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Christine Wicker may or may not believe in spooks, though the Dallas Morning News journalist passed curious days and sleepless nights in Lily Dale, N.Y., in an attempt to find out. “The Dale,” as it is affectionately called by residents and visitors, is the oldest Spiritualist community in the country. Every summer, some 20,000 lost souls trek to the Western New York town to consult mediums and assuage sorrow, looking for inexpensive insight into why loved ones died so young or whether hard times will be getting any better. Wicker’s Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead is a masterpiece of balance, alternating reports of outright fraud with charming anecdotes of glimpsed spirits, such as the little-old-lady ghost who frowns whenever the current resident of her former home considers redecorating in red. Readers with an agenda will likely find backup for their beliefs here, but whether the lore of Lily Dale is sacred or sacrilege, Wicker will never tell. Tune into the energy when Wicker reads at 7:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 3040 M St. NW. Free. (202) 965-9880. (Tricia Olszewski)