My Lily Dale Experience

I had made the appointment weeks previous and had waited with anticipation for the day to arrive.  It was funny that I had never been there before since I was so heavily into the stranger aspects of life.  Lily Dale, merely ten miles outside of Jamestown was a place that I had only heard stories of but had never been to before.  I really did not know what to expect from a place that touted so called psychic phenomenon twenty-four hours a day. A community of mediums of all kinds living in a quaint nook of Chautauqua County seemed preposterous.  Of course before I had gotten into the study of psychic phenomenon and the paranormal that was all I had heard from everyone.  They could not have been more wrong.

It was a very hot August day when I drove down Dale Drive wondering what I would find awaiting me.  The lake sat quietly to my left as we passed a few house here and there until the shade started to envelope the road before my car.  It was not menacing at all but very comforting like slipping into an old warm coat on a cold winter day.  An idyllic tree lined street leading to something I hoped would be just as idyllic.  When I pulled up to the gate it was very unassuming.  Nothing any different than a toll booth to a different world.  I paid our fee and received a booklet of the activities taking place that day.  The special events listed “Spirit Assistance”, “Thought Exchange”, and a ghost walk from 10:30-12:30am intrigued me.  However, I was there for a specific reason: to get my first reading.  I have to admit that my first reading was done as research for my site and book so I did not allow much information to get out when I made the appointment.  I wanted the slate to be clean.  I did let slip I was married so assumed that if my reading revolved around my wife that I may have to discount some of what the medium told me. Whatever was going to happen would happen so I found the house that I was supposed to be at and looked around for a little while to get my bearings.  Since we were early we decided to shop for a bit also.

We walked into the Crystal Cove, a shop dedicated to all things spiritualist.  Inside the store circled a center counter where every type of crystal, jewel, and healing stone could be seen under the glass.  Books on sprit communication and healing, and local stories could be seen.  All manner of Tarot decks sat in the back displayed in all of their glory.  This store sold everything that Lily Dale could do and could offer for sale.  It was a nice shop with the mystical quality that you would expect from the community.  It was about fifteen minutes before my appointment and we left the store and wandered outside.  I looked around and saw that the grounds were well kept and that in each small area of greenery there sat a bench or two overlooking the grounds.  It was a peaceful setting.  The houses lining the streets were not large by any means but comfortable.  They sat on small lots and looked well lived in.  Some may have sat there since 1880 when Lily Dale was first founded.  Now the community that once flourished has begun to show its age.  That was the charm of Lily Dale it was loved and cared for, it was lived in and beautiful.  It has sat for almost one hundred and thirty years and aside from a few modern conveniences has stayed as it began. And there it will stay for another century on the still shores of Cassadaga Lake.

The Kennedy Peddler

The Unexpected Disappearance of the Peddler

It is well known that in the days of the blooming rural communities there was not much of a source from where the settlers could purchase necessities. The basics were available maybe miles away and would take the day to travel into town to just shop. At this time the peddler became more prevalent. A traveler, sometimes by foot, at others by cart he supplied the settlers with a means to purchase their tin wares or other certain sundries. These peddlers were usually local but at times men would come through town from all parts selling their wares. These peddlers would rely on the kindness of the townsfolk to put them up at times and would repay them with some of their items. These out of towners were also looked at as wealthy since they carried some cash upon them from their sales and were at times looked at suspiciously.

This story taken from Chautauqua County: A History by Helen McMahon retells the unfortunate story of a “Yankee” Peddler whom taking advantage of the good graces of the townsfolk stopped in at McGlasson’s Tavern in Kennedy to pass the night. Stories of disappearing peddlers circulated from town to town knowing that people of enterprise could often dispose of the peddler and obtain his money without anyone being the wiser. This story has some proof that possibly the peddler never left town that night. For when the old cemetery was moved the first grave dug up was that of a one legged man. The peddler who had stooped into McGlasson’s that night on his way through town was seen to have only one leg. Even more evidence turned up in a field nearby where the peddler’s pack was said to be found. Now the peddler is a mere memory but the vanishing peddler of Kennedy and the mysterious one legged corpse buried in the cemetery can live on as a true mystery of Chautauqua County.