Florida is located on the Atlantic Ocean about 45 minutes south of . It’s the oldest city in Jacksonville , settled by the Spanish in 1565. The city was once enclosed by a huge stone-like (coquina) wall with a fort on one end. The fort and the city gates remain today. America Flagler College is located in . The building used to be the grand Ponce de Leon Hotel opened by Henry Flagler in January 1888. It’s a gorgeous building with Tiffany glass windows here and there. There are numerous old houses and buildings in St. Augustine now housing shops, offices and restaurants for the delight of tourists (and residents) alike. It’s a very fun place to visit. St. Augustine
So, enough with the history and on with the good stuff – The Ghost Tour!
I believe in ghosts, spirits, poltergeists, parallel time, reincarnation, all that stuff. I LOVE it! Now, I haven’t seen one damn “orb” or any ectoplasm on any of the ghost tours I’ve ever taken but hope springs eternal.
The Spanish tidily laid out the city of
in a nice grid. They didn’t use the same principal when burying their dead. Graves seem to be scattered higgly-piggly in the cemeteries throughout the city and many bodies (or parts of them) never ended up in a cemetery at all! If you were Catholic back in the day, when you died, you could be buried inside the walls of St. Augustine . If not, you were assigned to be planted out in the wilds. St. Augustine is the oldest one within the city dating from the 1700’s. There are several ghosts that haunt Tolomato, one is The Ghost Bride. She’s been seen wandering around in dressed in her wedding dress and veil. She’s a young woman that died unexpectedly on the eve of her wedding; she was buried in her gown and is still looking that one man that was going to make her dreams come true. (Aren't we all?) Tolomato Cemetery
James, another restless spirit, is 5 years old. His grave is set apart from all the other graves near a huge oak tree. James has been seen playing on the ground and in the tree, mostly by young children.
I don’t think the ghost of Father Verot stuck around the cemetery. He was the first Bishop of St. Augustine. When he died in 1867, the church wanted to make sure everyone who was coming from near and far to pay their respects got a chance to look at the Bishop before he was interred. 1867, folks. No planes and
was pretty much a backwater state then. A very hot, very humid, backwater state. The elders decided to seal the departed, unembalmed Bishop up in a metal coffin with a glass window since the sawdust and ice his regular coffin was setting in wasn’t holding up too well. During the church service for the burial of Bishop Verot, his metal and glass coffin exploded spreading bits of the Bishop all over the congregation to say nothing of the stench that permeated the chapel. Needless to say, the remaining bits and pieces of Bishop were hastily put in a mausoleum that was occupied by a previously deceased priest. The bones of that priest were gathered up into a pillowcase and were set on top of Bishop Verot’s newly constructed coffin. Both the Bishop and his tomb mate have since been moved to separate quarters. Florida
During the 1800’s the gates of the city were still operational and there was, of course, a gatekeeper. The gatekeeper around the time of the 1821 yellow fever epidemic had a young daughter named
. She liked to come to the gates with her father and greet all the visitors to the city. Because Elizabeth was on the front lines, she became one of the first victims of the epidemic. Her ghost can be seen around the gates to this day, still greeting visitors to Elizabeth . Again, children seem to see her most often. St. Augustine
Because not everyone in
was Catholic, a “public” cemetery became necessary. The St. Augustine (1821) was built right outside the gates of the city. If your family had $4.00 when you died, you were allowed to be buried inside the wrought iron fence. Judge John B. Stickney died in 1882 of yellow fever and was buried in the Huguenot Cemetery . Several years passed and his family decided to have him exhumed and moved closer to where they were now living. The gravediggers decided it would be okay to take some of the Judge’s gold teeth and jewelry as he really wasn’t using them anymore. Apparently this didn’t set well with the Judge because he can be seen crawling around or walking around the cemetery looking at the ground. I assume he’s looking for his stolen teeth or possibly pieces of the Bishop that might have landed near him. Huguenot Cemetery
Another haunted spot is the country’s Oldest Drug Store. When it was built, the builders digging the foundation came across a bunch of bones that they dug up and tossed in a mass grave across the street. The apothecary got all set up for business but on the morning of the grand opening, the owners came in to find the place trashed. They cleaned up and decided to try again the next day. That morning, same thing – broken bottles, medicines scattered. This went on for awhile before someone told them that the shop was built on an Indian burial ground and they had disrespected the spirits. Not wanting to continue to spend money without making any, the owners dug up part of the floor and foundation, got the bones from across the street and reburied them. After that, they had no problems.
Seeing that amputated body parts were tossed out the windows of the
Old Military Hospital and buried where they landed, there are numerous Indian burial grounds and that people who weren’t Catholic or didn’t have the $4.00 to be buried within the public cemetery gates, it’s no wonder that St. Augustine is one of the most haunted cities in . America