Monday, March 11, 2013

#461: Jackie Avis & The Lily Dale Community

Approximately 60 miles south of Buffalo you will find the town of Lily Dale, a small place of 275 permanent residents. Lily Dale is a special place, however. It promotes itself as “the world’s largest center for spiritual development and the practice of the Spiritualist religion.” Indeed, Lily Dale was founded in 1879 by a community of spiritualists, and even today the town is known for its typical mediumship services, channeling, faith healing, and fraudulent woo (you have to pay to enter Lily Dale to walk around and visit its pet cemetery, and other features such as the childhood home of the Fox sisters) – it is rather similar to Camp Chesterfield. The inhabitants of Lily Dale apparently like to invite celebrity psychics as well, such as James van Praagh, Arthur Ford, John Edward and – of course – the ever reliable promoter of all things woo, Deepak Chopra.

The sheer bizarreness of the place has gained it some attention and a substantial number of visitors, in particular amateur ghost hunters and the more gullible segments of society, as featured here. HBO even made a documentary called “No One Dies in Lily Dale”, which shows, at least, that the fanatically religious protestors swarming around outside the gates of Lily Dale are even further removed from any semblance of reality than the town’s kooky inhabitants.

Jackie Avis is one of the registered mediums. She does not stand out in any particular way among the registered mediums except for being alphabetically first, and we need a name for the entry. Avis is apparently a fan of “the universal natural law of vibration”; which is a notational variant of this. For completeness, the other mediums are:

- James Barnum
- Patricia Bell, the author of “Timeless love”, who calls herself “dr.”, and who claims to be “one of the world’s most gifted clairvoyants”, as proven by her one-time appearance on Fox News.
- Debra Boardman
- Sherry Lee Calkins, a “fifth generation medium” and proponent of “the Universal Law of Love” who claims that “communication with the dead is a scientifically-proven fact”, and who once “battled an Amazonian witch doctor on the astral plane”; featured here.
- Shirley Calkins-Smith, founder of the Rochester Center for the Healing Arts together with ultrawoopanderer Dale Goldstein
- Gretchen Clark
- Ellie McCabe Cratsley
- Janice L. Dreshman, who claims that “pet spirits absolutely exist and visit their owners”; apparently Janice can help you speak with them for a fee.
- Kitt Duffy
- Sharon Earsing, who according to a customer is “100% correct with everything,” and “extremely specific”.
- Lynne Forget, who also does pets and explains how cute pets go to the Rainbow Bridge when they die where they wait for you.
- Jaccolin Franchina, “a certified past life regressionist, as well as a vibrational healer trained in Healing Touch, Reiki, and crystal healing”.
- Jessie Furst
- Carol Gasber
- B. Anne Gehman, perhaps the most famous of the lot, particularly for her help “solving crimes, locating oil and missing persons, healing illnesses, and connecting family members with their loved ones in spirit”; she is biographed in “The Priest and the Medium”, published by Hayhouse, and featured here.
- Connie Griffith, a MARI practitioner (i.e. spiritual woo based on this).
- Brenda Hawkins
- Martie Hughes, who claims that what she does “is not ‘hoo-doo voodoo.’ I connect with the God of YOUR own understanding” – in other words she replaces something that is not even a word with something that is arguably borderline grammatical.
- Gregory Kehn, a bringer of harmony who has also “helped” crime investigators.
- George Kincaid
- E. Gerta Lestock
- Patty Lillis
- Eileen McClure, who “will share with children, their numerologies, and life number gifts will be crafted”.
- Mary Ockuly
- Kitty Osborne, a “certified medium” and “reiki master teacher” whose certified qualifications include Firewalking, Karuna Reiki, Reflexology, Facial Therapy, Metaphysical Unfoldment [?], Healer H.P.T.,  and Teacher H.P.T., and who offers “seminars in spiritual, Psychic Mediumship Development”.
- Patricia Price, who offers (among other things) aura color evaluation, guardian angel introduction, and advice on financial opportunities.
- Peggy Rogers
- Tom Rugani
- Neal Rzepkowski, another trance-medium, “universal natural law of vibration” proponent and Edgar Cayce disciple, most famous for being an HIV-positive MD who lost his eligibility to practice as a family doctor because of his condition, and who is currently apparently certifiably unable to provide medical advice as well.
- Barbara Sanson, president of the Lily Dale Healing Association, who is “certified in Therapeutic Touch”, and a “powerful model of the successful integration of healing and prophecy”.
- Joseph Shiel III, who does auragraph drawings and spirit art portraits.
- Elaine Thomas
- Stephanie Turachak, who apparently does (among other things) EFTGary Craig’s technique.
- Bonnie White, who is also into spirit art painting; her daughter, Willa White, is apparently a “Spiritualist-trained medium” as well, and can purportedly talk to your dead family members.
- John C. White, who does angels and PLR, and can teach you to use “the higher mind for the purpose of manifesting your desired lifestyle”.
- Lynne Wiltsie, apparently the president of the Lily Dale Assembly.
- Shirley Yusczyk

They all deserve separate entries, but I really cannot be bothered to (fluff levels are at choking hazard). Some of them are described here. The Lily Dale webiste is here.

Diagnosis: A rather remarkable place and group of people. They’re probably harmless (indeed, many of them are engaged in humanitarian work), and the sheer crazy and rejection of anything resembling reality that is the foundation of Lily Dale makes it, in fact, rather amusing. The fact that their trade is associated with preying on the suffering – not so much.

1 comment:

  1. jesus h christ on a popsicle stick. I watched the HBO Doc and can't believe people are willing give real money to someone they've never met but can relay messages to them from their dead relatives. Hmmmmmmm, why don't the dead talk to their own kin? Guess the dead get a kick back.. Lovely