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A Visit to Cassadaga – Did They Know I Was Coming?

I thought I knew a lot about Spiritualism, but upon completing my visit to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp near Deland, Florida, I learned a whole lot more. You probably know how the “movement” got its start in the Victorian era, and you may even be familiar with the Fox sisters and their phenomenal spirit rappings. You doubtless know that Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a devoted Spiritualist. But have you ever heard of Andrew Jackson Davis, who began as a student of hypnosis before transitioning to clairvoyance and who could rightly be called the first “prophet,” for lack of a better word, of the Spiritualist movement? Did you know that Spiritualism is no longer just a movement but is an actual religion, with Spiritualist churches? You, like me, have probably heard of the legendary and infamous town of Lily Dale, New York. But I’d never heard of Cassadaga, which began “life” as a summer retreat for the residents of Lily Dale. Today, one must be a practicing Spiritualist to live in Cassadaga, or must have been given approval to live there. Religious services, in some ways not all that different from your typical Protestant church service (you’ll find portraits of Jesus and hear various Christian hymns) but in other ways vastly different, are held twice weekly in the Cassadaga Temple, which used to be a community center. Such services typically involve séances.

Spiritualist practitioners, alternately known as clairvoyants and mediums, are NOT psychics. In fact there are no psychics allowed to practice within the confines of the Camp. (There are plenty across the street, though.) Spiritualists get all their information from interaction with spirits. They do not credit any ability of their own, although there are some who profess to be both psychic and clairvoyant. To the outsider, the difference between the two might be hard to comprehend at first, but the Spiritualists are adamant that such differences exist, and are important.

So, upon my visit to Cassadaga, did I personally experience any ghostly activity? Yes. I did. I’ll tell you all about it in the follow-up to this article next week.

TheCheezman • September 9, 2018

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