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We had a wonderful book discussion and signing on Wednesday July 19 with author Jack Kelly! A special thank you to Paul Grondahl, Executive Director of the New York State Writers Institute (co-sponsors of the event), for introducing Jack Kelly and providing detailed context for the evening's talk about the Erie Canal.

Jack Kelly focused on topics of particular relevance to the Shaker Heritage Society, such as the role of the Erie Canal in the revival of religious and spiritual communities across New York State in the 19th century. Audience members asked many interesting questions, and there was even speculation about whether the nearly 53 foot long Meeting House beams may have been shipped along the canal!
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Enjoy an evening of Contra Dance in the historic 1848 Shaker Meeting House for both beginners and seasoned dancers alike. No experience necessary. $6/$10/$12 (student / member or senior / non-member) ... See MoreSee Less

Contra Dance Sponsored by the Dance Flurry

September 19, 2017, 6:00pm - September 19, 2017, 7:30pm

Enjoy an evening of Contra Dan...

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Most modern people are surprised to hear that throughout their history, many Shakers thought it possible to communicate with the Spirit World. In their extensive journals, the Shakers frequently mention going to Spiritualist meetings and hosting mediums. Throughout the next few blog posts, we hope to explore these interesting topics.

In the 1850s, a little person who claimed to possess psychic powers visited the Watervliet Shakers at least twice. The Shaker journal keeper unfortunately does not go into detail or name this woman.

“8 March 1856- The little dwarf medium and another young woman here from Waterford.”

“8 January 1858- The dwarf medium and two other women here from Waterford.”

“16 January 1858- Dwarf medium and friends taken to the depot.”

It is interesting to note that in 1858, the medium seemed to stay for eight days. The Shakers often tried to limit the length of stay for most guests from the general public, yet this implies that the Shakers were close friends with or were receiving a service from this woman.

If any of our readers have found other references to the "Little Dwarf Medium," please contact us as we would love the opportunity to do more research on this topic.

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