Marion Pellicano Ambrose
After the lighthouse, we proceeded to the old jail, where many paranormal investigators have reported a great deal of ghostly activity. Just walking through the facility at night was frightening, but when a crazed former inmate showed up (an excellent actor by the way) he was able to make us all have shivers run up and down our spines. He told the tale of the 8 hangings that took place at the jail, one being his own. When a paranormal team visited, they were able to record an EVP that seemed to say “There were only 8”. The EVP was played out loud as we stood in a dark cell on the second floor of the dimly lit jail, and believe me, it was frightening!
We drove past the City Gates where a specter known as Elizabeth is said to be seen regularly. It seems that Elizabeth was a young girl who came to the gates of the city seeking refuge within during an outbreak of yellow fever. She was denied entry and died right there at the gate. Many people report finding a misty white figure in their photos that they didn’t see while taking it. Others claim to actually see a young girl with long flowing hair dressed in a billowing white gown standing by the City Gates. She was reported to be seen so often, that the police began bicycle patrols in the area and several officers have reported seeing her themselves, only to have her disappear as they approach.On to a second cemetery – the Tolomato. This was the Catholic cemetery and here we heard the story of a much beloved Bishop of Saint Augustine. Apparently, the Bishop was a good and holy man. He made many friends and was respected by the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich. When he finally passed away, everyone wanted to pay their respects. Back in those days, travel was slow, so it was decided that the funeral would be put off for 2 weeks to allow everyone to arrive in time. The problem was this, the Bishop died in June, hot, humid, sticky June. A way would have to be found to preserve him until his funeral. After much consideration, a solution was found. A special coffin was constructed, the Bishop was placed inside, and a glass cover sealed him and the rancid smell off decay inside. The two weeks passed and on the day of the funeral, the Basilica was bursting at the seams with church officials, politicians, dignitaries and people from every corner of Florida and beyond. The coffin was placed in the center aisle so everyone could gaze upon this man they loved and respected. As the ceremony proceeded, people began to look around at each other. A faint hissing sound was heard and then some soft popping noises as well. The Mayor was giving the eulogy and was getting annoyed at the distracted looks of the crowd. He moved over to the coffin and just as he said “The Bishop……..
The gasses of decomposition had built up in the glass covered box suddenly “Kaboom” the bishop exploded. Bits of flesh, bone, and sprays of blood flew everywhere. The people stood in shock with their jaws dropping at the sight, even the Mayor who promptly had a large piece of bloody flesh land in his mouth. People ran screaming from the church, and the Mayor was said to be quite disgustingly sick outside in the street. It took quite some time for all the bits and pieces of the Bishop to be scraped and swept and mopped up from the Basilica, but finally it was done, and he was laid to rest at the Tolomato cemetery. To this day, people report seeing a scholarly looking man in priest’s garb, wandering the cemetery shaking his head. Perhaps he can’t believe how he just blew up at his own funeral.