Monday, October 30, 2006

The spooky side of St. Augustine

We had a great time on our ghost tour of St. Augustine. Tim, our tour guide and native St. Augustinian, walked us down dark streets to some of the old haunted houses and buildings of St. Augustine, and told us their stories.

Tim, our tour guide

Tim's storytelling was quite good, including his story about the haunting of one of St. Augustine's old cracker homes by a lady Tim knew when he was a kid. After she was found dead with a broken neck from a fall from the stairs, new owners would stay for only a couple of weeks, then they would leave and put the house up for sale again, amid stories of objects flying across the room toward the steps, strange noises and things that go bump in the night. And the story of the exploding Bishop Verot.....

I had no sense of any "thing" being with us except at the first stop, the old Tolomato Cemetery. It's possible something joined us there and stayed with us through part of the walk -- or was it just my imagination?

I got some interesting lighting effects in the cemetery's vicinity:

Here, the light from Tim's lantern appears to be rising and turning into the cemetery.

Strange lights

Lights from a horse-drawn buggy do odd things in this photo.

The only lame part of the evening was the last stop, at the Spanish Military Hospital. In use for years, dating back to the time of the Spanish occupation of St. Augustine, the hospital was said to have been the site of death for many soldiers. Medical practices were pretty barbaric in those days, and amputations were common.

Unfortunately, it had been turned into just another "Halloween haunted house," with painted actors, rubber props, noisy sound effects and pulsing lights. No self-respecting spooks would have put in an appearance through all that, but would have lain low until all the noise and confusion was gone, then regained their home.

Maybe it was better it was loud and obnoxious.

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