Cassadaga (Florida) is a small community located in Volusia County, just north of Deltona. It is known for having a large number of psychics and mediums, and is known as the “Psychic Capital of the World”. The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a 121 year old community of spiritually-minded people. The little town is well known for its paranormal activity and has even been featured on paranormal and ghost hunt programs.
On the surface, Cassadaga resembles a Florida Mayberry. Set in the backwoods between Daytona and Orlando, the little “Psychic Capital of the World,” has long been a sanctuary for mediums, healers, psychics, and some say – just plain freaks.
The Cassadaga Spiritualist camp began when the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association was founded by George P. Colby, a trance medium from New York who traveled to many different states, giving readings and seances. He was well known throughout the country and in his travels, he was referred to as the “seer of spiritualism”. Colby attended summer Spiritualist Camp meetings at Lily Dale, New York, a town adjacent to Cassadaga, New York. He worked with several spirit guides who would give him knowledge. One of his spirit guides was an Indian named Seneca, who had manifested to Colby during a seance in Lake Mills, Iowa. According to the stories Colby told, Seneca had instructed him to travel south to Florida. He eventually arrived at a place called Blue Springs Landing, near Orange City, Florida. According to Colby, this area was the same area that Colby had seen during the seance in Iowa when Seneca appeared to him.
Colby arrived in Florida in 1875. It wasn’t until December, 1894 he was granted a charter form The Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association. The people who came to the Spiritualist Camp in the early days of its formation were affluent and well educated. The Cassadaga Spiritualist camp was named after the small Spiritualist Camp community found outside of Lily Dale, NY.
MODERN DAY CASSADAGA
Today, the Camp includes the Cassadaga Hotel, a central auditorium, The Colby Memorial Temple, a community library, the Caesar Forman Healing Center, a Camp Bookstore, and a welcome center. There is also an educational building used for musical performances and gatherings. Close-by is the Colby-Alderman Park.
Two distinct tendencies have emerged within the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp—the New Agers and the religious, non-profit organization charged with running the camp. A single street separates them from each other. The New Agers use tarot cards and stick to the Cassadaga Hotel. A stone’s throw away is the religious organization maintains the traditional belief system that Colby established in the 1800s. That’s not to say the Cassadaga Hotel and its hired psychics don’t stay true to Spiritualism as religion, but they’re a bit more relaxed about it.
The Cassadaga Hotel—the only hotel in Cassadaga—is allegedly haunted. The hotel’s website states that the hotel has “friendly spirits”. The upper floors of the hotel are reserved for the psychics to work. It is rumored that one of the psychics working there received her “calling” during Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. She also runs a psychic kids summer camp in Orlando.
The tour associated with the Camp stops at Victorian-era homes on the main street. The tour guide tells stories of one of the resident-mediums speaking to Abraham Lincoln. Along the tour, the guide also tells the history of Colby and shows photographs from a leather album. The guide tells of spirits coming in the night to certain rooms of the houses, peeking out of windows, Xerox machines going haywire, the many more spirit-happenings.
The principles of spirituality that are taught by the people at Cassadaga state, “Spiritualism has no dogma or creed, just a simple set of nine principles to help guide our lives”. According to the teachings of Spiritualism, it is the “Science, philosophy, and religion based upon the principle of continuous life”. In March of 1991, the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist camp was declared a U.S. Historic District. The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a federal tax-exempt Church currently governed by a Board of Trustees.
The website for the Spiritualist Camp offers “Spirit Encounters,” “Requests for Healing,” and even offers a list of mediums. They offer paranormal scientific workshops and workshops on how to be a better medium or psychic. You can also visit several different mediums for readings. If you are interested in understanding a mystical realm, Cassadaga is the place for you. Anyone going for the first time should go with an open mind. If you do not have any prior psychic knowledge go into your reading with a notepad and write down key things your psychic says to reflect on at a later date.
Be prepared if you visit ~ Cassadaga is a little bit of a weird place.