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It was a hot and dry summer in New York. I had been working hard on a project and it was time for a retreat at Lily Dale Assembly, a Spiritualist community situated on the banks of Lake Cassadaiga that was known for its psychic readers and happenings.
My friend Heather and her husband Mike joined me. He had recently lost his father to cancer and was hoping to contact him. We rented rooms in one of the quaint private guest homes and found ourselves among a group of spiritual insight training students led by a trained medium and Spiritualist minister named Candy.
The grounds of Lily Dale were breathtaking. There was lush vegetation, an old growth forest, the beauty of the lake, and charming 1940’s style houses and cottages. Readings were available at the Forest Temple and Inspiration Stump, as well as a service in the Healing Temple. As we walked the grounds and took supper in the outdoor pagoda, we felt the energy of the place and wondered where
this day would take us.
Night fell and we returned to our lodging. As the evening wore on, we talked with Candy’s students
Felicia and Lester and established a rapport. Soon, midnight was approaching and we were invited to join them for a trip to Leolyn Woods to visit Inspiration Stump.
What was the significance of the Stump, we wondered? Candy explained that it was the site of some of the most profound spiritual energy in all of Lily Dale. It was not unusual for visitors to the Stump to experience a sense of heightened awareness, profound peace, and receive messages from the beyond.
Were we interested? Of course!
Armed with flashlights, we headed towards Leolyn Woods. There were six of us; Candy, Felicia, Lester, Heather, Mike, and myself. We entered the forest with a sense of excitement, passed a spooky pet cemetery, and found the Stump in a grove surrounded by magnificent old trees.
Candy explained that in this place, mediums had been passing messages from Spirit to others since
1898. The Stump at one time had been a tree around which children had gathered and levitated. She led the group in some energy work and encouraged us to stand on the stump. One by one, we felt the pull towards the middle and the feeling of being in some kind of vortex.
Heather came down from the Stump and claimed that she felt a persistent tugging on her right sleeve, like someone was trying to get her attention. She was freaked out by it, especially when she started to
experience shifting in her peripheral vision on the left side.
Lester snapped Polaroid pictures off and on using a flash, even though it was dark. Heather begged us to return to the guest house. On the way back, she was ice cold, even though it was a hot night. The number nine kept coming at her, and she told everyone so. Leaving Leolyn Woods, the shifting in her vision reoccurred and she turned to see a dark-haired boy who she thought to be nine, bare-chested and barefooted, wearing old fashioned dark brown and green checkered shorts, rather worn. She felt a dull aching pain in his left temple, and realized that he had a hurting wound there.
Instinctively she knew that he woke up on the shore with that wound, only to see a canoe flopping in the water.
As we neared the guest house, she had a vision of him sitting in a canoe watching the back of another
boy’s head in front of him. He looked over his shoulder at the shoreline. At that point, she said that it was ‘like his eyes were her eyes’. He scanned the shore and saw an old house with a shed attached and a three wheel tricycle, rather old fashioned looking. She experienced his panic as he heard choking behind him. The canoe was wooden, dark reddish-brown, and small, for two people only.
We entered the guest house and tried to get her to settle down. She turned and screamed, saying that
she saw the child at the top of the stairs. He was speaking to her but his lips were not moving. Only his expressions were changing. He was repeating that the year is 48, and saying Ryan, Ryan, Ryan with a deep sadness. She couldn’t tell if it was a last or first name or the name of the victim or friend.
The last part came as a vision of a boy floating face down in the water, his red shirt like a bubble on top of the water. Her impression was that the boy was telling her that his friend drowned and relayed sadness and remorse. He was sorry for his part in it. Then he left her alone.
Some interesting facts: Heather was not a trained medium or student, just a visitor to Lilydale who tagged along with this group. She did not invite this communication and wishes that it never happened.
Other people who went with her that night got impressions of the color red, deep sadness, and saw a point of light on her right sleeve at the Stump when she said that her sleeve was being tugged. The
camera also captured this. They recorded her experience on paper as she was relaying it.
We visited the museum the next morning and described her vision to the curators. We learned that over the years there had been many drownings on that lake, although this specific one wasn’t recorded.
Years later, we wonder what it was all about. Why would that spirit want to contact us and relay that heart wrenching confession? Could it be that a man who recently died needed to return to the scene and tell the real story? We checked with local newspapers and historical societies, but we never found an answer. The spirit appears to be at rest.
Jeanne Treat is the Author of the Dark Birthright Trilogy, a saga set in 17th century Scotland, England, and the Colonies.
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