Ron Nagy's Blog

Historian • Author • Spiritualism

Fox Cottage purchased by Mr. B.F. Bartlett 1915

1915…Bartlet and fox CottageThe Fox Cottage, the birthplace of Modern Spiritualism was purchased by Mr. B.F. Bartlett and moved to Lily Dale as a matter of preservation and a memorial to Spiritualism and the Fox Sisters. The Cottage was taken apart and shipped across Lake Ontario to Buffalo then trucked to Lily Dale where it was reassembled.
The Cottage was dedicated in 1916.
The 1916 Assembly program booklet states: An added attraction this season is the Hydesville Cottage, the birthplace of Modern Spiritualism, has been purchased and removed to Lily Dale, by Mr. B.F. Bartlett of Cambridge Springs, Pa. This will be a great boon to the thousands of Spiritualist and visitors who yearly come to our Assembly as heretofore the difficulty of reaching this cottage has prevented many from visiting it. Many relics and objects of interest will be on exhibition in the cottage and Miss Floy Cottrell, the most wonderful Rapping Medium in the ranks of Spiritualism will be there to demonstrate the phenomena which marked the beginning of Modern Spiritualism, as these tiny rappings came sixty-eight years ago through the mediumship of the Fox Sisters. Tragically the cottage burned to the ground in 1955.

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Precipitated Spirit Portrait Discovered

Mr James Stone

I received an e-mail from a Librarian at Conneautville, Pa a small Western Pennsylvania town. The e-mail goes something like this: We have a newspaper article from 1993, from our director at the time that was more familiar with this then I am. We have a portrait of our Libraries founder Mr. James A. Stone. The story of the portrait is not only interesting but his eyes follow you where ever you go in the Library. The newspaper article states a séance was conducted in 1914 at Lily Dale but it could not have been that late because Mr. Stone passed away in 1900 and his wife in 1902[?] and his wife was the one who participated in the séance. So it had to have been before 1900 when Mr. Stone was still alive. Read more…

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Mrs. Matteson–Psychic Clairvoyant Remedies

Mrs. Matteson—Psychic Clairvoyant RemediesMatteson advertisment
Recently Vincent Martonis, Hanover Historian visited our museum and donated three medicine bottles from Mrs. Matteson and her daughter Mrs. Nellie Whitcom.
Mrs. Matteson had a summer residence here at Lily Dale at the corner of Cleveland and Marion Streets, #16—currently owned by B. Anne Gehman. Mrs. Matteson resided there in the 1890’s. I was aware of this but not knowing how prominent a woman she was I did some research and found a lot of information about her. I found an obituary that follows that tells more about her life. Much more has been discovered about her life although with space permitting I only entered the highlights.

“The Illustrated Buffalo Express” [Buffalo, Erie Co., NY], Nov 1913 [no dateline], p. 10: Read more…

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Body Located… “a psychic reading”

I am often asked what were readings like in the “old days” – the beginning. I found this article from the Jamestown Sun March 31-April 9th 1890 in one of my old files. A reporter went to Maggie Turner who lived just on the edge of Cassadaga NY on what is now Dale Drive. I felt this may be of interest and also because it made the front-page news.


Miss Lillian Peterson a young woman from Jamestown, N.Y. went missing the last week of March 1890. A diligent search with drag and explosives failed to reveal the body of the girl in the inlet. Detective Wilber stated that the lapse of time we can hope the girl will be found alive and well. A young lady who worked beside her in the mill stated Miss Peterson’s home life was one of unusual serenity after rumors circulated she had suffered a cruel home life. Theories and rumors having all came to naught; the Jamestown Sun was induced to contact clairvoyants. Read more…

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