Sadie Stein at The Paris Review:
One Monday evening some five years ago, I walked into my first Spiritualist service. In those days, the New York Spiritualist Church held services roughly once a month in a broad-minded white-marble Methodist structure designed to hold some thousand parishioners. But the Spiritualists only filled the first few rows. It was dim, churchy-smelling, and vast.
I’d thought about what to wear. It was, after all, a church; it was also seven in the evening in late November. In the end, I changed out of my jeans and wore a high-necked Laura Ashley dress and a tweed jacket and my least ironic glasses. My hair was severely curtailed into a topknot. I suppose, as in many such moments, I was trying to control the one thing I could. As it turned out, I could have worn anything. There were people in jeans, there were people in gowns, there was a Guardian Angel beret—or maybe it was just a red hat.