I first heard about Cassadaga from a squadmate in the Marines. He’d grown up around the area, and he had plenty of stories about paranormal activities and strange happenings in the area. Something about ghost dogs, eerie lights over the lake, and numerous hauntings amongst the historic buildings.
Years after leaving the Corps, I remembered that conversation and decided to look deeper into his ghost stories. I learned that Cassadaga is a “spiritual camp” as opposed to a town, and it’s been so for over 120 years. A number of mediums, healers, and psychics live and practice in the area, and visitors can experience everything from aura cleansings to tarot card readings and beyond.
It seemed like an interesting enough place, so I added a visit to Cassadaga to my to-do list. It wasn’t until a month ago that I learned the Cassadaga Hotel, built in 1927, is alleged to be haunted (by a heavy-drinking Irish man named Arthur, no less.) I immediately put the visit on high priority status.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and now I’m writing this post from the lobby of the Cassadaga Hotel. It’s about 10pm, it’s dead quiet, and as far as I can tell, I’m the only overnight guest for the evening. I spent the afternoon exploring the camp, and I’ll be spending the next two nights here. So far, I don’t have a whole lot to report except that everyone I’ve met in Cassadaga is extraordinarily friendly and welcoming. Since the day I made my reservations I’ve been speaking with Doreen, one of the honchos at the hotel, and she’s been very gracious about answering my touristy, pseudo-ghost hunter questions.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a $20 table reading at the community hall, during which the medium impressed me on a couple of counts. He not only identified that my mother was recently diagnosed with a health condition, but he accurately identified which condition it was and provided a dietary plan to help fight it. He also told me which of the books I’ve written I should spend more time promoting (he didn’t know the name, but he knew what it was about.) Not bad for twenty bucks.
I haven’t had sign of Arthur – or any other spirits – yet. I did use this opportunity to fire up Periscope for the first time, and at about 8pm I took my viewers on a brief tour of the hotel. Someone chimed in that they were getting a weird feeling as I was walking down the hallway where my room is located (chosen based on the high likelyhood of seeing something paranormal. Apparently, I’m staying in the room where he died.) When I processed the pictures I’d taken in that hall, they came out all wonky, like so:
Of course, it looks like some weird HDR post-processing error, but I can’t figure it out. The bracketed photos are aligned and all three of the exposures are identical except for the shutter speed, and yet this is the result I keep getting.
Far be it from to blame bad photography on ghosts, but it was kind of surprising since I’ve never had an HDR image come through processing this out of whack.
I’ll be posting a write-up on Cassadaga for the Places section of the site once I’ve done a bit more exploring. In the meantime, I’ll be keeping an eye out for Arthur.
Feel free to join me later on Periscope (@JPaulRoe). I’ll be doing more walkthroughs of the hotel throughout my stay, and I’ll probably walk down to the lake where people see strange lights tomorrow night.