Established as a Spiritualist community in 1894, Cassadaga consists of approximately 57 acres with 55 residences. Those who reside here have chosen to share in a community of like-minded people where they can live, worship and work in harmony with their beliefs. About 25 of the Camp’s residents are mediums who offer counseling from their homes.
Designated a Historic District on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1991, the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association is the oldest active religious community in the Southeastern United States. In recent years, Spiritualism has seen a resurgence of interest. The "New Age Movement" has attracted many who are searching for a better way of life, those who wish to empower themselves and take responsibility for their lives.
The Cassadaga Spiritualist camp began when Cassadaga was founded by George P. Colby, from Pike, New York, a trance medium who traveled to many different states, giving readings and seances. He was well known, and in his travels, Colby was referred to as the "seer of spiritualism".
Mr. Colby worked with several spirit guides, who would channel knowledge to him. One of his guides was an Indian named Seneca, that had manifested to Colby during a seance in Lake Mills, Iowa. According to Colby, the guide Seneca had instructed him to travel to the south, into Florida, where he eventually arrived at a place called the Blue Springs Landing, near Orange City, Florida. According to Colby, the area that Seneca had lead him to was the same area that Colby had seen during the seance in Iowa.
Colby arrived in Florida in 1875, and several decades later, on the 18th of December, 1894 the charter was granted to form The Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association.
Today, the Camp features 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. Also, there is the Andrew Jackson Davis building, used for musical performances and gatherings, and the annual Cassadaga Masquerade Ball.
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 14, 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 Cassadaga Cemetery draws attention from ghost busters all over the state. The cemetery contains stones dating back to the late 1800s the oldest is a 7 year old boy named George E. Thatcher which was buried in 1872 around the same time the Cassadaga spiritualist community was found. The cemetery is very hilly and despite the fact it is a little over 100 years old the condition of it looks like its much older. Unfortunately over the years this has been a hot spot for desecrations. Many go up there to stone tip and drink and as you walk around the evidence is there as almost half of the stones are broke. There are many strange and a variety of enclosures which mark off the family plots.
What is even more interesting is that the founder of Camp Cassadaga named George Colby is buried here. Even a more interesting fact is an urban legend called the Devil's Chair which is said to exist in this cemetery. Every year around Halloween those that are daring enough sit on it in hopes to speak to the dark prince himself. There are other rumors to that if you leave a can of beer as an offering to the devil over night that in the morning the can of beer will empty as if someone drank it.
If you visit the cemetery, please be respectful of the operating hours. Local police and residents patrol the area and do not take kindly to people drinking beer in the cemetery.