Cassadaga, a Spiritualist camp in central Florida near Deland,
was founded in 1895, but grew out of a message given
from the spirit world to a young Minnesota medium, George
Colby (1848–1833), in 1868. He was told that he would be the
instrument for the founding of a large Spiritualist camp in the
southern United States. In 1875, directed by his spirit guide
Seneca, Colby traveled to Wisconsin where he met T. D. Giddings.
The two then traveled to Florida and found the land to
which Seneca had directed him. In 1880 he filed a homestead
Cartheuser, William Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
claim for the land and in 1884, it was awarded to him. In 1893,
the Spiritualist movement in the United States united to form
the National Spiritualist Association (now the National Spiritualist
Association of Churches). The following year, in cooperation
with people from Camp Lily Dale in New York, who understood
the task of managing a camp, Colby formed the Southern
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association. Colby granted
the new association 35 acres (of the 145 he had been awarded
in his homestead grant). The association’s first meeting was
held in Colby’s home.
The new camp was named for Cassadaga, New York, a town
near Lily Dale. It was designed as a winter haven for Spiritualists
from the north, especially New England. Many built cottages
that they inhabited when they came South for the season.
The association also erected a hotel, a large auditorium, and
various additional buildings. A small town of several hundred
residents soon emerged. Some 300 permanent residents now
live at Cassadaga, of which approximately 100 live on the camp
grounds proper.
A fire ravaged the camp in 1926 and while the major structures
were rebuilt, they were not paid for before the Depression
hit. Several buildings, including the hotel, fell into private
For many years, the programming was focused in several
seasons when special classes and programs were concentrated.
Today, the seasonal emphases have largely disappeared and
classes are held year-round. The camp is the largest Spiritualist
facility in the world.
Henderson, Janie. The Story of Cassadaga. Cassadaga, Fla.
Pisces Publishing, 1996.
Karcher, Janet, and John Hutchinson. This Way to Cassadaga,
Deltona, Fla. John Hutchinson Productions, 1980

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