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Lake Pleasant offers history tour of spiritualism

  • Temple, library and community meeting place of the New England Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association in Lake Pleasant burned by an arsonist in 1955. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


Staff Report
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

LAKE PLEASANT — A walking tour and digital slide show tracing the history of spiritualism in Montague’s youngest and smallest of five villages will be Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., beginning and ending at Thompson Temple, 2 Montague Ave., across from the post office.

For almost a century and a half, the roots of the Village of Lake Pleasant have been intertwined with the waxings and wanings of American spiritualism. The formal founding of Lake Pleasant happened in 1874 with the formation of the Massachusetts Liberalist and Spiritualist Association, which five years later incorporated as the New England Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association.

For two decades prior to 1900 and two more decades after, Lake Pleasant was the largest gathering place in the United States for spiritualist believers in “continuity of life” and communication between human souls in the material world and immaterial souls in the world of spirit. The New England Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association disbanded in 1976, but, the National Spiritual Alliance, in Lake Pleasant since 1913, makes the community the oldest continuously existing same-site spiritualist center in the nation.

The benefit event will be conducted by David James, a village resident, member of TNSA, and co-author of “Spirit and Spa,” a word and vintage photographic portrait of a small community with a large reputation in spiritualist history. The rain date is Sunday at the same time and place. Suggested donation of $20 per person, with proceeds going to TNSA.