Jack Kelly, Mr. Vosburgh, Mae West—dedication of Healing Temple Lily Dale.
A personal recollection of events concerning the origin and erection of the Healing Temple. By Robert Zagora [step son of Rev. Jack Kelly]
Early in the 1950’s Rev. Kelly’s spirit teachers advised us that they were working to add healing to the Trance and Independent voice phases of Mediumship usually displayed publicly, while the medium was reading sealed billets. Early in the season of 1953 an incident occurred which perhaps more than anything else became the genesis of the Healing Temple. After completing a message service at the Auditorium, Rev. Kelly walked out the back door with my mother by her side. He was approached by a lady wearing sunglasses, walking on the arm of her husband while using a cane in the other hand. She said, “I did so want a message today but did not receive one.” As Rev. Kelly was about to give his stock answer, “ I’m sorry but once out of trance I can’t tell you a thing” His spirit Teacher, who could be heard speaking through the solar plexus of the medium interrupted to say, “Have her sit down, we want to work on her eyes.” She did as she was directed, sitting on a bench outside the Auditorium, where Rev. Kelly worked on her eyes and after a few minutes she exclaimed that her sight was returning. (Some weeks later we were able to question one of the Rev. Kelly’s spirit teachers in class concerning this incident and the teacher told us, “We were able to discern that there was a break in the optic nerve and by concentrating the healing power at that point, fuse the break together.”) Needless to say this caused quite a furor among people in the area who witnessed the healing.
One of those who took notice was Louis T. Vosburgh, who operated a bookstore on the present site of the Lily Dale offices and served as Lily Dale president in 1955. He spoke at length about his belief that there should be a special temple set aside to accommodate the highest form of mediumship. While Mr. Vosburgh started making plans for the erection of the Healing Temple, Rev. Kelly held healing services at the Auditorium on Sunday evenings in 1953 and 1954. Further questioning of the woman whose sight was restored elicited the information that she had lost about 90% of her sight after being involved in an auto accident in which her head hit the windshield. The prognosis from doctors just before her healing was it was not certain that her sight would return.
Mr. Vosburgh acted as his own contractor and using subcontractors supervised the erection of the Healing Temple, to the best of my knowledge with his own money. (Between 25 and 30 thousand dollars) It was erected for Rev. Kelly’s exclusive use and dedicated on July 3, 1955, but after 1957 Mr. Vosburgh turned it over to the Dale Assembly. Ironically, Mr. Vosburgh erected the Healing Temple (the only public building erected in the Dale in the last 66 years) not only without the aid of the Dale Assembly but almost in spite for the lack of knowledge concerning its origin. The Temple remains largely the same today except for the addition of an organ and the paneling in the Temple itself. Since Mr. Vosburgh had the foresight to add a heating system to the building he not only left the Dale a heated Temple, but a church building used all year round.