There’s a place in Florida where people go to talk to their dead friends and relatives.
No, it’s not a cemetery. It’s the home of about two dozen Spiritualists.
In this place in Florida, the medium is not the message. The medium helps you find the message.
Cassadaga probably is the place in Florida where motorists can encounter (and I use that word advisedly) street signs that say:
SLOW – GHOST CROSSING
Of course, that’s one way the Spiritualists promote their calling. Another is to call Cassadaga ‘The Psychic Center of the World’.
Cassadaga is about 30 miles northeast of downtown Orlando just off Interstate 4 on the way to Daytona Beach. The name is a Seneca Indian word meaning ‘rocks beneath the water’, although it’s not clear why it was used in Cassadaga’s case.
The town was founded in 1875 by George Colby, a Northern Spiritualist who said he was told during a séance that he would find such a place in the South. His spirit guide, Seneca, it is said, led him to the Cassadaga site.
What’s A Spiritualist?
If you’re a Spiritualist, you believe that the Spirit survives physical death and moves into another dimension where it continues to exist as an individual, with all the characteristics of its human personality.
What’s a medium?
It’s commonly held that spirits actively seek communication with the world they have left behind. ‘Mediums’ are go-betweens.They help them do this.
In the late 1800s, a number of religious communities, including the Koreshan Unity and Shakers, were founded in Florida. Cassadaga is one of the few that remains today.
It’s said that Colby’s séance that led him to establish Cassadaga in Florida took place in Iowa, my home state. I can believe that, and here’s why:
As a child of 10 in the 1940s in Iowa, I was taken by my parents to a relative’s house every Friday night where we would play ‘Table Up’, as we called it.
The only requirements were a card table and three persons with 10 fingers each. The four chair (or none at all) was vacant. All 30 fingertips had to touch the table (nothing special about the table) and the three participants (endowed, I supposed then, with certain electrical hits) would begin to chant in unison, ‘Table up, table up, table up,’ until sometimes the vacant side of the card table lifted off the floor.
Folks, I am not making this up.
And then the fun began. Like an Ouiji Board, the table could be asked any question and it would answer by rising up and down. I do not remember exactly how the answers were determined.
As a 10-year-old, I do not recall any relative referring to this as a séance, but I think that’s what spiritualists would call it. That’s because they say it is someone’s spirit answering the questions by lifting the fourth side of the card table. In other words, it is communicating with the dead.
Can you imagine – even with today’s whiz-bang toys – there can be more fun for a 10-year-old than ‘Table Up’?
I can not confirm that ‘Table Up’ is played in this place in Florida. You may want to visit Cassadaga to find out for yourself.
To this day, I think we were talking to dead relatives when we played ‘Table Up’ in Iowa, and you can believe that or not.