The Travel Channel rated CASSADEGA one of the ten weirdest places in America, but considering the fact it was the only complete town that made the list, it is a fitting rating for an entire village. Cassadega is a real community of people with common although unusual beliefs.
But Cassadega, located between Orlando and Daytona Beach via the Lake Helen exit of I-4, is a real functioning community with real economic, religious, and social institutions. What makes the place so unusual, is that its main economy is spiritualism talking to the deceased via some of the town’s two dozen mediums or during a church meeting. This is no medicine man show and people who come for a lark will be turned away.
While the local residents (some 100) accept the steady flow of curious tourists, smiling skeptics, and entertainment seekers, they are very serious and professional in responding to the honest questions by visitors seeking information. Most of the residents are licensed psychics and certified spiritualists.
When Spiritualist leader GEORGE COLBY arrived in the rural farm area in 1894, few of the nearby farmers realized how a SOUTHERN SPIRITUALIST CAMP MEETING site on 57 acres of land would put the location on the map. The National Register of Historic Places site has no campgrounds for the name camp refers to a gathering place for believers of spiritualism.
Colby had good reason for seeking a winter refuge for spiritualism since he had TB. Incredibly bathing in the waters of Spirit Lake cured him. The best way to feel Cassadega is to walk around the rural streets. I must say that you will experience more on foot than driving in your automobile.
The buildings have been restored in recent years and today’s Sunday healing is held Sunday mornings in the COLBY MEMORIAL TEMPLE (1923) with other Sunday lectures at the ANDREW JACKSON DAVIS BUILDING.
HARMONY HALL is a place with a gift shop, a library on Spiritualism, and what might best be described as a Chamber of Commerce for the mediums. BRIGHAM HALL is another meeting spot for speakers and guests.
Certified mediums are listed online at Cassadega’s main website and many of them have websites and email addresses besides telephone numbers. Since most people don’t know what to expect from a visit to a medium, the Spiritualist community is very deliberate in giving step by step instructions to potential visitors.
The CASSADEGA HOTEL (1928) replaced a Victorian structure that burnt in a fire. Although it is convenient to Daytona Beach, I would NOT book some race car pals into this hotel as a lark. The place is said to be haunted, but that won’t compare to the cold shoulder you will get from all the serious believers if a bunch of ghost hunters with equipment showed up.
The hotel is the home for many of the town’s New Age spiritualists who use a tarot deck and practice a holistic form of spiritualism. Most of the in home resident offices are more traditionalists.
The Cassadega populace takes their spot in the Florida sun with pride and respect.