At Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp you might think everyone is a Spiritualist, but you can’t tell by looking at him or her. Then how can you know?
When I visited, I felt that the calmness surrounded me had to be unique. Surely it was a sacred place, and the people who lived here were protected by Spirit from the stresses of the outside world. They were all psychic in their personal lives—as everyone is—but many of them were also mediums and healers. There were also people just like me, who came to study and learn about Spirit and Spiritualism for our own enlightenment. Each time I would return home, I was filled with love and happiness. Then I would lose that energy when I went back to the “real world.”
Eventually, I realized they people who came to the Camp lived in the real world, just as I did, and “Life” happened to them also. After doing a good bit of reading and taking classes, I understood that those who had held the most spark of life had learned to live “in” the world— without being “of” the world.
The more people I sought out this new skill, the more I learned about their lives outside of the Camp. One of the most welcoming people I ever met was Rev. Tom Berkner. Rev. Tom lived in Winter Springs and had been an elementary school teacher in Orange County. Another man with a big smile was Irving DeKoff. He had served in the Army during World War II and had been President of the National Fencing Coaches Association of America. If I had seen either of these men outside of the Camp, I would never have guessed they were Spiritualists?
I was not surprised that many people had careers as nurses, healers, teachers, and in music. Some did surprise me. Born in East Prussia (now Germany), Gerda Slater had met her husband while she worked in the American Red Cross. And sweet, friendly Sandy Cosgrove rode motorcycles and climbed mountains. Before Susan Forney came to the Camp, she had been an editor and publisher in New York? Bernie Root made his living as an expert carpenter and a car salesman.
So how could I know who is a Spiritualist? Would that spark of divine light I was now discovering in myself have recognized their divine light within these people outside of the Camp? No; because I was not looking for it. That was my loss.
Over the next few years, I went to places that I expected to find enlightened people. I visited other Spiritualist Camps around the country. The energy in the mountains of California had brought my sixth sense to life more than the people I met. Alas, after each trip I had to return to my hometown. Every mile depressed me more. No one was a Spiritualist there, I was sure.
After more than a decade, I found out that two women I knew in my hometown were not only Spiritualists—and had their own churches. They lived within walking distance of my home—and I had gone to high school with one.
If you live outside the Camp, I invite you to see the light in the people around you. You may never know who is a Spiritualist now—but you can share your light and see the divine light in them. Doing that is Spiritualism in action.
Lilian Casselberry is a member of the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp and makes it her second home.