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Americans in the 19th century sought to refresh themselves by escaping temporarily from what many had come to see as the negative aspects of industrialization--overcrowding, stress, and a sense of disconnection from nature. All-purpose meeting halls like this one were typical fixtures in 19th century campgrounds. Reduced railway fares and its Spiritualist connections lured thousands of Spiritualists to Lake Pleasant in Montague, Massachusetts, each summer to enjoy boating, walking, and visiting in the camp's relaxed atmosphere. Because Spiritualists believe in the ability of the living to communicate with the dead, the Lake Pleasant meeting hall hosted seances conducted by certified mediums as well as concerts and lectures.
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