Long-time readers of my blogs or the Gypsy Journal know that Terry and I enjoy visiting old cemeteries. Some people might think that’s morbid, but to us, it’s always interesting. It puts your own life in perspective when you see how many people, especially women, died at early ages back in the “good old days.” In fact, one of the many seminars I presented at RV rallies around the country was one called Cemetery Stories, where I shared some of the odd and interesting things we have seen in graveyards in our travels from border to border and ocean to ocean.
We really needed to get away from home for a little bit, so yesterday, we visited a cemetery not too far away that definitely has a story associated with it.
The 10-acre Lake Helen-Cassadaga Cemetery here in Volusia County, Florida, is said to be haunted. Of course, people say that about a lot of cemeteries, but this one may have a couple of extra reasons for that claim to fame. The first is that one of the communities it serves, Cassadaga, is home to many spiritualists and professional mediums and is known as the “Psychic Capital of the World.” The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp was founded in 1875 by George Colby, a New York medium who made his living traveling around the country giving readings and séances. Colby is buried in the cemetery, and his spirit is one of several that are reported to be seen wandering the grounds.
The cemetery’s other special feature is a brick bench known as the Devil’s Chair. Legend has it that if someone is brave enough or foolish enough to sit in the chair at the stroke of midnight, the Devil will speak to them for the rest of their life, a torment that many supposedly have not been able to endure. It wasn’t midnight, but you just know I had to go sit in the Devil’s Chair, don’t you?
Another part of the legend is that if you leave an unopened bottle or can of beer at the chair, when you come back the next day it will still be sealed but will be empty. We found this empty beer bottle at the chair, and it did not look to either one of us like the cap had ever been taken off. What happened to its contents? I don’t know, but if I hear somebody with beer breath whisper in my ear, I’ll let you know.
If you want to visit the cemetery, it is located between the two small communities at the intersection of Root Street and W. Kicklighter Road. And if it looks familiar to you, that might be because scenes for the 1981 movie Ghost Story, based on the Peter Straub novel by the same name, were filmed there.
I have to tell you one funny thing about our trip to the cemetery yesterday. It was Terry’s father’s 91st birthday, and while we were driving home, she was talking to him on the telephone and he had the speaker on so her mother could hear, too. Terry was telling him about the Devil’s Chair and the story behind it when I interrupted her and said, “He knows all about that honey. He’s been listening to your mother for a long time.” Her dad got quite a laugh out of that, but I think her mother is probably sticking pins in a voodoo doll named Nick right now.
In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll have some more to tell you about Cassadaga and a delightful little park there where we spent quite a bit time.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Pirate Trials: Dastardly Deeds & Last Words, the first book in my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing, please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – The term “domestic housewife” implies that there are feral housewives, and now I have a new goal.