In 1879, a small group of believers and practitioners of the new Spiritualist movement journeyed to a destination a few miles south of Niagara Falls and founded the community of Lillyville, a meeting place for mediums and metaphysical thought. Today, Lillyville is the oldest Spiritualist community in America, and perhaps the world.
Many have come here lately, searching. More than usual. They want to know where everyone went.
It was purposely settled as close to the falls of Niagara as possible, believing the waterfall and the surrounding area held more than just natural power.
Jim, some call him Big Jim because he is big, or Big Psychic Jim because he is a big psychic. But his big clairvoyance has been blocked by grief, so he has come here seeking answers as to the whereabouts of his son, Little Psychic Jim. His boy went missing with hundreds of other aspiring psychics while on a psych hike in the Niagara Mountains. They sent in a dog to find them, but the dog went missing too. There have been several others visiting Lillyville, looking to locate loved ones who went missing on that same retreat. Some believe that they were abducted by aliens. Some think they were swallowed by a landfill sinkhole in them hills made of trash. But most fear that the group of psychic water farmers who organized the retreat, a group known as the Sunflower Cult, has something to do with the mass disappearance. That’s certainly what Annie believes. A nice couple that and her husband used to hang out with, soft swap, also vanished. Maybe they are gone forever, maybe they will come back some day, all weird and tripped out.
The founders and current inhabitants of Lillyville see the Falls as a place of mystical significance, both haunted and protected by the most ancient of spirits.
Many are here in Lillyville, grieving, desperate, looking for answers. Here’s one now, passing through the gates, street parking, grabbing her purse full of ten thousand dollars (!) that she’s willing to exchange for contact, for peace of mind. How does it all work, this Lillyville industry?
Lillyville is not only known for their psychics, but they are also home of the world-famous Lillyville soft pretzels.
She asks where, she asks why, asks why again, and again, she needs answers, her hand clenches other hand, she wants to hear him one more time, find closure, she bursts into a weep, her foot taps, mechanically, the churning leg milks her grief into the unseen pseudo-alchemical chambers working below.
Yes this is the same Lillyville as the popular Lillyville Soft-Pretzel chain found in many rest stops along the east coast.
Every drop of that grief is collected through a network of tubes, glass and copper channels, terminating in bubbling beakers and fat-bellied iron vessels. The sobs, the moment of release, moaning, wailing and all that waft from those in mourning, is pulled under the floorboards by hot vacuum filling tanks of longing and sorrow jars (some of the last known glass jars on the east coast), it’s oozing through the clear glass smoking back up in a miasma that helps the seers see, helps the mediums make out the shapes in the invisible, yielding air. Lillyville processed pain is the philosopher’s stone of the mystics of this quaint little village.
In 1989, Marion Winfield of Lillyville started selling her unique soft-pretzels on a roadside along a busy section of route 33, and her salty, buttery, garlic-stuffed doughy knots were a hit.[insert a psychic reading bit]
Shelley is 83 years old, she’s lived in Lilyville for the past 100 years, and she’s still riding her bike through the streets every morning dumping hot ash under the tombstones, washing the sacred stump. The look in her eye is alive, smelling of cardamom, too virile, ravishing is Shelley with skin so youthful blessed by the tears of joy and agony sucked out silently and mixed with the elixirs that moisturizes her skin, softens her dough, she parties. God, the parties here in Lillyville… all night, hard and frisky. FULL SWAP.
Mr. Small, a medium, never catches a cold, has a mood like a rainbow, and has helped people connect to those on the other side while he himself will live the long life on this side thanks to the captured grief sweat boiled in flasks prepped to be exchanged for the power to hear the dead crystal clear. The hazy sizzle of a ghost touch, quick as a flash, might have said I wait for thee my lovely sister, or was it I’m watering my lovely toaster?
Her first Lillyville Soft Pretzel stand opened at the Angola Travel Plaza in 1991, and since then 11 more stands have opened state-wide and now include other flavors like salted caramel, jalapeno cheddar, and pizza.
A transformation takes place.
An excess of pathos, in one end, and magic out the other.
Into the blonde helmets goes the gravity, mothers mourning their dead kids, kids missing their dead folks, lonely husbands and wives waiting for the message with open wounds crying out to suture themselves with the stitches of a sign, a door, an assurance that the dead are at peace and joinable. It has a smell, a weight and even a taste, such things as a deep cup of regret and hot fresh anguish, hotter than a pretzel straight out of the oven.
At an average reading no less than a giant spirit can be contacted given the right dose of trap fumes rising up from the reservoir of countless tears, waxing the faces of the bereaved with lavender vaseline as if awaiting the pressing of a jellied death-mask mold to be sold at a later point at the local ghost shop.
Lillyville, neither sinister nor beneficent, neither scam nor bargain. A duty-free shop on the borders of life and death, and science and spirit is all.
Come, bring your deepest feelings. They shall be cooked, smoked and snorted through old seance cones for stronger cuticles and claroivance skills. Here’s one now: Want, saw, what, see, speak, you, wait, can’t, what, tick, you.
A rip off? No, not quite; The moisture is the message.
Another little known fact: Microwaves are not allowed in the town of Lillyville.
Ultimately, the seekers are told what they want to hear. The psychic hikers will return, drip drip, they miss you and love you, drop drop, you will wake up some day soon and they will be there as if nothing happened. Plop. And there is some truth to it, the seers know… they will return, but in what form, they cannot tell.