Summertime spirits: Village of Lily Dale reopens for believers and doubters alike

by | Jul 3, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Every year before heading to Lily Dale Assembly, Doot Bokelman says a brief prayer inviting her relatives who have passed away to meet her at the spiritualist meeting in Western New York.“Anybody who wants to show, now would be a great time,” Bokelman, an art history professor, tells her dad, her grandparents and her uncle Bill. “And if you have a message or if there is something I need to know, that would be terrific!”
Like Bokelman, about 10,000 people attend Lily Dale every summer to meet with mediums who they believe can connect with the spirits of their dead relatives. Established in the late 1870s, the village of Lily Dale has been a mecca for spiritualism and mediumship ever since. With the COVID-19 pandemic’s official end, the village is reopening without any restrictions, allowing seasoned regulars and curious first-timers to cross paths at “the Dale” after a hiatus of three years.
The village, which counts about 100 inhabitants during the winter season, hopes to host up to “3,000 people on big weekends,” said Havivah Richards, the community’s administrator.
For the reopening, Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy Osbourne and host of television shows on the paranormal, including “Portals to Hell,” will be on hand to talk about his ex …

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