s citizens said in an HBO documentary about the town, “Lily Dale is to Spiritualism as Rome is to Catholicism.”
Of course, not just anyone can set up shop inside city limits. Evidently, would-be mediums have to pass a series of specially designed tests. They’re even required to conduct readings for members of the Lily Dale board of directors. Then and only then can they practice their magic in the Spiritualist equivalent of the Vatican City.
However, Lily Dale isn’t the only psychic hotspot in the US. Travel down to Florida, and you’ll find the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. Alternatively described as a “psychic Disneyland” and “the psychic capital of the world,” this Spiritualist camp is directly connected to the denizens of Lily Dale.
Back in 1894, a man named George P. Colby—who wasn’t initially connected with Lily Dale—was instructed by his Native American spirit guide to move to Florida, buy a chunk of land, and establish a psychic utopia. Colby followed orders, and in 1894, Lily Dale sent a delegation to visit Colby’s Florida plot. Impressed with the warm weather, the Lily Dale committee wanted to start a wintertime Spiritualist camp. With Colby’s help, they turned his property into “the oldest active religious community in the Southeast.”
Today, veteran Cassadaga psychics train students in the ways of the Force for up to six years. And if you ever decide to visit the community, you might want to check out their schedule and see what special services the psychics are offering on a given day. You might want to drop by on “Embrace Your Fairy Day” or take a class like “The Art of Mediumship.” Visitors can take part in a “Reiki Healing Circle” or perhaps pose for skotograph, a special type of photography that “captures” the image of your spirit guide.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, you can stay at the (supposedly haunted) Cassadaga Hotel. Or you can even take a tour where you’ll learn which of the resident psychics have communed with celebrity spirits. Of course, you’ll need to bring along a bit of cash because these services aren’t free. Con artists, er, psychics have to make a living too, you know.
Show Me The Proof
Syracuse.com: In Lily Dale, NY, a gated community for spiritualists, mediums pass on messages from the dead
Vice: Inside Cassadaga, the Psychic Capital of the World
CBS News: Visiting The Psychic Capital Of The World
Smithsonian: Cassadaga: America’s Oldest Spiritualist Community
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Calendar