assadaga Spiritualist Camp in Central Florida is the largest Spiritualist community in the southeastern United States. On the brink of their hundredth anniversary, I asked the Board of Trustees if I could have relatively free rein of the Camp in order to photograph those who practice the religion.

They agreed, and in January of 1995 I began spending time there and learning about the principles of Spiritualism. I quickly realized the difficulty of trying to understand Cassadaga with photographs. So I invited some of the finest scholars in the region to join me. We then decided to ask other researchers from beyond the area and outside academia to participate in the project. By doing this, we hope to pursue this study in its fullest dimensions. Now, eight of us are working toward an anthology about Cassadaga, to be published by the University of Florida this year.

The central concern for documentary-style photographers is capturing surface with relevancy. This has become difficult for me at Cassadaga because as gracious as the people have been and continue to be - inviting us into their homes, making provisions for me to photograph church services, classes and religious and social activities - I increasingly suspect that there is more to Spiritualism than meets the eye.

- Gary Monroe
DeLand, Florida, 1998

Follow these links to learn more about the history, community and religion of Cassadaga or follow the link below to view the images.

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