My Night at The Cassadaga Hotel

October 31, 2014

life / travel / weekend

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A few weeks ago I was dying for a getaway, but my budget was not taking me anywhere exotic anytime soon. Then I remembered Cassadaga, Florida, and thought it would be the perfect destination for a dose of creepy right before Halloween. The historical town, known as the ‘psychic capital of the south’,  was established in 1894 for mediums to congregate and practice their beliefs. I visited on a day trip last year for a psychic reading and decided to up the ante this year by staying in the famously haunted Cassadaga Hotel overnight. I brought my sister along ’cause, yah know, safety in numbers, right? Here’s a recap of our jaunt into the haunted…

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As soon as we checked in we had our psychic readings. I had a reading last year and absolutely nothing came true, so naturally, I was/am skeptical. I kind of like going back around the same time every year though, like a little tradition. A spiritual tune-up, if you will. I met with a different medium this time and he told me the spirit of my childhood dog (Lucy) is always with me, that I’m going to be really good at my job, and that next month I’m going to meet the person I’m going to spend the next 20 years of my life with. He even stopped in the middle of the reading to tell me my late grandpa was there to say hello. It was nice to hear such positive things, and true or not, it made me feel surrounded by love. (sidenote: please stop me before I’m one of those chicks with crystals that answers, “love and light” to every one of life’s problems.) My sister was told she is an ‘old soul’, and good at taking care of people. And that she’s going to have two kids!

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While walking around town, I noticed how cheerful Cassadaga looks. There are bright colors everywhere, and positive vibes via wind chimes and flower-lined streets. The houses are quaint and adorned with ads for practicing mediums, and traffic is minimal, making it a peacefully quiet retreat.

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In hindsight I wish we would have taken this tour, if for nothing else, the people-watching. Oh well, there’s always next year…

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You can’t miss the Purple Rose of Cassadaga, which is painted bright purple and features prayer flags and signs for aura readings out front.

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We walked to Lake Helen Cemetery to check out the Devil’s Chair (muahaha!), an urban legend my sister researched before the trip.

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“According to one local legend, an unopened can of beer left on the chair will be empty by morning. In some accounts, the can is opened, and in others, the beer is simply gone, through the unopened top. The Devil is sometimes said to appear to anyone so bold as to sit in the chair.”

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Pretty scary, right?! She sat in the stone chair, which faced two headstones, one of which is pictured above. I wasn’t so bold, but appreciated the artistic vandalism on the monument: 666 carved in the seat, not far from an empty beer bottle. The fact that it was broad daylight and we didn’t bring the Devil a beer could have been why we were spared. Do you think the Devil is a Bud Light kinda guy, or a craft brew lover? Here’s more on the terror of the Devil’s Chair, if you dare.

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We hiked it back to the hotel and took in the sights of the visitors as they shuffled in and out of the lobby and cafe. I have not seen a goth kid since the ’90s, so this couple was a real treat.

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Tell me this hallway does not remind you of The Shining. Our room was at the very end of the hall, and every single time we walked through, we heard a different weird noise/floor creak/ghost sneeze that sent us running the rest of the way. And I swear the old oil paintings on the walls moved by themselves.

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That evening we sat in the lobby and took in the sights and sounds of the hotel. A medium was reading palms in the foyer, and I loved listening in on her assessments. Tipsy patrons made their way from the adjacent hotel bar to her table, eager to know their fate. It was more entertaining than television, which our room did not have.

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That night the only souls keeping me from sleep were guests stumbling to their rooms at 2 a.m., which I didn’t really mind. I think my sister was a little disappointed that she didn’t see anything undead, but I’m just fine with the mystery remaining well, a mystery. It was a fun experience, especially with her there, and I’d love to do it again next year. I’ll be sure to leave time for a walking tour and seance, though!

Would you ever stay in a haunted hotel? I’ve heard that at The Marshall House in Savannah, Georgia, ghosts of children tickle guests’ feet as they sleep!

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