At a glance, Cassadaga looks like a central Florida town like any other. Nestled between lakes and lush forest (the name is Seneca for "water beneath the rocks"), it's a small town, unincorporated in Volusia County, Florida. But Cassadaga has a very unique title. It's the Psychic Capital of the World.
With a population of only a hundred residents, approximately half are practicing psychics. This odd prestige intrigued photographer Christiaan Lopez-Miro. “I've always been fascinated with magic and illusion, as well as the intrigue of the occult,” he said.
“When I found out about Cassadaga, I instantly thought of ... ghosts and all the things one would usually think of when told there is a town where all its residents are psychics, healers and mediums. Of course I wanted to explore it further.”
The history of Cassadaga's reputation as a hub for psychics dates back to the mid-1800s when trance medium George P. Colby's mission to better organize the Spiritualist Camp at Lily Dale, New York, an adjacent town to Cassadaga, New York.
Working with a Seneca spirit guide, Colby felt divinely inspired to relocate to Florida where Colby believes he found a place foretold to him in a seance vision. He named is Cassadaga, after the Chautauqua County village in New York.
By 1894, Colby had obtained a charter for the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Florida and purchased 57-acres for the camp.
Today, the Cassadaga Camp is the central focus of the community. It's where 55 (of the Cassadaga's total 100) residents live with "like-minded people." They use the word "camp" in the antiquated sense; there aren't literal camp sites, but subdivisions of homes.
Many of Cassadaga Camp's residents practice out of their homes, offering counseling, readings and spiritual therapies.
The Cassadaga Hotel, auditorium, Memorial Temple, healing center, bookstore and library are all located on the camp.
Although spirituality is at the forefront of Cassadaga's focus, there isn't a specific religion or creed.
As the camp guidebook explains, "Spiritualism has no dogma or creed, just a simple set of nine principles to help guide our lives. Science, philosophy, and religion based upon the principle of continuous life."
During Lopez-Miro's time there, many of the Cassadaga residents encouraged the photographer to do his own healing work. According to him, “I didn't want to insult them and they were pretty persistent, so I obliged. Definitely never thought I would be falling back on the floor and having them cover me with a bed sheet. While laying on the floor, a person was reading some passages from what I assume was a Bible."
According to Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, every person has an aptitude for psychic ability: "Everyone is psychic; it is our sixth sense which utilizes thought vibrations to obtain information. A Medium has natural vibratory energies capable of merging with spiritual energy enabling information and assistance of a higher quality to come through."
Cassadaga has set some fairly high standards for itself. Anything it deems to huckster is prohibited from the camp.
From the camp's official stance: "Psychic science tools such as palm reading, tarot cards, etc., are not utilized in the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp. It is our desire to educate and provide the highest level of mediumship ministry to all who come seeking. All Mediums in our organization work as mental and/or healing Mediums."
Although there are six nearby hotels in the surrounding communities, Cassadaga has only one hotel. The eponymous building is rumored to be haunted, dating all the way back to 1927.
There's something of a divide in Cassadaga between the more religious mediums and those, more commercially prone and with a bigger emphasis on showmanship, at the hotel.
If you do find yourself able to communicate with the spirits, Cassadaga Hotel may have a place for you. From their web site: "We are currently seeking a qualified medium experienced in spirit contact 5 days a week 11am - 4:30pm. Must have current references and active client base. Bilingual preferred."
Via: Business Insider | Cassadaga Camp