Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp
September 1, 2023
In 1894 George Colby and a vast group of people who sought enlightenment bought a 57 acre piece of land in Southeast Florida, that sat nestled about 30 minutes away from Daytona Beach. George Colby and fellow Spiritualists declared that place the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. This land was used as a “Camp Meeting” place for Spiritualists to listen to lectures, healing sessions, and attend religious services. The term “Camp Meeting” was only meant as an annual gathering of religious groups. There have never been facilities for visitors to actually camp overnight in Cassadaga. It was not until many years later that folks began to set up permanent residencies here. In 1992 the National Register of Historic Places declared Cassadaga an important piece of the area’s history and listed it as a Historical District. It is also worthy to note that the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association (SCSCMA) is the oldest active religious community in America’s Southeast region.
From dawn until dusk Cassadaga is open to the public. The residents of Cassadaga welcome all to join in their workshops, lectures, and other public events throughout the year. Those that call Cassadaga home have taken the care to preserve the local ecosystem and have created many parks and meditation areas for anyone called to use them. There is a small museum of oddities and the area’s history is very much so worth a visit. Also, never have I ever seen so many metaphysical shops and tarot readers in such a small area. The Mediums and readers that are true residents in the town are certified and go through a great deal of study/training in order to be recognized by the SCSCMA. In fact completing this training is necessary for anyone that wishes to actually live in Cassadaga.
Now, to anyone who wishes to explore this village of Mediums first hand, if you are looking for a spectacle you will not find it here. Cassadaga is a place of spiritual energy and the observers of the Spiritualist religion take their faith seriously. They are there to assist in healing and teaching; they are not there to entertain. Prior to making our trip my friend and I read many negative online reviews of Cassadaga; most of which were written by people that felt somehow disappointed with their visit or readings. My friend and I believed that these people were expecting some gimmicked tourist town, full of people dressed as wizards and bards. None of that exists in Cassadaga; what does exist are normal people that explore this world somewhat differently than most. This fact is why most of Cassadaga is closed to the public after dusk; it is because it is their home. They wish to wind down at the end of the day like all of us do.
We did speak with some locals and they shared stories of instances where they had to call police because there was a naked person in their backyard doing a ritual. There are other park areas where the locals have to clean up because people left so many mementos of long passed loved ones in their trees. Though it is a beautiful gesture, it all does accumulate and eventually just become piles of rubbish. Spiritualism is a federally recognized religion in the United States and Spiritualists believe that life continues on after death; that this physical body is but a vessel for the spirit to move around on this plain. Spiritualists commonly practice communicating with those who have passed on to the next realm. Hence the heavy emphasis on Mediumship, as it is seen as a tool to understand the next life after this physical life.
At the time of this writing there are 47 SCSCMA certified Mediums living in Cassadaga and it is common to see signs for their services hanging outside their homes. Physical and spiritual healing is also practiced by the Spiritualists of Cassadaga. These healing practices also coexist with the work of Mediumship. There are many SCSCMA certified Healers living here. They are often found assisting residents and visitors with their healing needs at the Caesar Forman Healing Gazebo. Healing is offered during the Spiritual Service time, along with many other metaphysical services available as well.
My friend and I are very much looking forward to returning to Cassadaga. This location is quite special. There is a blend of ancient energy that comes from the Earth itself as well and the energy and souls of the people that have made Cassadaga what it is today. We encountered the massive amount of energy that radiates from Cassadaga first hand before we even fully reached the town. As our car drove over this little bridge just outside of Cassadaga a sudden wave of energy swept over me. I had the sensation that I was falling even though we were riding over a flat road. Then my ears began to ring and both ears “popped” at the same time.
My eyes appeared to be seeing with high definition clarity and I felt as though I could see all around me at the same time. “Did you feel that?”, my companion asked me. At the sound of her voice, I came back to my normal sense within the car. “It feels like we just rode through a bubble. There seems to be an energy field that is present to keep something out”. I did in fact understand what she was talking about. There was a sensation that we passed through a thick barrier that has only gotten stronger as the years have gone by. After our trip to Cassadaga, others shared with her that they also sensed that same energy when they visited. Even down to the detail of receiving the message that the energy that surrounds this place is…keeping something out. We as explorers of this realm may never come to understand what that “something” is.
It is a wonder as to why this particular location was chosen by George Colby and the other followers of Spiritualism. Could it be possible that we felt the same energy entering Cassadaga as they did over a century ago? It can be said that nothing is impossible and as cliche as it sounds…not everything is as it seems. It is possible that one of the most fascinating and energized towns in Florida (or maybe even in America) doesn’t even have its own grocery store.