Rebecca Watson, Jon Ronson, and Richard Wiseman are on the road, checking out the reports of ghosts at Iron Island Museum before continuing on to psychic haven Lily Dale. This post will give you some background on these places, but it contains no spoilers. You can be among the first to hear about the day’s adventures by joining them in person tonight in Cleveland. Details after the fold.
Meet Rebecca, Richard, and Jon Tonight in Cleveland!
You can hear firsthand about what the trio encountered at Iron Island and Lily Dale by meeting them for drinks tonight, at an event organized by Ginger Pierce and Josh Hunt of the Cleveland Skeptics.
Note: Seating is limited. You must RSVP to attend this event. Click here to do so and to get more info about tonight.
Where: Mavis Winkle’s Irish Pub, 5005 Rockside Road, Cleveland, OH 44131 (map)
When: Oct. 20, 8 pm
STOP 1: Iron Island Museum, Buffalo, NY
Rebecca, Jon, and Richard will be interviewing people to get the lowdown on the place’s history and hauntings, so here I’ll just give you the scoop on why this museum made it to the itinerary in the first place—and why you will want to stay tuned to find out what our skeptical trio discovers.
Iron Island Museum was initially a church, built in the late nineteenth century, before being converted to a funeral home in the 1950s. In 2000 the property was donated to the Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy (the name of the Buffalo neighborhood where the building stands).
Lovejoy is nicknamed Iron Island because it is surrounded by railroad tracks, hence the name of the museum and why local railroad history is one of its focal points.
So how did the building get its haunted reputation? Jon, Richard, and Rebecca will be talking to the volunteers and curators about just that.
One thing is clear from a quick Google search, however. This reputation skyrocketed when Ghost Hunters featured the museum in season 4. Although the “hunters” claim to be interested in debunking ghost stories, they spend most episodes conjuring up even more “evidence” than was believed to be present in the first place, which is no shocker considering their definition of “paranormal activity” is “anything we can’t explain.”
Some of the stories you’ll find online about the place include the usual temperature fluctuations, “feelings” of presence or being touched, voices (particularly children), shadowy figures, doors opening and closing, footsteps, and perhaps most creepy of all—ghostly redecorating! Chairs and picture frames being moved and flowers rearranged.
Let’s hope Rebecca, Jon, and Richard make it out alive—and perhaps with some nice color swatches.
STOP 2: Lily Dale Assembly, Lily Dale, NY
On this leg of the trip, we get a bonus skeptic—well-known paranormal investigator Joe Nickell, writer of the Investigative Files for Skeptical Inquirer. He’ll apparently be giving them a tour of Lily Dale, a town full of psychics. (Interesting business model—how do they make any money surrounded by so much competition?)
Lily Dale became known as a Spiritualism center when the infamous Fox sisters’ home was moved there. Margaret and Kate Fox had a lucrative career as mediums, claiming spirits were communicating with them by rapping. Then Margaret confessed that the whole thing was rigged, and she even showed how it was done. Yet somehow, this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for Spiritualism, and Lily Dale is still apparently going strong.
The place has everything from a Fairy Trail (where you might glimpse real fairy or gnome houses!) to an Artisan’s Guild that makes, er, fairy houses. (Come on, Lily Dale. At least make an effort). Will Richard, Rebecca, Jon, and Joe seek healing at the Temple? Will they get readings done at Inspiration Stump?
Or will they arrive only to find out that you do actually need to make a reservation to tour Psychicville, NY?
Find out what happens by joining them in Cleveland tonight or at one of the many public events along the way to CSICon. Check back tomorrow to find out more about Day 2, with stops in Mansfield, Ohio, at the “haunted” Ohio State Reformatory and the Living Bible Museum, ending with another public event, at Barley’s in Columbus.
Featured image by Marco van Hylckama Vlieg.