Last weekend I decided to take a trip with my younger brother to a famous town in Central Florida called Cassadaga, a spiritualist camp founded over 117 years ago where a dense population of mediums and psychics currently reside and practice their craft on a daily basis. I must admit, I was quite excited about the adventure. Never before had I stayed in a place known for supposedly harboring spirits and entities from realms other than our own.
Now to be perfectly honest, I am going to tell the absolute truth about my experience in the Cassadaga Hotel.
In the early evening my brother and I ventured onto the second floor of this place that reminded me of the Overlook Hotel in the movie The Shining, except much smaller. As expected, the place was old and spooky. It was a Sunday night, and we were practically the only ones there. The stairs made one heck of a creaking sound with each of our hesitant, ascending steps.
After roaming the hallways of the second floor, which gave the impression of going on for miles and miles into the unknown, with their dim lights and seemingly endless floors, we stumbled upon a kind of living room with an array of old fashioned chairs lined around the perimeter. Beside the entrance door was a sign that read “Séance Room”. Without bothering to turn on the lights, a mild adrenaline rush overcame the both of us. We sat in one of the chairs, turned on our voice recorder, and began to ask questions into the silent nothingness.
“Is there anyone here tonight that would like to communicate with us?”
There was only silence, and even after nearly two hours of begging and pleading (“please manifest yourself!”) into the air with someone we could not see, acquiring no results whatsoever, we decided to call it a night and went back to our room on the first floor.
This is where we listened to the recording of the tape. There was nothing out of the ordinary. No staticy voices answering our questions (commonly known as Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP’s) from the other side.
While inside our bedroom we decided to give it another go. We turned on the voice recorder, begged and pleaded for some form of communication like two children pleading with Santa Claus for that special Christmas gift. We achieved the same void result as we had in the Séance Room. The ghosts of Cassadaga had, at least for the moment, given us the cold shoulder.
We had been told by a psychic in the hotel that if we took enough pictures, anywhere in Cassadaga, we would eventually find orbs (which, according to them, are spirits lingering around) inside the picture. I had already taken many photos while inside the hotel and was sad to see that not a single orb had appeared.
My brother and I sat in silence, lying on the bed, staring into the darkness of the room for what seemed an eternity, hoping that something would happen, but nothing did. And I must admit, I was quite disappointed.
And I needed a breath of fresh air, so I stood up, turned on the light, and opened the back door of our room which led to a large wooden porch. The night was cool and extremely still. Not a single sound anywhere. Not a breeze, not a footstep.
Suddenly I witnessed a small shadow on the ground, moving its way towards me, slowly. I nearly screamed at first, at least before realizing that it was only a black, shorthaired cat. As an authentic cat lover would naturally do, I called the kitty towards me and she (please forgive me, I have the habit of assuming all cats are females) ran past my legs and through the open door into our bedroom. I turned around and witnessed as she jumped onto the bed, as nimble as an acrobat, where my brother lay.
“What’s this?” he asked, a bit fascinated by our unexpected visitor. The cat was already making herself comfortable at the foot of our bed. She began to purr loud enough to where it seemed as if she were a vibrator with a tale and whiskers.
Never in my life had I come across such a friendly street cat (although I assume this one had an owner because she wore a blue collar). She had come to us out of nowhere, jumped onto our bed as if she owned the place, and expected us to treat her like a queen.
After petting her for nearly half an hour, she suddenly became aggressive, bit my hand and ran off the bed. I must admit, I was slightly unnerved by her sudden change in attitude, assuming that she suffered from bipolar disorder, as many felines do. I opened the back door and let her on her merry way, back into the night where she had come from.
“That was kind of weird don’t you think?” I said.
“You bet,” my brother concurred.
As mundane as this occurrence might have seemed, I was suddenly animated and wanted to re-explore the hotel. My brother told me he had seen enough and just wanted to sleep. I left him in the room and went out into the lobby where I ran into a group of paranormal investigators from a society called Big City Paranormal (For more authentic paranormal pictures visit: www.bigcityparanormal.com). They were very friendly individuals and invited me to sit with them at a table outside on the porch, which encompassed the entire first floor of the hotel. On their laptop computer they showed me some of the pictures they had taken.
“These are fairies,” one of them told me, showing a picture of a tiny birdlike creature that appeared to magically glow, the result of a shot they had taken in the forest nearby, earlier in the night.
He then told me that on a previous trip to Cassadaga (they were already frequent flyers to the area) they had taken a random night picture of a set of steps which led to the hotel. “I hadn’t seen anybody on the steps,” he told me. “There was nobody there when I took the shot.”
What I saw in the picture was quite frightening. On the steps was what appeared to be a black figure, like a human shadow without a head, standing on the second step.
I was quite perplexed at what I was seeing. Who could it be? What could it be?
Another investigator explained to me why Cassadaga is known for harboring so many spirits.
“Jut think about it,” she told me, obviously experienced on the topic. “Almost everybody who lives here is a psychic medium who makes their living invoking spirits on a daily basis, and not all of those spirits go back to where they came from afterwards.”
Later in the night I joined them ( not before running to wake up my brother for faze two of our little excursion) on a nocturnal trek throughout Cassadaga. We roamed the town silently and then found ourselves in the local forest, looking like a group snipers on a top secret mission, armed with cameras and flashlights instead of weapons. I must admit, I felt like a little kid again, and I mean that in a positive way.
I took picture after picture of almost everything I could see, and, even though I never caught a shot of the shadowman (which I was later told was a well known apparition throughout Cassadaga), I was genuinely appreciative when I looked at my digital camera and found that I had finally caught some of the so called orbs, even though I considered the possibility that they may have been something more mundane than what the psychic had described to me earlier.
So, to conclude the story of my one night stay in what is known for being one of the most haunted places in the United States, I must admit that I personally did not experience anything that I could dub a “paranormal” experience, with the possible acceptance of the orbs in some of my pictures.
I came to Cassadaga with an open mind, yet simultaneously skeptical as well. I could easily lie and/or exaggerate certain facts in order to make this blog more enticing, but I won’t.
The orbs in some of my pictures may have been the mere product of dust, or something else, in my lens. Just as I am open to the possibility that they could have been something from another realm which mankind has yet to fully comprehend. The fairies that the paranormal investigators caught on camera might have been nocturnal insects -too difficult to see with the naked eye at that hour- that appeared to be something magical because of the flash. I couldn’t say for sure, however, keeping in mind that I am unaware of what kind of creatures may fly around at that time of night. Maybe there aren’t any night flyers of that size in Cassadaga. Maybe these winged creatures in the picture are indeed something from another world that can only be caught on camera. For now this is a mystery to me.
The black cat that came out of nowhere after we tried to communicate with the dead may have been just that, a friendly black cat in search of attention, and nothing more.
Or maybe there is more to it all.
The shadowman that my new friends had caught in their picture, I must admit, has left me baffled (and spooked).
I’ll let you, the reader of this blog, decide for yourself.
Either way, I will use an analogy with respect to my personal lack of concrete findings.
My mother and stepfather currently live in a highly wooded area in Central Florida (about 45 minutes from Cassadaga). On many occasions they have come across a bear or two in their back yard, only a few feet away from the patio. I have also spoken to the neighbors who confirm the same sightings. They have showed me pictures of the bears in the backyard. However, every time I have stayed there for a few days or more, which I have done on and off for the past ten years or so, I have NEVER come across a single bear.
I have even sat on a chair in the patio for hours, peering into the wilderness, just hoping for one to casually rummage its way into my range of vision, but it has never happened.
But just because I have never actually witnessed a bear with my own eyes, I do not deny the fact that others have, nor do I refuse to acknowledge that they, or anything else that we haven’t seen with our own eyes, exist.
Neither should you.
Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Tangible Expressions and get to meet Willis Diamond, the man who can literally be taken by your words…….