Florida Travel: Sunday Afternoon Messages at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp

"Camp Medium Available" at Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp.

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I traveled to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Florida to attend the Sunday Afternoon Message Service and left shocked with what the medium said.

Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Campmeeting Assoc. is the Oldest Religious Community in the Southeastern United States.

Spiritualism Religious Movement

Between the 1840s and 1920s, the Spiritualism religious movement was prominent in the United States. It is based on philosophy, religion, and science that the living can communicate with spirits of the dead. This is done when a medium connects with souls and relays messages to the living.

From New York to Florida: Founder of a Spiritualist Camp in Florida

George P. Colby was born in New York in 1848. He and his family moved to Minnesota when he was a boy. Shortly after turning 12 years old, the spirit of Colby’s uncle communicated with him and told him he would establish a spiritual center in the Southern U.S.

During his teen years, Colby honed his mediumship skills and as an adult, he traveled as a medium, giving readings and leading seances. During his travels through Iowa in 1875, he met a Native American spirit guide named Seneca who instructed him to meet up with medium T. D. Giddings in Wisconsin. He did as instructed. Seneca met up with the two and the three participated in a seance. The Native American said several spirits determined the two men will establish a spiritualist camp in Florida, and so they did.

They found the perfect spot with pine-covered hills surrounded by lakes in what is today’s Lake Helen in western Voluisa County, Fla. Colby built a house and farmed the land. In 1894, the spiritualist camp was established. “Cassadaga,” a word used by the Seneca Native American people, means “rocks beneath the water.” It is believed the name was chosen for Colby’s connection to Lily Dale, which was originally called the Cassadaga Lake Free Association, near Cassadaga Lake in New York. That community helped him realize his vision of a sustainable spiritualist camp in Florida.

"Camp Mediums Available" at Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, West Volusia County, Fla., Oct. 2019.
“Camp Mediums Available” at Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, West Volusia County, Fla., Oct. 2019.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp: Oldest Active Religious Community in the Southeastern U.S.

The Spiritualism movement dwindled in the U.S. during the mid-twentieth century as many, but not all, mediums and psychics were proven frauds. Today, Spiritualism continues with a following. The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is the oldest active religious community in the Southeastern United States and home to several certified mediums and psychics, including student mediums.

Interested in communicating with a spirit on the other side? Or, have an aura reading? The camp’s Welcome Center lists those available for walk-in sessions. Staff won’t help visitors in selecting a spiritualist; visitors are intuitively guided in selecting one right for them.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga, Fla., Oct. 2019
Location of the Sunday Afternoon Message Service, Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, West Volusia County, Fla., Oct. 2019.

Sunday Afternoon Message Service

Although a skeptic, I have visited the camp a couple of times. On a Sunday afternoon, I stopped on my way home from Daytona Beach and decided to participate in something I have not done. The Sunday Afternoon Message Service. This is where certified mediums and student mediums demonstrate the continuity of life by delivering brief messages to members of the public.

I arrived at the Andrew Jackson Davis Building and Camp Bookstore about five minutes prior to the service and missed the potluck brunch. I took a seat in the middle of the room. Anxiously, I looked around wondering if I was surrounded by Spiritualists, those believing in using a medium to communicate with the spirit world; skeptics; or those who are simply curious. There were about 50 of us. However, during the hour, the medium pointed out there were the spiritual presence of more women, men, children, and at least one dog.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga, Fla., Oct. 2019
Front of the Room for the Sunday Afternoon Message Service at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in West Volusia County, Fla., Oct. 2019.

“May I Step Into Your Vibration?”

The student medium delivered messages to three people in the room and she did so by scanning the room, selecting a person, and asking, “May I come to you?”

When the person agreed, the student “stepped into their vibration” and began delivering messages. She delivered messages for about 10 minutes after which a certified medium continued through the balance of the service.

Messages seemed as though they could apply to anyone in the room. The student and medium said they saw older women offering encouragement, or men with ailments of the chest. All delivered messages were positive and made the recipients feel good.

There was not enough time for everyone to hear a message and as the medium scanned the room, I hoped he would not choose me. I cry over Publix holiday and Hallmark commercials and knew if he started talking about something I could relate, the waterworks would flow.

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga, Fla., Oct. 2019
Entrance into the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Fla., Oct. 2019.

Don’t Pick Me. Don’t Pick Me…Okay…

“The woman in the black shirt and sunglasses on your head,” he said, and I knew he had a message for me, “You need to finish your book.”

Tears welled up in my eyes.

The medium continued with what seemed to be the longest message delivery of the afternoon. Most of what he said is a generic but some of it hit nerves. He gave some generic descriptions but also delivered very specific information about my past and present and offered motivation and advice for my future.

“If only you had a few breaks in life, it would be so much better,” he told me. He said I have a lot of spirits supporting and rooting for me and how they can help with automatic writing. At that moment, I did not know what automatic writing is.

Following the service, I wandered through the Cassadaga Fairy Trail to clear my head. This short, sweet trail has pockets of mystical, magical, and quirky figurines, art, and messages. Look for ferries, gnomes, and a President Obama bobblehead, among other things. There is also a pair of fairy wings to pose for the perfect photo. It is part of the West Volusia Wings of the West Trail.

A couple who attend the Sunday Afternoon Message Service about once a month approached and told me I had a very good reading.

“With the automatic writing, you’ll be writing a best seller,” the husband enthusiastically told me. Still, I did not know what it was until I sat in my car and Googled it. Whoa. I encourage you to look it up.

Horseshoe Park & Fairy Trail Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga, Fla., Oct. 2019
Fairies Along the Cassadaga Fairy Trail, Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Fla., Oct. 2019.

Was the Medium Spot On?

My mind flipped trying to figure out how the medium was spot on. I did not speak to anyone before the service and did not notify anyone in advance I was attending. How did anyone know I write?

How did the medium know I am in the process of self-publishing a book? I hired an editor to polish it up and she quickly did. However, I have sat on it for more than two years. Is the spiritual world really telling me to move forward with publishing a book or was it all pure coincidence?

In the end, maybe the answer does not matter, but the way the message motivates me to move forward in life does. My visit to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp was brief yet, I left feeling fulfilled, satisfied knowing my life is on the right path.

Horseshoe Park & Fairy Trail Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Cassadaga, Fla., Oct. 2019
A Gnome and His Home Along the Fairy Trail in the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Fla., Oct. 2019.

Nuts & Bolts About Visiting the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp
Cassadaga Bookstore & Information

1112 Stevens Street
Cassadaga, Fla. 32706
Tel: (386) 228-2880
Open: Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Located about a three-hour drive northeast of North Port, Fla., and about 45-minute drive north of Orlando.

The Sunday Afternoon Message Service is every Sunday for an hour beginning at 12:30 p.m. Arrive early for the potluck brunch which is by donation. Prior to the message service, they collect offerings. All electronics, including cellphones, should be turned off during the service.
The camp is open sunrise to sunset.
In addition to the bookstore and readings, seminars, classes, services, and guided tours are available.

The Historic Tour is a walking tour through the Victorian-era community where participants learn about the camp’s history and mystery dating to its beginnings through today.

Offered Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Cost: Adults: $15; Children 7 – 12: $7.50; Children 6 and younger: Free.

For night owls, try the Encountered Spirit Night Tour where a guide leads participants to the energy hot spots. Take photos! You may capture an image of an energy orb or something else indicating spirit energy.
Offered Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Adults: $25; Children 12 and younger: $15.
Reservations recommended for both tours.
Tel: (386) 228-2880

View Additional Photos on Flickr

Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, Oct. 2019

Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. In 2023, she was a finalist in AARP's Benefits Badass competition. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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