My Psychic Reading With a Lily Dale Medium
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get a reading from a professional psychic or medium?
I have, and recently I was lucky enough to find out.
On the way home after a wonderful upstate NY vacation in May of 2013, my husband and I stopped off at Lily Dale Assembly in Lily Dale New York just to look around. At this point, I wasn't planning on having a reading, I was just being a tourist.
Lily Dale Assembly is the oldest surviving Spiritualist community in the United States. Every summer they open their community to the public for three months of workshops, readings, and outdoor demonstrations of mediumship, and they have been doing so for over one hundred years, ever since the infamous Fox Sisters established Spiritualism with their purported rapping and messages.
I told my husband that May was too early to visit this place, that nothing would be happening yet, nothing to see, but he insisted. He knows I've been reading about Lily Dale for a long time and that getting a reading there would be a kind of once in a lifetime treat for me, so after we walked around, he treated me to a reading!
I have a really good husband.
I know mediums are controversial. In fact, I've written a hub about the problems with taking mediumship overly seriously and how it can be used to scam people and part them from their money for no good reason. But if I were to pay cash money for a reading anywhere, it would be in Lily Dale. Suddenly, there I was.
Here is what happened next:
We first visited an open bookstore and were told that any of the mediums who had an 'Open' sign hanging on their door would be available for a reading even though it was out of season, so we drove around and found one at Carol Gasber's house with an 'Open' sign hung by the door.
I looked around and then knocked, a little nervous to be sure. She was surprised to see me. She hadn't realized she'd left her sign out.
"I can do one more," she said briskly, and invited me in, then went out and took the sign down.
I thought, oh no. Bad start right off the bat.
Happily, I was wrong. Everything after that went well.
She explained that nothing spooky would happen during the reading, that we would just have a normal conversation during which she would convey any messages from Spirit that came through. I already knew this, but I was glad she set the tone as comfortable and laid back right off instead of employing a lot of theater and cliché.
Modern mediums rarely rely on tricks and showmanship. Basically you sit down across from them and they just talk.
Then she said, "We don't have to wait because they're here already and they all want to talk."
I knew that too. Dead people follow me around. The follow most of us around. I know that sounds bizarre, but hey, I'm bizarre. (Don''t pretend you didn't know that!)
The first two messages she conveyed were from my father and my mother, both of whom really are deceased and have been for a long time. I did not tell her this or ask to hear from them. I said very little during the entire reading. Basically I just sat down and dead people starting talking to Carol.
The messages from my folks were general and positive at first. They wanted me to know they were proud of how I turned out and that they loved me and so forth. At this point I was a bit skeptical because I had a very troubled childhood and have felt most of my life like my parent's didn't much care if I got run over by a space ship, such was the complexity and difficulty of their own lives and their own suffering. They had it hard. I was kind of on my own.
I had decided not to give any 'clues' during this reading but to my surprise she didn't ask me any leading questions--in fact she asked very few questions of any kind. Nothing about "do you own a piece of jewelry" or "Do you relate to the letter J" or any of that nonsense. She mostly just talked about what she was hearing from people who had passed.
Just as I was thinking (silently to myself), "Well that's lovely but these nice spirits couldn't possibly be my unhappy parents," she began to address that very issue.
She said my father hoped I knew that he behaved the way he did in life because that's how he was raised, and the deeper into his life he got, the more miserable he was. He wanted forgiveness and he surely has it from me, I forgave him long ago. But that part started to hit home, when she got into the trouble of his life. The longer she talked about him and what he was saying to her, the more it sounded exactly like my Dad.
My mother then talked about how ill my father made her in life, even though she loved him, and how that made her unavailable to me most of the time. This is also spot on.
OK, I thought, so maybe she's a good guesser, good reader of body language, whatever. I liked her quite a lot, but I still wasn't quite sure if it was all real. After all, after a lifetime of reading people cold, you surely learn something about how to do it.
Then the stunner.
She came up with the name of a guy who died when I was about 18 and she knew that he died in a car wreck. A name, a date, the method of death, and at this point she still didn't even know my name. Come to think of it. I never did tell her my name. Not even at the end.
This young man from my past had a message for me that was actually very helpful. I hadn't thought of him in decades and was never close to him, but his message actually helped me a lot. It addressed a sliver of a relationship we actually did have briefly, and mostly it came down to, let your pain and suffering go. It gets better in the next life.
Another oddly on-target bit that I don't know how she could have guessed was about my writing. My father said he was proud of my writing and regretted not being more supportive while he was alive. (He actively discouraged my writing while he was alive.) Then a whole of chorus of family dead encouraged me to finish the book about our ancestry and my life that I keep giving up on, saying "it will help a lot of people" and "it's a good story."
This was astonishing. I told Carol the medium nothing about me being a writer, and in fact I have tried five times to write this very book these dead folks were talking about and five times I've given up because it gets painful.
Other stuff came through too that won't much interest readers of this article (a lot of it was personal), but by the end I felt calmer, more peaceful, and just…. good. That, I hadn't expected. I really felt totally surrounded with love. And that feeling lasted for hours afterward.
We hugged, and I left with lots to think about.
Was It Real?
You know what? I still don't know.
Everything in my head says it can't be real, but much in my own experience and my own spirituality says it might be real.
Some things can't be known. No matter how much you might want to get the answer to everything, you can't. In some matters, the only choice you have is between trust or skepticism.
Do I completely trust every communication from beyond? No. Do I think something genuine is happening in this regard? Yes, sometimes. But not always. You have to open your heart while keeping your wits about you. Not an easy thing.
Sorry I don't have a clearer answer. I didn't really expect to get one.
It is hard to see how anything about this specific experience was bad, however.
I was given no upsetting information, just reassurance and encouragement. The dead people I heard from through Carol were connected to unpleasant parts of my life that have haunted me and tormented me, like a thorn in a place I can't reach, or a scar that won't heal. And all of them brought messages meant to promote healing and letting go.
Does this mean I was really hearing from my parents? Hard to say. She could have been reading me, my own pain. There are people who promote healing just by their presence. They are sensitives, empaths.
On the other hand, several bits of my reading were so factual and dead on (excuse the pun) that I can't see how Carol could possibly have 'guessed' them by reading my body language or whatever.
Even the more general bits at the beginning could have gone badly wrong. My husband is older than I am, but both his parents are happily alive. So to 'guess' right off that mine were not was not exactly 100% safe.
All in all, I thought the 45-minute reading was completely worth the $75 she charged me. Psychotherapists charge considerably more than that and I've left sessions with therapists feeling considerably worse, not better. It's a drag to spend money to feel worse but I've done it. By contrast, this session seemed to help me let go of some very old very sad stuff.
Hard to see the harm in that.
What I would say for sure about getting a reading from a medium is this:
Not all mediums are just out to make a buck. You have a little bit better chance at a fair price and a good reading if you stick with someone whose skills are grounded in a positive faith, like Spiritualism or Spiritism or even Christianity (yes there are Christian mediums), and if you stay away from people who charge $500 per half hour or host cruises for grieving people.
Also, don't expect a medium to make your decisions or live your life for you. Some people get 'hooked' on mediums, and a good medium will not encourage that kind of dependence. You still have to live your own life, regardless of what the dead have to say to you.
And if you ever go to medium and are told you are cursed or will die or whatever but they have a cure or an answer, run! That person is setting you up for a scam.
I saw the Dalai Lama on TV once talking about Buddhism. He said something I've never heard a religious person say before and that has stuck with me for years.
He said, "Try it [Buddhist teachings]. If it doesn't work for you or help you or if you don't understand it, just put it down. It might be helpful later. Or it might not. But you don't need to decide anything about it except whether or not it helps."
He was talking about Tibetan Buddhism of course, but I think his advice is a pretty good rule of thumb for most things spiritual and supernatural. You don't have to judge everything as yay or nay, true or false. If it isn't helpful, just move on.
My reading with Carol did help me.
I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but honestly, I feel pretty good, and besides, I have a book to write...or almost write...again.