A "sense of spirit" is much like a "sense of humor" - not everybody has it, but it's pleasant to be around people who do. "Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead" by Christine Wicker is about an entire town that has a sense of spirit. You're not allowed to live there unless you communicate with the dead, or at least believe that your neighbors do.
The author, in her capacity as a religion reporter for a newspaper, planned an article on this town, which turned into this book. Believers will find her tone preposterously skeptical, and skeptics will find her tone maddeningly believing, but it makes interesting reading if not approached as a call to "rally round the flag" of either camp. Also, there is a picture of Houdini in it.
But the main inspiration here is that people should really look into creating a town where everybody in it has a sense of humor.