Spirit Daily

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Haunted Highway? Sometimes Spirits Of Darkness Linger Over Certain Areas

When we rub against evil, it can attach itself to us or our environment in many ways. The spirit of darkness may cling to books, objects, rooms, cars, homes, other buildings, and entire neighborhoods. There are also spirits that seem to reign over parts of a city, or over a whole region. In Scripture we see that an angel had to fight through the demon-prince who loomed over Persia. The Book of Ephesians tell us that during this life, we wrestle not against flesh and blood so much as "spiritual forces in high places."

A whole nation can be affected. Remember Germany? Just recently, after a series of crimes in Jamaica, Dr. Peter Phillips, chief of national security for Jamaica, complained that "a terrible and vicious spirit has taken hold of our people." Churches there are fasting. In Haiti, meanwhile, truly awful things are being done to those who believe in Jesus.

In the United States, we see special oppression in areas of New York, San Francisco, New Orleans, and other cities. In fact, rare is the city that does not have a "stronghold": a place where darkness has attached itself due to past activity.

Such activity can include occultism, a history of  warfare (and murder), or the previous existence of rituals (this particularly common in places where Native Americans and others of pagan beliefs performed rituals, sometimes even cursing the land itself, or claiming it for a nature deity: see parts of Europe). Of course, most important is the locale's collective morality. Immorality of any kind can have effects, from sinful leaders to pornography.

There are dark places -- spots where a shroud seems to actually hang over the vicinity. In Louisiana is a bayou where a cloud has been seen to hang overhead in a peculiar manner. It is known as "Devil's Swamp" (and is now the site of a famous case of toxic pollution).

In Ohio, huge F-5 tornadoes strike Xenia (which the Indians referred to as the "place of the evil wind") with a frequency that has no known meteorological reason.   

In Upstate New York are places that have seen repeated unfortunate events. Indian legends of spirits and mortals are important pieces of the folklore of this particular region, and visitors to nearby Seneca and Cayuga Lakes are often treated to loud booming sounds, which seem to emanate, or so they claim, from the very bottom of the lakes. Some Native Americans  interpreted these sounds as coming from the drums of their ancestors and others believed that Thunder Spirit was speaking to them.

Is it just mythology, or an occult manifestation? This very region has served as the birthplace for spiritism, Mormonism, American masonry, and feminism (see "Seneca" and the vicinity of Rochester). Near Albany, a missionary who ministered at an old Indian village back in the 1600s exorcised the spirits he felt there, according to a plaque.

And then there is Florida, where special focus may be due Interstate I-4 -- the famous cross-state highway that now figures so prominently into political news and serves as the chief passage between Daytona Beach, Tampa, and world-famous Orlando.

Severe storms seem to strike the vicinity from Orlando and nearby Kissimmee to a place called Deltona with particular frequency. Trees along the highway remain bent from the eyes of three hurricanes, all passed over the region in 2004. Strange murders have plagued Deltona. Four men dressed in black with scarves on their faces and armed with aluminum baseball bats stormed into a house in Deltona and beat six people to death last August. In the area is a quaint town called Lake Helen. "When the name of this town of 2,787 appears in print," noted the Daytona News-Journal, "words such as 'quiet,' 'sleepy' and 'serene,' often follow right behind. One word not often used: Murder. Yet since 1998, at least 12 murders and suicides have either taken place in Lake Helen or involved present or former residents, revealing a place more Hitchcock than Rockwell."

And then there are the accidents: In the stretch of just one week last May, there were three horrid accidents on I-4 in this very vicinity -- one that claimed four lives and two that claimed one each. "Hellacious Highways," screamed a headline, with a subhead that said, "Body count grows along I-4." 

The main problem seemed to be near Lake Helen, which is about half an hour east of Orlando and adjacent to Cassadaga -- a community of psychics and mediums who call themselves "spiritualists" and conduct seances as well as readings for the public. They are an off-shoot of the spiritualism which originated in Upstate New York. There are forty "certified" mediums in this tiny, rundown, and dark little hamlet. Meanwhile, a movie theatre on the road leading west to it ironically advertises movies such as "Bewitched" and "Land of the Dead."

What does "Cassadaga" mean? It is an Indian term -- a Seneca term -- that means "rocks beneath the water." It comes from a small town of spiritualists outside of Lily Dale, New York, where the mediums looked south for a winter haven.

"Cassadaga, Florida, exists as an entity unto itself located between Orlando and Daytona Beach," notes an occult site. "George Colby, said to have been led through the wilderness by three spirit guides, homesteaded land and in 1895 deeded over 35 acres to the newly incorporated Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association. As a young man from New York, George Colby was told during a sťance that he would someday be instrumental in founding a Spiritualist community in the South. That prophecy was fulfilled in 1875, when Colby was led through the wilderness of Central Florida by his spirit guide 'Seneca' to an area surrounded by uncommon hills."

Oh, the connections! Seneca. Rochester. In Cassadaga today, statues of Indians adorn drooping landscapes.

Is this area bewitched? Does it have a history of Indian rituals? Does it need deliverance? (Calling all charismatics and evangelicals!)

The City of Deltona abuts Cassadaga. Is there a bad spirit that hovers overhead -- hatched from old occult activity, perhaps from Indians, or attracting new such activity there? There were the Timucuan Indians, said to be relatively peaceable but no doubt steeped in pagan rituals. There were also the fiercer Seminoles.

Usually, of course, the darkness of an area is due to a confluence of both sources and events. Let us not just blame the Indians! If you want "magic," there is Disney World. In Cassadaga, at the border with Lake Helen, there is a cemetery and next to a grave a bench known as the "Devil's Chair." The most popular legend is that if one sits there at midnight, the devil will appear. "You can have a conversation with him whilst seated amongst the graves," says a history of it. "Unlike most towns with legends such as these, Cassadaga has embraced their direct communication line to Satan." That is to say, they allow a haunted tour at Halloween (which, of course, we emphatically do not recommend).

And as for I-4: one could argue that it is simply a dangerous highway -- much too busy, with harrowing exits and entrance ramps, as well as speed limits that are too high and frequently violated.

But there near Cassadaga and Lake Helen and Deltona are the markers: right away, one for the four killed, then one for three who had been killed a mile or so down, then for a single driver, then a few more miles for a state trooper, and then for a construction worker. Let us pray to lift such oppression.

In our own homes we should make sure to do regular spiritual cleansings, blessing our homes with Holy Water, and blessed salt and making sure to remove occult books.

07/19/05

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