Many years ago, at a time in my life when I was worried and depressed, I decided to make the 360-mile drive to visit my only aunt, Jennie Shaffer Hull, who lived in Falconer, a suburb of Jamestown, New York, to ask for advice. The only person I knew in that locality was Aunt Jennie.
After I had poured out my troubles, she asked if I would be willing to go to Lily Dale, the Spiritualist community, to get a reading from a medium. She had heard that many persons found help there. Although it was only thirteen miles from her home, she never had been there. There was no way anyone in Lily Dale could know anything of my life.
Today Lily Dale is widely known. It was not very large in August 1949 when we walked through the grounds wondering which cottage to stop at. Finally we selected a small white house. With shaking fingers I pressed the doorbell.
A pleasant woman about thirty years old, opened the door and asked me to step in. All I want was an answer to something that was troubling me, so when I asked her if she would read for me and what she charged, her answer frightened me.
“I do not charge” she said, “but I will bring you messages from the dead and you can leave on the table whatever you think it was worth.” I had not bargained for communication with the dead!
We were ushered into a small room, furnished only with a small table and three chairs. I sat across from the medium and my aunt took her place alongside me. The medium took both my hands in her and closed her eyes. After a few seconds she started jerking. “Please be very quiet,” she said. “The messages are not very loud.” first my grandfather Michael Shaffer came.
He said he wanted me to know he was well and happy. next came my grandmother Adeline. In life she was stern and outspoken, and what she said did not surprise me, for it was the sort of things would say: “You made your bed. Now lie in it.”
Even though I recognized my grandmother’s character sharp tongue, still it did not convince me that the dead were speaking. The next message I received did. Suddenly the medium jerked so hard I hardly could hold on to her hands. As she quieted she said, “Here is a very young, handsome man.
He says he is your father and he has something he wants to give you. He could not give you this before, for he left the Earth before you came. His gift is a father’s love and blessing.”
I started to cry, for the fact of my father’s death was absolutely correct. He had been a bookkeeper in his father’s laundry and one day a heavy roll of paper fell from a high storage platform and struck him on the head. He regained consciousness only long enough to call my mother’s name before he died.
My earthly troubles seemed to pale in the light of the monumental knowledge that the dead are very much alive. I was now ready to leave, but suddenly the medium turned to Aunt Jennie. Her first husband, John Shaffer, had been a bridge contractor.
He went out early one morning to see that everything was in order for the men to start working on the bridge. He stepped on a loose plank, crashed to the pavement, below, and died instantly. A year after his death my aunt married again, then began to wonder if she had broken faith with John.
Should she have remained single? We learned that afternoon that those above see us and know when we worry. John’s message was : ” Don’t worry. You did exactly right in getting married again.” Then Aunt Jennie started to cry and we left- but we made one mistake. When we stopped to put our money on the table we did not ask our reader’s name.
If she had business cards on the table we were too upset to notice. For fifteen years my husband Kenneth took me every year to Lily Dale, but we never did find her again.
Ruth N. Bixler