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 an article 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.
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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. They 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 parents 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, a 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 chorus of dead family 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.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Pamela Hutson
Catherine on July 26, 2019:
Great article! I am planning a visit there and after reading your article decided I would go see Carol. After just looking her up I discovered she passed away this January (2019) .
Rest In Peace Carol.
Deneneelizabeth on July 19, 2018:
Very good read...I enjoyed it.. I would love good Psychic read.. I have tryed many and as i have found out they are clearly fake...It just would be nice to understand why my mother treats me so very different than my brothers and sisters... Ect....
Holly on July 11, 2017:
Will i ever have kids
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 19, 2016:
LisaM, thank you. Carol gave me a great reading, and I'm glad you think she would like this article. I don't think psychics are all phony and bad. I do think some are genuine and some have good intentions. All in all, I felt the reading was helpful, very much so. Thank you so much for commenting. :)
LisaM on August 16, 2016:
For some strange reason, I came across your article about Lily Dale. I've personally known Carol for over 25 years. She is a dear kind soul. She would love this article.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 12, 2016:
manatita44 from london on July 08, 2016:
Nice story. I liked it very much. Peace.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on June 13, 2015:
Jo, that's about how it's gone with most of these things for me too. Nothing earth shattering, persuasive and not persuasive. I think there are some horrible fakes and some people who have a gift but is that gift talking to the dead or is it making grieving people feel better? Who can know? Not me. Thanks for sharing your experience.
Jo on June 13, 2015:
My recent psychic experience started with a man who died a sudden and tragic death in my late teens/early twenties (car accident, drug overdose, etc.), but since I knew no one matching this description, he couldn't come through.
I was also told my mother acted the way she did to me because of her childhood upbringing. Duh.
My "psychic" got three names right (which came to nothing of value), and five names wrong. And while I walked away feeling a tad uplifted, there was very little that was actionable. And listening to the CD later, I saw how cleverly the psychic led me into providing him all the information he needed to make me think he was en rapport with the departed.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 03, 2014:
Just interactions from people who have passed, Vanessa. I thought it was helpful. Thanks for asking. :)
Vanessa on August 02, 2014:
Did she tell you anything about your personal life or your future or was it just interactions from people who have passed?
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 18, 2014:
Thank you savvydating!
Jay--I felt the same way about it. It seemed to have a good effect, whatever it's origin. :)
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on July 17, 2014:
I enjoyed reading your account of a fascinating occurrence. While I tend to have a bit of natural skepticism toward a lot of things in the supernatural realm, I am open-minded enough to recognize that there are many mysterious elements in our world...things we as humans do not understand.
I've known a couple of people in my lifetime who seemed to have a heightened sense of awareness, intuition, perhaps even as advanced as ESP. They did not try to make money from it--in fact, one of them was embarrassed by her abilities because everyone didn't have them, so she tried to hide the out-of-the-ordinary things she knew most of the time.
By whatever means Carol received the information she told you that gave you a sense of peace and healing, I can't find any fault with it. I'm glad it made you feel good then and afterward. Your day at Lilly Dale was worthwhile for you. (And it does seem as though you have a good husband--lucky you.)
Thanks for sharing this intriguing reading with us. Voted Up++
savvydating on July 17, 2014:
Your experience was interesting. I think the important thing is that you decided to remain grounded, regardless of what you might hear. I don't know much about the phenonema of dead people conveying messages, but I do know that people have auras, which I assume is part of our electromagnetic field, and that alone is very interesting. I enjoyed reading this article. There is no question that some people have a natural psychic ability.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 17, 2014:
Natalie May, thank you for sharing that. Wow, what an experience. I think you are right about people's gifts and what a gift you have! I sometimes see light around people too. Thanks for affirming that that isn't an illusion. :)
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on July 17, 2014:
Thank you for commenting fpheri48! What a great place to live! I hope to go back there some day and will certainly email you if and when I do. All the best to you. :)
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on July 17, 2014:
That was truly a very lovely piece of writing Pamela. Some people do have a very developed intuitive nature and if they are also knowledgeable about esoteric sciences, and their intent is for the good of all, then I call these people psychic healers. I have only once had the good fortune to be read by someone without me ever having made a booking with her. I was in my forties and was more curious than anything else when she suddenly went into a trance.
What was more of an unforgettable experience for me was the light that I clearly saw around her. I rubbed my eyes several times to make sure that I was not imagine it. While in a trance she told me that she saw me standing at a railing overlooking water, and that I would live .....unending. She was puzzled about that while in a trance. I had no idea what she was talking about. That was it. She never asked for any money but she said that if I felt a donation to the sanctuary was appropriate, then I could leave money in the basket.
This one time experience has made me decided never to go for readings since, because what I later discovered was that she had spoken to me, but telepathically! I was brought up on a ship, my dad was the captain, and today when I stand on my deck I can see the Atlantic ocean and I write about awakening to our ascension journey.
So yes there are people with gifts of a more psychic nature, but there are also many people who are mind readers and make money with their developed gifts. For years I knew that I could see what people would attract in their lives through their doodling art work in my workshops, but I never shared it, since its my understanding that people can change the direction they are heading for if they wake up to who they truly are. If I would have told them, that might have influenced them, which I feel is not helpful. Instead I would find a way to make them see it for themselves. Again thanks for your hub, it has helped me recalling a past experience I had not thought about for years. xxx
Suzie from Carson City on July 17, 2014:
CR.....Saw your Title and knew I had to read and comment!....I have lived in Western NY (w/ the exceptions of a few scattered years of living elsewhere).....my whole life. "Lily Dale" is only 30 min from where I own a home.
Although I'm fairly knowledgeable on the History of, as well as the current information on Lilly Dale and it's Spiritualist inhabitants, I have visited only about a half dozen times through the years. Once was to hear Dr. Wayne Dyer speak and have one of his books autographed. I admit that was a wonderful experience.
I've had some impressive readings by various Mediums and even had my "auras'" ....diagnosed, so to speak.
Lily Dale is at least Nationally known if not world-wide and it's sort of nice to be so close to it, geographically.
Thank you for sharing your visit with your readers. It sounds to me like it was truly a beneficial experience for you......and what can be negative about that?
The fact is, "Lily Dale," has come up in conversation far too often lately, for me to ignore this. I believe it's time I plan to have a day there. It's a lovely place to escape to and enjoy the Peace and Solace in it's environment. One can stroll for hours and they have a few great places with gourmet foods......
Wonderful Hub, CR......PLEASE email me if you expect to be here again in the future!! It would be so nice to meet!.......Up+++
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on September 10, 2013:
Yaniv that's all true. I go over that in another hub I wrote here. That said, it was an interesting experience and I'm glad I had it. :)
Rayne123 on September 09, 2013:
very well said Yaniv and to some point you are very right
Yaniv Deautsch on September 09, 2013:
We can't rely on our memory unfortunately.
We tend to hear what we want to hear and to remember what we want to remember.
There are a lot of ways to convince strangers that we know everything about them (without any advance information.).
Many verbal tricks, ruses and gambits.
In general, psychics supllies the words, but you supply the meaning of those words.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on September 09, 2013:
Nope. No recording of it.
Yaniv Deautsch on September 09, 2013:
Have you recorded the reading?....
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 25, 2013:
Thanks for reading it, btrbell. I appreciate you taking the time. :)
Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on August 25, 2013:
Thank you for this candid hub! I am not going to lie, I had goosebumps during part of it...
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 22, 2013:
Thanks for commenting SingPretty! For me she just focused on spirits. It was pretty interesting. :)
SingPretty on August 21, 2013:
Very cool! Does she only tell you about spirits from beyond? Or does she also give you insight on your future?
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on August 05, 2013:
Thanks WiccanSage. What surprised me about the reading more than anything was how I felt afterward--definitely warm and healed in some deep way, regardless of the truth or falsehood of the reading itself. That stuck with me, and I can't see how it was a bad thing. I think a good psychic doesn't overcharge and leaves you better off, not worse. :)
Mackenzie Sage Wright on August 04, 2013:
Fascinating. It's experiences like that which fascinate me because I cannot see how that is suggestion or cold reading. I have had similar experiences with psychics, and I've met plenty of frauds. When you meet a genuine psychic or medium, you know it. There is such a difference. It's hard not to believe after an experience like that. Thanks for sharing, great hub.
Pamela Hutson (author) from Moonlight Maine on May 21, 2013:
Thanks Laurie. I know you speak for lots of people. I have my own reasons for being interesting in this topic, but I always appreciate another perspective. All the best to you!
Rayne123 on May 21, 2013:
HI there, how are you
Great hub, actually I just wrote a comment to someone speaking of mediums. You admit that you are not sure if it is real. Well I do believe that some of us are given the "gift" from the holy spirit to give/send messages through them or others.
However most of them are fake, and it states in the bible that it is a sin to seek them out.
I myself will say as reading I believed that she sounded genuine until you said she spoke to the other side. Well once dead they cannot do anything or be with you. Once dead they are dead unless brought back to life like Lazardus in the bible.
I pretty much have my own gift I am given dreams/visions and strong intuition through the Holy spirit and do not claim to be a physic or medium, however I do believe that working with the Holy spirit I have the powers to heal to some extend.
We all have certain gifts that are given to us, some are chosen ones and others are just to pop into someones life with a message. To me a gift is free so anyone that has to advertise is not genuine.
How she knew what she did, that I cannot answer, its like magicians that fraud people into actually believing they can walk on water, when we all know they can't.
So to be honest I think she may be a very nice person,not doubting that,however she is a fraud.
Hope you don't mind that I leave you with this scripture
And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.
Thank you for the hub