Niantic Spiritualist Campmeeting

Denton (Md.) Journal, August 25, 1883.

A Novel Camp-Meeting.

    Of all the camp-meetings the pleasantest would seem to be those which the Spiritualists get up.  A very large one has just closed, or possibly has not yet closed, for anything so agreeable is apt to be prolonged considerable beyond the original intention, at Nashominy [sic, Neshaminy] Grove, near Philadelphia.  Another one, on a still more elaborate scale, is in progress at Niantic, Connecticut.  It is described as a lovely spot, a forest of pine trees encircled by an arm of the sea, and here the campers have built for themselves many beautiful gothic cottages, with snowy tents interspersed, and for two months in the summer they live in ideal retirement.  With all the attractions offered it is not surprising that the Spiritualist camp-meetings are popular.  This sect, it is well known, differs from others in its notion of what constitutes religious exercises.  There is, for instance, dancing every evening in a pavilion erected for the purpose to the music of an admirable band.  A short distance off there are facilities for roller skating.  There are also swings, flying-horses and other attractive contrivances.  Ice cream, soda water and refreshment booths abound.

    He must be a stony-hearted sinner, indeed, who cannot be induced to seek salvation under these attractive conditions.  But there are still more charming features.  Nearly all the female mediums are young and pretty.  Down this way most of the Seeresses of the spiritualist community appear to be bony, angular and spectacled.  A necromantic consultation is something of an alarming experience.  But it seems that matters are far different in Connecticut.  The fellow who goes to hold a séance with the Yankee girls finds himself bewitched before he knows it.  The mysterious power develops in those girls very early, and often at eighteen is in its highest potentiality.  Another great comfort of the Spiritualists’ retreats is the ease and inexpensiveness with which one may pay visits to friends who have gone before, and are residing in the land where it is always summer.  The prices are made to conform to all conditions and purses, the scale ranging from five dollars to as low as twenty-five cents; but all the communications, of course, equally trustworthy and authentic.  It is really cheaper than the telephone, the charge for the use of which between Baltimore and Washington is thirty cents for five minutes, whereas at Niantic one may have quite as long a talk with a friend or relative at an infinitely greater distance for a quarter.  Now, where the medium is young and handsome, as is usually the case at the Connecticut camp, the privilege of sitting at the table with her and holding her hand, in order that the magnetism may properly circulate, is worth about fifty dollars alone.

    Altogether the Spiritualistic camp-meeting is a very delightful institution, and it is not at all surprising that it is so popular and keeps up two months.  If the weather would allow, it would no doubt continue uninterruptedly all the year round.


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