Wading into politics wouldn’t be good for the brand, intimated the Rev. Jerry Moore, president of the association’s board of trustees in an Aug. 9 e-mail to “All Camp Mediums” after several psychics were contacted by a reporter.
Though some Cassadaga psychics self-identify as clairvoyant (clear seeing, from the French), clairaudient (hearing), clairsentient (feeling or touching), clairalient (smelling), claircognizant (knowing) or clairgustant (tasting), Moore felt compelled to counsel pre-election discretion lest the media call the mediums “fortune tellers.”
“All of us can receive psychic impressions about which way the ‘wind is blowing’ right now,” Moore wrote in the e-mail before offering caveats worthy of a seasoned pollster. “But, as we all know, unanticipated events can change the outcome of such projections very quickly.”
Moore conceded in a phone interview that “people have a curiosity,” but emphasized that “it is not our place in normal circumstances to make predictions.”
Theoretically, his warning could cover any number of his colleagues’ psychic projections, be it a bon voyage destination and date sought by an anxious traveler or the tail-thumping woofing channeled from a dead Pomeranian to an inconsolable surviving master. But it is particularly pertinent when psychics in this biggest of swing states are accosted for their views as if they were New Hampshire factory workers or Iowa farmers during primary season.
It is also worth noting that this exercise in otherworldly political polling depends on where the Cassadaga psychics live. Those inside the 57-acre camp, established in 1894 as the winter home of spiritualists from the Upstate New York town of Lily Dale, must complete several years of study in assorted branches of mediumship before they are certified to work and live there.
Residents also agree that even if they buy a home in the camp — white frame structures that range from cozy cottages to grand Victorians on narrow roads that run past a temple, healing gardens and gazebos not far from Spirit Pond — they cannot own the land under those houses, which, said Moore, belongs to the association.
Moreover, they are expected to obey the rules of the tax-exempt association, touted as the “oldest active religious community” in the Southeast according to the one-dollar guide sold in the camp bookstore and at the quaint, independently owned Cassadaga Hotel, where guests can sit a spell in sturdy rockers on a wide veranda cooled by overhead fans.