ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The nation's oldest city has been home to thousands over the years and some residents say certain spirits never left.
"I've seen them at the top of the tower with the tower lights on on the inside... and I've also seen the full bodied apparition standing on the stairs about 10 feet above me," tells Matt Hladik, the head tour guide for the Dark of the Moon Tour at the St. Augustine Lighthouse. It is arguably one of the most haunted places on the First Coast.
"We will occasionally get people walking back through the gift shop saying, 'your re-enactors out there are really nice'! We just kind of look at them, because we don't have any re-enactors during the day and especially not at night," says Hladik.He says the ghosts are michievious not malicious.
"Nothing bad has ever happened to anybody on the tours because of anything paranormal," tells Hladik. He says the reported hauntings began a long time ago when keepers still worked in the lighthouse. One of the more common apparitions is that of a shadowy figure that hangs over the side of the railing inside the lighthouse and watches visitors as they come up the stairs. Visitors have also reported hearing footsteps, a bucket clank and seeing doors or windows open.
But while Hladik says the ghosts at the St. Augustine Lighthouse are friendly, not far away a store owner has a different paranormal presence.
"There is this one malicious person in here who scared us the day we were back there," says Denice Altman
Altman and her husband own Antiques and Uniques Collectibles in St. Augustine and say multiple spirits dwell inside their store, especially in a back room, just past an employees only sign.
Altman says some spirits are protective and friendly, but one is just the opposite.
"While we were sitting there, this streak of light just went down my leg and when it did, both of us were just instantaneously terrified... there is no other word for it," tells Altman. She gave us a picture, taken in the back room in which she says a ghostly face is above her left shoulder.
So on Halloween night if you are looking for a peek at the paranormal, the scares are not scarce in St. Augustine.
"I would say a good chunk of the things that people might experience are in their heads, but when something happens, it really happens." says Hladik.
To sign up for the Dark of the Moon ghost tour go to the St. Augustine Lighthouse website through this link: http://www.staugustinelighthouse.org/index.htm
First Coast News