Wednesday, June 25, 2008
St. Augustine, Florida - Part Ten
If you believe what the tour guides on the popular ghost tours of St. Augustine tell you, then this is a photograph of the ghosts of Castle Warden.
Ghost tours are big business in the nation's oldest city. There is a ghost train, a ghost trolley, a walking tour, a "haunted pub" tour and a variety of other chances to explore the supernatural side of St. Augustine.
I will say that I have my doubts about whether a ghost could be found anywhere near a crowd of noisy tourists, but the guides encourage groups to snap photographs and see if they catch anything unusual. These "orbs" showed up in a photograph taken in Castle Warden, the home of Ripley's Believe It or Not! The castle is one of the stops on the "Ghost Train" tour offered by Ripley's.
Although some believe these are caused by spiritual activity, I suspect they more likely are nothing more than light effects caused by cameras flashing in a dark place. But, because many believe they are representative of something supernatural, people are often quite thrilled by the chance to snap a photo in which something a little unusual shows up.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, ghost stories are an important part of Southern heritage because they remind us of the days before radio and television when people occupied their evenings by sitting around the fireplace and telling stories for entertainment. Many of the stories have at least some basis in truth, although quite often the current story bears little resemblance to the original event.
Because it has been an occupied city for more than 440 years, St. Augustine has more than its share of ghost stories.
You can learn more about some of these stories and more about the history of the old city itself by visiting http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ and looking for the St. Augustine heading.