They arrive daily – sometimes by the busload. They are the bereaved seeking comfort, paranormal enthusiasts, and the curious. They are tourists, and they come to consult one of the more than 50 mediums, psychics, and healers. Where they come to is Cassadaga – home of the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp – the oldest active religious community in the southeastern United States.
Cassadaga is one of those quaint little Central Florida towns that you might just drive through on the way to somewhere else with hardly a glance.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and thus provides a step back in time. It is filled with residents that don't look any different from you or me. There really is nothing scary or spooky about Cassadaga.
Cassadaga was founded in 1894 by spiritualists who were looking for a warm weather retreat from the harsh New York winters. Defined by its folklore, this religious group is really not very different from other religious groups. They believe in God, Jesus, the Bible and the Golden Rule. They are different only in their belief that they can communicate with the dead. It is important to note that they are not associated with Witchcraft or Black Magic.
Today, Church members occupy about fifty-seven acres of land that is collectively owned. There are 55 residences occupied by people with like-minded beliefs, but only about 25 identify as "mediums" who offer counseling from their homes.
Readings by the Camp's certified mediums are intended to give you insight into your life or perhaps let you commune with the dearly departed. Other services include psychics, palm and card readers, tarot readings, and handwriting analysis.
Historic tours of Cassadaga are held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday each week.
Other special events include Spirit Encounters Night Photography Tours, Healing Classes, Reiki Healing Circles, Sunday Church Services and more are held at various times of the week.
If ghostly gatherings and "reading" retreats are your thing and you'd like to spend some time in Cassadaga, the Cassadaga Hotel is located in the center of the spiritualist community. Or, if you would rather put a bit of distance between you and the spiritualists, there are two nearby bed & breakfasts — The Ann Stevens House, just blocks from the center of Cassadaga, and Cabin On The Lake, two miles from the town.
Dining is limited. Sinatra's Laldila Ristorante is located within the Cassadaga Hotel and reviews are mixed, although most agree the wine is excellent.
The Camp is located just off I-4 between Orlando and Daytona Beach approximately 30 to 45 minutes from the major attractions.