The Story of Lily
The Healing Temple, Louis S. Vosburgh,
Sr., and Dr. and Mrs. Alexander James
November 1893 the National Spiritualist
Association of the United States of America
was chartered in Washington DC
as a Class 2, Religious Society. On
October 21, 1895, the incorporation papers were
amended to specify the term of the incorporation
to be for 1000 years as a Class 1 Religious
Society, whose object is “the particular
business as benevolent, charitable, educational,
scientific, religious and missionary with its
purpose to promote religion and morality,
provide for the erection of temples and lecture
halls or other suitable places of worship, where
the religion of Spiritualism may be taught, and
to provide for the education and licensing of
proper persons as authorized lecturers or
preachers of the said religion.”
In 1896 the New York State Association was
formed under the NSA charter and so when the
Lily Dale Church was founded in 1916, it joined
the NSA through the New York State Association
which was also a chartered auxiliary of the NSA.
On September 3, 1917 the Minutes of the Lily
Dale Assembly board meeting of that date read;
“The trustees of the Lily Dale Church have
permission to hold Sunday Services and weekly
meetings and entertainments they may deem use
for the benefit of the Church, in Library Hall
for the remainder of 1917 to the beginning of
camp season 1918.” These events mark the
earliest beginnings of the
Church as we know it
Church services held on September 7, 1919 began
with a crowded house. Harold Lanman
Bradford was retained as Pastor to have charge
of the lectures and class work, and Mary Webb
Baker, a noted speaker and clairvoyant in the
area, often served the church as speaker and
The first Lily Dale Spiritual Church Day
conducted as part of Lily Dale’s Summer Program
was held on Tuesday, August 24, 1920, with
morning exercises conducted by the Pastor and
other officers of the church. Messages
were given by Mrs. Inez Wagner, who also
conducted a sťance in the evening. Another
Lily Dale Spiritual Church Day was held on
Thursday, August 30, 1923 with an address given
by the Pastor, and “Moving Pictures” shown in
During these early years, due to issues of
weather and the lack of heated buildings, church
meetings were held in various locations
throughout the Dale. Library Hall was
often used, with services held outdoors at
Inspiration Stump and lakeside when the weather
(As an aside, it is interesting to note that
according to the 75th Anniversary
of the Lily Dale Assembly – 1979-1954,
construction of Library Hall was begun in the
spring of 1888 by Mr. J. W. Dennis and Mr. J. E.
Innis. The building, now known as the
Assembly Hall, was constructed to serve as a
library and lecture hall. It was
determined that the building would be paid for
by rental of the hall and subscriptions to the
library. The books collected and organized
by Marion H. Skidmore and friends were kept on
shelves in the large front room on the second
floor. The first floor was used as a
lecture and meeting room, and also served the
needs of the LDSC and the Children’s Lyceum
which was at the direction of the LDSC. In
1924 the collection of books was moved to its
present location in the
Memorial Building at 5-6 Cottage Row, that
building having been designed and constructed by
the Lily Dale Library Association Inc. in 1923
to house the Marion H. Skidmore Library.)
Throughout the fall and winter season of
1925/26, services continued to be conducted
regularly. During the coldest months of January
and February services were held at the home of
Mrs. Virgil Tremaine, Church President. It
was noted that Mrs. Laura McIvor-Tyndall was
Church Pastor at the time but spent the winter
with her husband, Dr. Alexander James
McIvor-Tyndall where both contributed to the
activities at Cassadaga Camp.
The first meeting of the 1926/27 winter season
was held on October 1, 1926 in the woods at the
“old stump” with many good mediums present.
Subsequently through the fall and winter season,
church meeting were held at the home of the
Church President, Mrs. V. W. Tremaine at 7 Library Street.
It was noted that Rev. Laura McIvor-Tyndall had
accepted the pastorship of the Church for
another year, and that happily her ordination
had been favorably passed upon by the NSA. Once
again she and her husband spent the winter in
appears that at the same time that his wife was
Pastor of the Lily Dale Church, Dr.
McIvor-Tyndall was Pastor of the
Syracuse, NY, having been ordained as an NSA Minister
in 1923. Dr. McIvor-Tyndall was the author
of many books including “Revelations of the
Hand: A Scientific Study of the Shape and
Markings of the Hand,” and “Power of Persuasion:
Personal Magnetism.” (See article below on
Dr. and Mrs. Alexander James McIvor-Tyndall.)
Notes from early 1928 indicate that church and
lyceum activities were held at
15 North St., a
location which was referred to as the “Lyceum”,
and in September of that year, Mrs. Ella Royal
Williams was elected Church President with Rev.
Laura McIvor-Tyndall continuing to serve as
Pastor and Secretary through the summer of 1932.
In 1932 the New York State Conference dissolved
their association from the National Spiritualist
Association and became an independent
organization. At Lily Dale’s Annual Membership
Meeting (AMM) held August 8th that same year,
the Membership was determined not to affiliate
with any other Spiritualist organization and
voted unanimously to stay with the National
organization, Following the vote, a Direct Camp
Charter from the National Spiritualist
Association (NSA) was presented by Thomas
Grimshaw, Vice President of the NSA to the Lily
Dale Assembly President, Esther Humphrey.
The members of the Lily
Church also voted to stay with the
National organization, and so Thomas Grimshaw
presented an NSA Charter to the Lily
Charter, dated October 15, 1932, was presented
to Rev. Louise B. Arisman, who was now Pastor of
the newly organized church, as well as President
of the newly formed Lily Dale Medium’s League.
“We are very proud of our National Charter.
Mr. Dascomb, one of our members from Westfield, New York,
made a handsome frame for it, which we greatly
It appears that Rev. Arisman served as President
and Pastor of the church from November, 1932
until her death in 1952. She is buried
beside her husband Herman in Lot 487 of the
Cemetery, Est. 1818, in Sinclairville, NY.
After her death no services were held for
several months but in the fall of 1953 the
Lily Dale Spiritualist
Church began having
services again with Karl Kline as President.
Later at the Annual Members Meeting held on
August 9, 1954, Lily Dale President, William A.
Johnson, stated: "The Lily Dale Church secured
its charter back from the NSA of Churches at
last fall. The wonderful growth and
strength of this church is a proof that things
can be done, accomplished, when people with aid
of spirit - God, work together
On October 23, 1954 the LDA Board gave
permission for the LDSC to use
for the Sunday Morning Lyceum during the winter
months. Previously the Children’s Lyceum Group
originally organized in 1881 had been housed in
a series of shelters, including a large canvas
tent, the Library Building (now called the
Assembly Hall) constructed in 1888, and the old
Band Cottage at 10 First Street which had been
restored in 1914. Now Lyceum would be available
to children during the winter months. More
than 40 children were enrolled in the winter
program, and events included special services,
dinners, parties, children’s choir and other
activities that children love.
To step back in time a little, it was at the AMM
held on August 14, 1950 that the first public
discussion about a healing center took place.
Assembly President Mr. Robert J. Macdonald
introduced the possibility of such a center, and
a collection was taken which amounted to
Other interesting events were taking place in
the 1950s. Assembly Member Robert Zagora
relates the following story about his
step-father, T. John Kelly, and Kelly’s
collaboration with Louis S. Vosburgh Sr., a man
of pronounced financial standing, as well as
numerous business and philanthropic successes.
Recollection of the events concerning the
origin and erection of the
by Robert Zagora
“Early in the 1950s Rev. Kelly’s teachers
advised us that they were working to add healing
to the Trance and Independent Voice phase of
Mediumship usually displayed publicly, while the
medium was blindfolded 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 at his 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 a
trance I can’t tell you a thing!” his 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 Rev. Kelly’s 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 office, and served
as Lily Dale President in 1955/6. 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
Temple, Rev. Kelly held
Healing Services at the Auditorium on Sunday
evenings during the 1953 and 1954 summer
seasons. Further questioning of the woman
whose sight was restored elicited the
information that she had lost about 90 percent
of her sight after being involved in an auto
accident in which her head had hit the
windshield. The prognosis from doctors
just before her healing was that it was not
certain that her sight would ever 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 it was turned over to the Dale
Assembly by Mr. Vosburgh. 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 of their total lack of cooperation.
This accounts somewhat for the lack of knowledge
concerning its origin.”
The minutes of the LDA Board Meetings do not
exactly mirror some of Mr. Zagora's
recollections as you will see below.
Temple was built and
dedicated at the beginning of the 1955 summer
Three years later at the LDA Board meeting held
on September 1, 1958, Lily Dale Assembly gave
Church permission to use the Healing Temple for its winter services.
According to notes compiled by Joyce La Judice,
in return the Church had to assume the remaining
mortgage on the building of about $8000, and
maintain the upkeep of the building, a debt
which was fully repaid in 1969. From that
date until today, the LDSC continues to hold its
fall, winter and spring services in the
Temple. At the NSA
Convention held in 1961, the name of the
organization was changed from the National
Spiritualist Association (NSA) to the National
Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC).
As a result of this name change, and the
implementation of the US Government- Uniform
Charter Act, a new charter was issued to the
Church dated the 22nd
day of October, 1963.
The building remains largely the same as it was
originally constructed in 1955, an organ and
wood paneling having been added over the years.
In 1997 Robert Shatzel, a gifted craftsman,
Registered Medium, long time summer resident of
Lily Dale, and member of LDSC, approached the
Church Board, stating that the building needed
“a little life” and offered to construct stained
glass windows for the Temple if $400, the cost
of the materials, could be raised for each
window. Following the announcement at the
next Sunday service, all the windows were ‘sold’
within a week and a half. Each window took
about 60 hours to construct, and if Bob had
charged for his time, each window would have
been worth $3000. In addition to
constructing the windows, Bob prepared Plexiglas
inserts to be installed on the outside of each
window to protect it from breakage. Bob
made the windows but he needed someone to
install them. Long time church member
Donald Raupp cleaned and prepared all the
frames, and installed all the stained glass.
These magnificent windows continue to contribute
to the beauty, peace and serenity of the
Temple. The plaques
beside each window indicate the donors are as
In Memory of Rev. Harre C. Millesi
The Lily Dale Healing Association
Thelma and Ted Carman
Ethel and Donald Raupp
In Memory of the Colmes and Stickland Families
Lillian A. Farnham
In Memory of Loved Ones by Lorraine
Hiney and Dean & Lorraine Coursen
Lily Dale Assembly
Donated by Anna Spohn in memory of William
Fellowships of the Spirit
Today Lily Dale Spiritualist Church,
NSAC continues to hold all services and
instructional classes from September to June at
Temple. During the months
of July and August, due to the large number of
individuals in attendance, services are held
every other Sunday in the Lily Dale Assembly
Auditorium, alternating Sundays with the Church
of the Living Spirit.
During the Summer Season, twice daily services
are held in Lily Dale’s
Temple which is dedicated
to the principles of Spiritual Healing. When one
walks into the Temple, a feeling of peace
and renewal can be felt, and it has remained a
place of peace for all those who come to renew
their energies through healing or quiet
meditation and prayer. Those who have chaired
Temple over the years
since the time of T. John Kelly include Louis
Arbogast, Hannah Yoder, James Brynes, Harry
Fogel, Paul Knox, Muriel Lemieux, Thelma Carmen,
and Barbara Sanson.
Born approx 1896, Louis S. Vosburg, Sr. was a
Member of the Horatio Alger Association of
Distinguished Americans, Inc. The
following biography is taken from the Horatio
Louis S. Vosburgh
Chairman of the Board
Lincoln Extension Institute
Class Year: 1965
"I read Horatio Alger's books when I was a boy
and took them to heart."
Louis Vosburgh started life in a humble log
cabin farmhouse in a wooded area of northern
Michigan. Hard farm work
under a stern father and economic hardship
marked his early life. His formal education was
largely acquired in a one-room country school.
His mother died when he was 14. Vosburgh
attended high school for only a few short months
and then took a correspondence course in
electrical engineering. He worked as an
electrician for $1.50 a day, until his tools
were stolen and he decided to change careers.
Vosburgh entered the field of home-study
education as a sales representative and advanced
to district supervisor and general field
superintendent. He founded the Lincoln Extension
Institute in 1922, just before he turned 27. He
was the cofounder and organizer of the National
Home Study Council in 1926. He was
also a founding member of the National Council
of Profit Sharing Industries established in
1948. In 1958, President Eisenhower cited him
for his contributions to the President's
Committee on ‘Education Beyond the High School.’
On August 18, 1950, Louis Summer Vosburgh of
Ohio was accepted by the LDA Board
as a member of Lily Dale Assembly, Inc.
His wife, Sue Emma Vosburgh was accepted to
membership a month later at the meeting held on
September 30. At that same meeting, consent was
granted to the assignment of leases 4,5,6,
Ridgeway Circle, Lots A,B,C,D,E, The Boulevard,
and Lots 43 and 44 The Boulevard to Louis and
his wife, and they subsequently built the large
home which can be seen there today.
On January 6, 1951 the
lease of lot
16 Erie St was also
transferred to the Vosburghs. At the same
meeting permission was given to the Vosburghs to
"build extension of Library and chapel building
on lots 1, 2, & 3 Ridgeway as they see fit, and
as is found agreeable to the present lease
holder Bessie H. Johnson." The Board also
agreed to "deposit in its bank account a check
from Louis A. Vosburgh for $3000, same to be
subject to withdrawal upon Mr. Vosburgh's
orders, the sum to be used to buy property,
transport books etc.” For whatever reason
the extension of the Library and chapel building
did not happen, and on October 27, 1951 consent
was granted to the Vosburghs to lease lots 4 and
5 Melrose Park.
On the 6th of September, 1952, Louis and his
wife were admitted as Life Members to the LDA.
On April 25, 1953 permission was given for
Vosburgh to operate a book shop in Melrose Park from June 1, 1953 to June 1, 1954 with the
privilege of renewing same for another year.
The booklet “75th Anniversary of
the Lily Dale Assembly, Lily Dale, NY; 1979-1954”
indicated that "After remodeling the building so
that it would accommodate his rare collection of
books, it was claimed in 1954 that there were
many thousands of books in the “Louis S.
The books were classified by Mrs. Myrtle Maltby,
who was the Librarian for the Marion H. Skidmore
Library that year. Vosburgh stated:
“The broad purpose of the Library is to help man
increase his awareness of himself; to expand in
soul consciousness, and gradually unfold the
great possibilities and creative powers that lie
deep within his being.” Mr. Vosburgh also
operated the Lily Dale Book Shop in the same
building." It appears that all
Vosburgh’s efforts in life were directed toward
education, not only in Lily Dale, but in all of
his endeavors as will be seen.
At the LDA Board meeting of July 24th, 1953, it
was noted that Mr. Vosburgh had donated $441.00
to replace the floor in the Cafeteria.
Also at that meeting the minutes state: "A
letter from Mr. Vosburgh was read and discussed
in which he stated his willingness to spend
$10,000 for a healing temple for Lily Dale.
At the September 5th meeting of the same year,
the President appointed a committee to talk with
Mr. Vosburgh concerning this project and at the
September 15th meeting: "Motion was made
by May Hurd, seconded by Fred English that the
Board of Directors enter into a contract with
Mr. Louis Vosburgh giving him the right to build
a Healing Temple (to be used by Jack Kelly and
his assistants) on property on East Street
belonging to the LDA."
The building was built at
the direction of John Kelly and his guides,
Kelly being appointed by Vosburgh as the chief
practitioner of the new temple. The
building was dedicated at the beginning of the
1955 Summer Season, and the following
inscription can be found above the inside
doorway of the
I, a sower, cast forth a
seed upon this
plot of earth, and leave
the watchful care of the
Louis S. Vosburgh
The inscription is written inside a triangle.
At the top of the triangle is the Egyptian Crux
(also called ankh and looped cross) a
symbol which goes back some 5,000 years. It is
said to represent life and eternal life. There
is an anecdotal story that the Star of David and
a Christian Cross were originally inscribed in
the corners at the bottom of the triangle but
have since been removed or covered over.
In August of 1955, at the Annual Meeting of
Members, Vosburgh was elected by the membership
as a Director on the Assembly’s Board of
Directors. At the Organizational Meeting
held by the Directors immediately following the
AMM, Vosburgh was urged by the other members of
the Board to accept the position of President –
he reluctantly agreed to do so, and became the
13th President of the Lily Dale
In June of the same year, Vosburgh had been
elected as the 7th President of
Distance Education and Training Council at
their 29th Annual Conference held at
the Hotel Commodore in New York City. He
held this position until June of 1958.
This was a busy time for Mr. Vosburgh.
Not only was he President of his own company,
Lincoln Extension Institute, he was now
President of both Lily Dale Assembly, Inc.
and the Distance Education and Training
Council. This perhaps explains why
Vosburgh was reluctant to accept the Presidency
of the LD Assembly at this time in his life.
On the 2nd of May, 1956, the Vosburghs donated
"the lot at
16 Erie St.
for park purposes for the remainder of the
lease." This lot is currently the site of
Mother's Garden, established by two
sisters, Mrs. Frank (Michele) Takei and Danielle
Lang in memory of their mother.
At the next AMM held on August 13th, 1956 it
appears that a lively discussion regarding the
Temple took place.
Anecdotal stories indicate that Mr. Vosburgh may
have been a Rosicrucian and used Rosicrucian
symbols in the
Temple, and this may have
caused some dissention. In his President's
Report, Vosburgh stated his intention to
continue as President of the Assembly if the
membership supported it, and “if the new Board
be supportive.” However the next entry of
note is a letter from Vosburgh resigning from
the Board, the letter being dated August 13,
1956, the same date as the AMM.
The following month, in a letter dated Sept.
3rd, Vosburgh resigned his membership in the
Assembly, stating "other demands for my time."
In contradiction to this, Mr. Vosburgh was
shown on the membership list of 1963, so it
appears he withdrew his letter of resignation
and continued his membership with the Assembly.
On Sept. 22, 1956, Vosburgh's holdings of Lots
4,5,6 Ridgeway Circle, A,B,C,D,E the Boulevard,
and Lots 43 & 44 The Boulevard were transferred
to William F. Johnson and Barbara Jayne Johnson.
On October 27, 1956, LDA board member William
Johnson, citing the recommendation of the
Assembly's Attorney, moved that President Robert
Mcdonald be authorized to negotiate a loan of
$5000 at 4% interest from the NSAC to pay off a
‘moral’ obligation owing for the Louis S. Vosburg Healing
Temple. The motion
was carried, and revised on November 23rd to
read: "That the President Robert Mcdonald
be authorized and empowered to make a settlement
of the claim of Louis S. Vosburgh for excess
over $10,000 advanced in the construction of the
Temple in the agreed
amount of $5000 with the approval of the
Assembly Counsel.” The money was held in
trust pending approval by the membership at the
AMM in August, 1956, and the following year, on
February 16, 1957, the transfer of ownership of
Temple to Lily Dale
Assembly, Inc. was completed.
On May 11, 1957 Mr. Vosburgh requested and was
paid $100 for items in the
Temple he had personally
paid for; i.e. 2 pair of lined drapes, 2 inside
loud speakers and 1 large outside speaker.
On September 28, 1957, Vosburgh met with the LD
Board to ask if the Board would like to consider
purchasing the books, and take over the
bookstore. The Board declined his offer,
and at the meeting of December 6, 1958 a letter
was read from Vosburgh donating his leasehold at
5 Melrose Park to the LDA for an
Building. The gift
was valued at $12,000, and it appears from the
minutes of that date that Vosburgh was hoping
the building would be named the “Vosburgh Administration
Sometime between the
meeting held on the 13th day of
December, 1958 and the meeting of May 18, 1959,
the Assembly offices were moved from the
Memorial Building on Cottage Row to the former ‘Louis S.
Vosburgh Library’ and ‘Lily Dale Book Shop’,
both housed at 5 Melrose
Park. At the July 22, 1960
meeting, the LDA Board authorized the payment of
$400 to Vosburgh for payment of shelving,
drapes, venetian blinds and other equipment left
in the Administration Building.
From ‘The Lake Beneath the
is no doubt that Vosburgh was impatient, often
egocentric, perhaps without sufficient regard
for the philosophical tenets upon which the
Assembly had developed. But the hand of
God moves in mysterious ways and Lily Dale, by
summer and winter, continues to this day to
benefit from his generosity. He left
behind him, languishing in a dim cellar, a
monumental collection of books of a broad
philosophical nature – occult and arcane arts,
comparative religion, spiritual philosophy,
cabalistic and Rosicrucian philosophy and many
other subjects - books which would have brought
tears of rejoicing to the early Free Thinkers
who founded this colony.” Books
stamped “The Louis S. Vosburgh Collection” are
now located in the Marion H. Skidmore Library, a
valuable part of the history of Lily Dale
As mentioned previously, Mr. Vosburgh was still
shown as a member of the Assembly on the
Membership List of 1963, though his wife was
not. His last known address was at
12506 Edgewater Dr.,
Lake Shore Hotel, Lakewood, OH.
It appears that Vosburgh died in 1965, but his
wife Sue E. Vosburgh (nee Cambron) lived until
1996. Mr. Vosburgh’s son Louis S. Vosburgh,
Jr., born in 1921, died in
on April 2, 1989 at age 68.
DETC Hall of Fame
The Distance Education Hall of Fame
includes outstanding personalities whose
contributions and accomplishments merit
permanent recognition. The names of recipients
are engraved on a permanent plaque that hangs in
the DETC offices:
L. S. VOSBURGH, SR., Lincoln Extension
Institute, Inc., 1964
Institute Correspondence Course on Modern
Lake Beneath the Rocks: The Life and
Legends of Lily Dale 1879-1979” by Blue Ox.
events concerning the origin and erection of the Healing Temple”
by Robert Zagora
Anniversary of the Lily Dale Assembly, Lily
Dale, N.Y.; 1979-1954” compiled and edited by
Merle Williams Hersey.
Book: 1893-1993 N.S.A.C.
interview with Bob Shatzel in January 2010
Minutes of the
LDA Board Meetings
The History of the Distance Education and
Training Council Website.
Historical notes by Joyce La Judice
History of Evergreen Cemetery website
by T. Lynne Forget, March 2010
Rev. Dr. Alexander James McIvor-Tyndall and Rev.
Mrs. Laura McIvor-Tyndall
Laura Hudson Wray and Dr. Alexander J.
McIvor-Tyndall were married on June 13, 1917
Crown Point, Indiana. In 1925, Laura became the
Pastor of Lily Dale Spiritual Church in Lily
Dale, NY, a position which she held until the
fall of 1932. She was a well known medium
who was ordained as a Minister of the National
Spiritualist Association in 1926. We do
not know too much about Mrs. McIvor-Tyndall.
She was purported to have been an actress at one
time, and it appears that Laura’s daughter,
Irene Hughes lived with her grandmother, Emily
Hughes (Laura’s mother) in Denver Colorado.
Laura’s husband Dr. Alexander James
McIvor-Tyndall was a colorful gentleman, noted
to be “one of the most astounding workers ever
to appear on the platform. His exhibition
of mind-reading was spectacular. As a
lecturer he has had few equals.” He and
his wife both served the church in Lily Dale.
It appears that at the same time his wife was
Pastor of the Lily Dale Church, Dr.
McIvor-Tyndall was Pastor of the
Syracuse, NY, having been ordained by the National
Spiritualist Association in 1923. Mr. and
Mrs. McIvor-Tyndall often traveled to
during the winter months to serve Cassadaga
The McIvor-Tyndall’s owned a home at
9 Buffalo St. and it
was reported that he died in Lily Dale, NY on
December 10, 1940.
article is from Scoops.com:
McIVOR-TYNDALL, Alexander James
Swastika Magazine, Ed. 1906-11
Post, writer 1906-07
son of Dr. Alexander Tyndall and his wife Agnes
Stuart Sampson McIvor. Educ. English public
schools, Wellingborough, Market Harborough and
private tutors in
Studied medicine and attained his M.D. from St.
Bartholomew's Hospital in 1888. Moved to the
USA, 1889 and became a
citizen, 1893. Began lecturing on Theosophy in Canada, 1890. Married 1st, 3 Sept.
1896, Margaret Logan. Married 2nd, 13 June 1917,
Laura Hudson Wray. They had 2 daughters. Founded
International Psychic Science
Alliance, 1903. Elected
President of the International New Thought
Fellowship, 1912. Lectured on psychology,
metaphysics and spiritualism in the US, Canada,
1919-38. Ordained minister of National
Spiritualist Association, 1923. Appointed
Prelate of General Assembly of Spiritualists the
same year and was made Dean of the Los Angeles
Scientific Psychical Research Society in
1937-40. Author of several books on
spiritualism. Died 10 Dec. 1940.
Sources of the following article:
Tribune, Dec. 11, 1911; June 16, 1917; Aug. 29,
1917; several undated clippings.
the hypnotist from
who offered to hypnotize Luetgert, was
previously the subject of several articles by
Theodore Dreiser, when the author was reporting
for the St. Louis Republic in 1893.
In his memoir Newspaper
Days, Dreiser recalls an episode when the
"mind reader" McIvor-Tyndall visited St. Louis. He asked the Republic to
bring together some people to ride with him as
he drove a carriage through the city
blindfolded, supposedly guiding his route by
reading the thoughts of the man next to him.
“And, amusingly enough, I was
ordered to get up the committee, -- Dick, Peter,
Rodenberger and myself -- and sit on the seat
and do the thinking while he, blindfolded, raced
in and out between cars and wagons, turning
sharp corners, escaping huge trucks by a hair
only, to finally end up at Dick's door, as my
thoughts directed him. ... When written up as
true, which it was, it made a very good story
Dreiser said the experience
prompted him and his friends to "enter upon
experiments of our own with hypnotists,
spiritualists and the like."
When he was in
in 1897, at the time of the Luetgert trial,
McIvor-Tyndall claimed to have used his powers
of hypnotism to solve other criminal cases. He
said he had been involved in the Hensen case in
Minneapolis and the
Dawson case in Los Angeles.
In 1900, McIvor-Tyndall wrote
a book on palm-reading, Revelations of the
Hand. He adopted the pseudonym Ali Nomad for
a 1913 book on his mystical philosophy,
Cosmic Consciousness: The Man-God Whom We Await,
and a 1916 book, Sex, the Unknown
described by the Chicago Tribune as a
"doctor of new thought and psychic researcher,"
gave a lecture in Chicago on "The Language of the Future." He
called human speech a noise nuisance that caused
countless nervous breakdowns.
The cure? He urged people to
use telepathy, "the language of silence."
"Think of the time when the
human race will be able to communicate without
making a noise," he said. "Noise is what we all
wish to get away from. All have the faculty of
telepathy, whether it be latent or active. Some
say it is a lost faculty of the human mind and
soul. I will say it is both lost and developing
by evolution. It is the universal language of
In another lecture about the
way in which people possess each other,
McIvor-Tyndall said: "We don't own each other.
Neither parents their children; nor wives their
husbands; nor husbands their wives; nor
employers their employees. Let us drop the
prolific use of the possessive pronoun 'my.' "
The Tribune described
him as a charismatic speaker:
Dr. Tyndall is a tall,
handsome dark-eyed man, with long hair and an
oratorical voice. ... At the Whitney Opera House
every Sunday afternoon he spoke to crowded
houses, and daily he held classes at the Masonic Temple.
His followers were numbered in the thousands. He
and Mrs. Tyndall are each over six feet tall and
His wife, Margaret,
said the "doctor" possessed the "sixth sense."
"Once we were walking along
the streets of Los Angeles and he stopped suddenly. He turned
into a store, saying, 'I've got to go in.' It
was a book store Thousands of books were on the
shelves. He went straight back and picked out a
book. He didn't look at any other one or touch
any other one. And in it was a picture of his
She explained that a famous
had read McIvor-Tyndall's hand.
The palmist predicted that a
woman would come into McIvor-Tyndall's life when
he was 35. That woman wasn't Margaret; it turned
out to be a new paramour, an actress named Laura
Hudson (or Laura Hudson Wray or Laura Hughes,
according to various reports). Margaret seemed
resigned to the fact that her husband would fall
in love with the other woman.
"Is there any chance for me
to fight against fate?" she said. "It is the
Cosmic Law, the Cosmic Urge."
In 1911, Margaret
was arrested on charges that she had stolen $800
worth of diamonds from her husband's lover.
Margaret told the story in an interview with the
"The woman is an actress and
a lovely girl. She is pretty and amiable. She
used to be in Hackett's company, but lately
hasn't acted. Why, I wrote a vaudeville sketch
for her and my husband, thinking they might as
well make a good living for themselves and be
happy, but they never got a hearing, so the
piece was not produced.
"Yes, I took the diamonds,
but I did not steal them. I didn't want to say
anything until the doctor came back from New York, but in justice to myself I might
explain a few things. Ten years ago my husband
fell in love with this girl, whose mother lives
Denver, where he then
lived, and he seemed to be simply crazy over
her. Neither he nor I had believed in anything
but mental mates, for we were certainly that,
but evidently there is something else in life.
"Well, they corresponded and
stayed in love it seems. We came to Chicago last June and this girl came through here, saw my
husband, and then she went to
New York and wrote him
to come to her. He went. It wasn't so long ago
that I went to
New York, too. I
realized that these two couldn't live apart and
I was sensible about it. We all three lived in
the same house. She and I both had to have money
and the doctor was so in love that his work
suffered and consequently he was not well off
financially. Then one day the girl said to him
that he might have her two diamond rings any
time he wanted them to pawn. She wrote it, too,
and he has the letter. He didn't pawn the rings,
however, and gave them back to her.
"I wasn't well in
New York. I was nervous
and, of course, it was more or less of a strain
to live there with them, knowing that they loved
each other, though I wasn't jealous, and I knew
that it must be all right. I made up my mind one
day that I would let them have each other and
that I would get out. I didn't quarrel with
either of them, for I had no hard feelings. I am
fond of them both.
"I didn't have any money to
get to my home in California, but the doctor told me what the
girl had told him about her rings. I made up my
mind that I would get them and pawn them. She
was away when I took them out of her trunk, but
I thought she would be glad that I had gone, and
I knew that the doctor's word was good.
"When I got to
I was broken down from a bad case of nerves.
Friends of mine came to see me, and they wired
the doctor that I was ill, and, of course, as I
was his wife, he came to me at once. What else
could he do? We stayed here five weeks. He told
the actress that he would hurry back. Well, I
guess she was angry because he didn't back
sooner, and so she suddenly refused to answer
his letters. He sent letters and telegrams by
the hundred, telling her that he couldn't live
without her, but she wouldn't answer them. He
figured that she had committed suicide and
worried himself to death about her.
"The next thing I knew I was
informed on last Saturday that I was under
for stealing diamonds valued at $800.
"She didn't want her mother
to know, and she must know that this arrest is
going to make everything public.
"She wrote my husband and
said, 'Tell Mag not to worry about the diamonds.
I hope that she will soon be well.' Then she had
me arrested. I don't know whether she thought
the doctor was going to remain with me or not."
Mrs. Tyndall held up a big
ring suddenly and said, "It is this — I tell you
it is this ring!"
It was an Egyptian scarab,
set in ... gold snakes.
"It is the hoodoo. I haven't
had a streak of good luck for so long I don't
know what good luck is. I believe this ring is
accountable for it. I have suspected before that
it is a hoodoo, and I believe I shall discard it
this very night."
Six years later,
the unconventional trio was still together.
McIvor-Tyndall married Laura Hudson, making her
his sixth wife. Now his ex-wife, Margaret
remained a close friend, though she referred to
herself as the "cosmic goat" in the whole
affair. McIvor-Tyndall actually married
twice. In the first ceremony in
Crown Point, Indiana, McIvor-Tyndall's name was misspelled on the
marriage certificate, so the ceremony was
performed over again in Chicago. The Tribune
Today at the
648 North Dearborn Street,
the three still are celebrating, eating ice
cream in a world peopled by nomads and tadpoles
and Philistines, blissful in their own company
and new-thoughtfully scornful of carping
jeerers. It is a strangely contented triangle.
Margaret did not attend the
wedding, however. "You know, I couldn't bear to
witness the ceremony," she said. "Of course, we
have always vibrated in harmony, but I was
afraid my superself would not react. My refusal
to brand as immoral the woman who has taken my
husband from me; my decision to retain the
friendship, which was the foundation of my
association with Dr. Tyndall for twelve years,
is unusual only because the average human being
is undeveloped, selfish and lacking any normal
view of life."
Wife No. 6 smiled, saying,
"Isn't it cosmic? ... We have proved that
harmony among three people is possible; that
true understanding is simple. If all three of us
had not attained to our high plane of mentality
serious consequences might have resulted from
this great love affair."
The Tribune noted,
"The great lover, wearing his Bhakti Yogi aura,
The scandals did
not end with the wedding ceremony.
McIvor-Tyndall's new wife had a daughter, Irene
Hughes, whose age was reported as sixteen or
Even though the girl was
living with her grandmother, Emily Hughes, in Denver, her new stepfather
was supposedly having a weird effect on her. The
grandmother sought criminal charges against
McIvor-Tyndall, claiming that he was hypnotizing
the girl by sending "thought waves" from
Denver, putting her under
"Neighbors declared the girl
acted strangely and talked constantly of
Tyndall," the Tribune reported.
The district attorney,
however, said he had no jurisdiction to charge
the Chicago hypnotist.
Picture of McIvor-Tyndall:
Times-Herald, Oct. 4, 1897.
Chicago Tribune, Dec. 11, 1911; June 16,
1917; Aug. 29, 1917; several undated clippings.