Camp Chesterfield, Spiritualist Center & the Granny D Connection
There is still much to say about Indiana and its weirdness. Those who consider this a ‘white bread’ state really haven’t done their homework.
Let’s look at Camp Chesterfield. Located outside Anderson, Indiana, Camp Chesterfield is certainly one of those places that is by no means ordinary. There are places like this all over, but this one belongs in Indiana.
When I lived in Anderson, I was familiar with the migration of people spending the summer at Camp Chesterfield. I worked retail part of the time and had many of their guests as customers. Admittedly there was this one woman who became the basis of the Granny D character. She truly loved the color orange for many of the same reasons. Beyond that, Granny D is entirely a fictional character and is by no means an attempt to represent anyone living or dead.
The Granny D character appears in most of the Jamie Poole novels as an eccentric Oracle speaking on behalf of the Goddess Venus. She is (no pun intended) one of the more colorful characters designed for levity during some of the darker points in the series.
The real-world woman introduced me to Camp Chesterfield.
Founded in 1891, it is the home of the Indiana Association of Spiritualists. It’s located in Chesterfield, from which it gets its name. Since Chesterfield is small, it might be easier to associate it with its proximity to Anderson.
The camp is designated in the historic district, which is a feat considering how small the town is, but many of the camp’s buildings are old, so it deserves its title. The came is secluded behind walls, and is not open to the public. I’ve never visited although I’ve read a few books on it and met several of the guests.
People looking for enlightenment of one sort or another make the pilgrimage from all over to attend classes or sessions. The camp offers seances and other means of communicating with the spirit world. It offers a means of better understanding this world and how it interacts with ours.
Its history isn’t without question or skepticism. In 1924 14 mediums were arrested on charges of obtaining money under false pretenses. A news reporter filed the charges after his own investigation.
In 1960, a psychic investigator arranged to film two seances using infrared film, intending to procure scientific proof of spirit materialization. The medium was made aware. However, the film showed fraud on the part of the medium and her assistant. The findings were published in the July 10, 1960 edition of the Psychic Observer.
There were further investigations in the following years which again seem to expose fraudulent practices. One book speaks to how some of the tricks were performed so that viewers remained unaware. Some were elaborate and yet quite simple to pull off. It does beg the question, is any of it real?
Those who visit regularly would maintain there is true spiritualism to be found if you’re open to it. For those who I saw come annually, they firmly believed. How this fits in with the Jamie Poole series, I have no intentions to prove or disprove Camp Chesterfield or even endorse it. It’s simply a backdrop upon which I built part of my story. I will leave it to the experts unveil any questionable practices. They seem to be doing a good enough job without me.