WALKING GHOST TOUR IN ST.AUGUSTINE, FL

Ghostly Blogger

Thank You to all of our FANS

We really do not like to boast, but we were notified this morning that we have been awarded or 5th Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor, based on reviews by our customers.

We are so proud of all of our guides and staff who have worked diligently every day, every tour, to make an experience that our customers enjoy and rave about. Your dedication to your craft is obvious and we cherish each and every one of you.

How to Protect Yourself from a Negative Energy

Whether your house is haunted or you just want to take extra precautions to ward away negative energies, there are several steps you can take in order to do so. As a historic/ghost tour guide in Saint Augustine, one of the most haunted cities in the U.S., I constantly am cleansing myself of negative spirits. I had a tour years ago where a medium claimed something nasty was following me home each night and causing chaos in my life. She told me about the certain crystals I could wear to protect myself.

I personally wear a couple of different crystals but the big one that wards off negative energies is Black tourmaline/Obsidian. These two stones are so dark, they are said to absorb the energy and keep it from coming in contact with you. I also wear crystals that introduce positive energies such as clear quartz. Clear quartz is also referred to as the master stone because healing properties. The use of crystals and the belief of spirits is something that dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians and Romans.

A lot of people may also use white sage to cleanse the bad spirits out of the air. White sage is purifying and is used in many cultures to ward off negative energies from location/buildings. Some people believe that holy water and salt may also keep away negative spirits. It is never a bad idea to douse your crystals in holy water or holy oil.

I, for one, use all of these methods if I ever feel like something has followed me home from a tour and I’ve always been able to clear the negative energies from me. If you have already tried all of these steps, there are certain kits you can order online with everything you need to protect yourself. If you’ve tried every last resort- contact a professional exorcist, spiritualist, or demonologist.

Have a scary good day,

Renee

Tour guide and ghost enthusiast

Timucua Are Alive and Well

The Timucuan Indians were the first people to settle on what is now Saint Augustine, FL- long before Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrived from Spain in 1565. In fact, Pedro came ashore directly into the village of Seloy. It was a huge village, you couldn’t miss it with between 600-800 inhabitants. The village of Seloy was situated on the property we now know to be The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. It is here the very first Thanksgiving occurred between the Spanish and the Timucuan Indians, a whole fifty-six years before the Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth Rock. It was a huge feast with all the fixins’- alligator, smoked mullet, the “three sisters” as they were called- squash, beans and corn, and a caffeinated home-brew concoction made from holly leaves called “cacina”. Admittedly, these “fixins” are quite different than what most of us celebrate Thanksgiving with today. However, the concept is still there: two different groups of people coming together in peace to enjoy a meal that is customary to the place of meeting.

Sadly, there are no remaining Timucuan Indians left today. Their population began to drop with the introduction of foreign diseases, and most of them either moved out of Saint Augustine altogether or absorbed into other tribes in Florida.

Timucuan Indians may not be ALIVE today, but they sure are PRESENT. Perhaps they do not know they are gone, or perhaps they just refuse to leave their homeland. Either way, visitors to the Fountain of Youth claim they see very tall, shadowy figures wandering around the grounds of the park. Our very own Tolomato Cemetery is indeed placed directly on top of a Timucuan Indian burial ground- who thought that was a good idea? The employees at the Oldest Drugstore, now home to Potter’s Wax Museum, claim that until a statue was erected in the building paying homage to Chief Tolomato, none of the elixir bottles would stay on the shelves. “Uneven shelves” they thought to themselves. After the third or fourth time fixing the shelves they realized perhaps it was the land that the building was resting on. They erected the statue to Chief Tolomato, and the bottles have been fine ever since.

So maybe the Timucuan Indians just want some recognition? After all, although St.Augustine has a very close relationship to the Spanish crown, they did, by order of the crown, take their land. The land in which they had lived for thousands of years before any mention of “Spanish” or “the New World”. I believe the Timucuan Indians still own this land. They are just doing what they have always done: living peacefully off of the land by hunting, fishing, and gathering. They are alive and well.

The below photo is NOT altered. It was a photo taken not in Saint Augustine, but in a town very close to it (today, this area is called Neptune Beach) where the Timucuan Indians were present. I say “were” loosely- because apparently they have never left.

Little James c.1877

On the northern end of Cordova street, in our nation’s oldest city, lies a catholic burial ground with the name “Tolomato Cemetery”. It served as the Catholic burial ground for the city; beings inside the city walls was considered “consecrated ground”, only Catholics could be buried there. The first recorded burial in this cemetery is from 1786 (a woman named Gertrude Pons), making it one of the oldest cemeteries in the nation.

A small, lonely tombstone stands in the front of this cemetery, the tombstone of little James P. Morgan, who died at the age of five years and ten days old on November 28, 1877, cause unknown. James has been, quite literally, at the forefront of many ghost tours for as many years as I can remember. Children say they see him up in the trees playing around, swinging his feet. It is rather ironic that James is buried by himself if you know about his story- one that many continue to tell nightly. James was buried in this cemetery, tragically, long before his parents died. It seems as though his parents suffered an insurmountable amount of grief in their lifetime; James also had two siblings pass on long before their time. Agnes, aged two years, and Arthur, aged seven years. Both of his siblings are buried in the cemetery at the Shrine of our Lady of la Leche on what John F. Kennedy called “the most sacred acre”- The Mission of Nombre de Dios, NOT the Tolomato cemetery where James is buried. (They both died after burials were no longer permitted in the Tolomato- 1884.) Thus, little James seems to be alone in every sense of the word.

I was giving a ghost tour tonight, telling about the spirit of James, when a guest asked me to look at a photo he caught. Was it the James playing in the tree? We looked back a where the picture was taken, thinking it must have been Spanish moss. No Spanish moss hanging in that area. We thought perhaps it could be a light from someone’s car passing by- no cars. We even thought maybe a camera flash was the trick- but how in this exact pattern? It sure looked like someone playing in the tree from my angle, but surely we couldn’t have been this lucky to catch James AS I was talking about him. But perhaps we did. We could find no other explanation for this figure in the tree, even after taking other photos and trying to recreate anything even remotely close. What do you think?

I’ll end this post with a quote from Sherlock Holmes I think applies in this situation:
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

What do you Believe??

Good evening and allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Lisa and I have the privilege of working with some amazing ghost guides here in Saint Augustine.  When asked to be a part of the A Ghostly Encounter blog, I immediately thought “how cool would it be to bridge two haunted cities together!”  I decided that I would introduce you to my hometown of Bucks County, Pennsylvania and its surrounding counties.

St. Augustine, being known for its paranormal activities and haunted locations always reminded me of back home.  You see, we also have a “haunted” jail that folks flock to in hopes of capturing photos and paranormal sightings.  The jail that I speak of, in Pennsylvania, is known as the Eastern State Penitentiary.  Its 142-year history is full of suicide, madness, disease, murder and torture, making it easy to imagine the spirits of troubled souls left behind to roam its abandoned halls.

The Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. It operated from 1829 until 1971. The penitentiary refined the revolutionary system of separate incarceration. At its completion, the building was the largest and most expensive public structure ever erected in the United States and quickly became a model for more than 300 prisons worldwide.

Notorious criminals such as Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton were held inside this horrific institution. The harsh punishments used on prisoners are enough to make you shiver even without seeing a ghost. There was the water bath, in which inmates were dunked then hung out on a wall in winter until ice formed on the skin. The mad chair, which bound an inmate so tightly that circulation was cut off, later necessitating amputations. The iron gag, where an inmate’s hands were tied behind the back and strapped to an iron collar in the mouth, so that any movement caused the tongue to tear and bleed profusely.  “The Hole,” an underground cell where unfortunate souls had no light, no human contact, no exercise, no toilet and little food and air. 

Cellblock 12 is known for echoing voices and cackling; Cellblock 6 for shadowy figures darting along the wall and Cellblock 4 for visions of ghostly faces. Many people have reported seeing a silhouette of a guard in one of the towers. The sound of footsteps, wails and whispers are heard over and over again!!

Due to its ominous appearance, gloomy atmosphere, and long history, Eastern State has been used as a location for television programs and films about hauntings. Television shows like Ghost Hunters explored the paranormal at Eastern State. Eastern State was also used in an episode of Cold Case titled “The House” which dealt with a murder after an inmate escape. For the show, the prison was renamed Northern State Penitentiary.

In the PlayStation 2 game, The Suffering, players can find a video documentary of Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the inspirations for the game.

Perhaps hauntings are a self-fulfilling prophecy — if you want to have a haunted experience, your imagination just might make sure you do. Certainly, there are thousands of visitors who say they’ve experienced no odd feelings, no sudden chills, no strange sounds, no apparitions. And yet there are plenty who say they have.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?