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Posts Tagged ‘ghosts’

Ghosts in Room 1170

I’m breezing along, checking out the deals on a travel newsletter when I see this review of a Quality Inn on International Drive, Orlando, Florida. You might expect such doings in an old inn, but modern one? Strange, but interesting. All you ghost hunters out there who have a go at it, I’d appreciate a report of your stay. The review:

 

Do not stay in room 1170. I booked a room at a great price. Our keys did not work the 1st time. Went to front desk to get the keys to work. They did not work. We had security help us to get in. Once we were in all this things started to happen. Knocks on the wall when noone was staying on either side of us. A dark shadow in the corner. Foot steps sounds in the room. A big bang on the day inside. At one point one pillow looked like something was pokingin it. A great room if your a gost hunter!!

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Second Floor Porch

Second Floor Porch

Second Story Landing-Sightings Scene
Second Story Landing-Sightings Scene

 

Purloined Pillow

Purloined Pillow

As promised, here is my account from a recent trip to St. Augustine, Florida, of unexplained happenings in Anna’s Room at the St. Francis Inn, called by some, the most haunted house in the country’s most haunted city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were being given the key to Anna’s room at the St. Francis Inn after checking in.

 

“Oh, by the way, Kelli,” I asked the innkeeper, “there haven’t been any ghost sightings in our room, have there?”

 

“As a matter of fact,” Kelli said, “most of them. Anna’s room is just below Lily’s Room. She does mostly playful things, like slam the phone down hard while a guest was sleeping, moving things, nothing harmful.”

 

I swallowed, turned and started up the stairs.

 

I’ve read about incidents at the inn and know that several ghost hunters have visited and reported happenings indicating multiple resident spirits. Marlene Blanchard, an investigator with Left Field Paranormal Studies & Investigations, conducted several studies of paranormal activity at St. Francis Inn, with positive results including visual phenomena recorded on video, according to the Inn website http://www.stfrancisinn.com/ghosts.html. A small part of me wanted to experience them, and a big part of me didn’t. Nevertheless, I may have.

 

A nice shower before dinner was what I needed to rejuvenate me. This is an over two hundred year old house and the bathroom is very small, too small for my duffle bag with toiletries. I sat the bag on the floor outside the door after removing what I needed, then closed  it. The unexplained happened when I tried to exit. I pushed on the door and felt pressure from the other side. I pushed harder and it opened a couple of inches and stopped. I pushed again and it didn’t budge. Through the crack I could see my husband fiddling with his key as he came back in from outside.

 

“I can’t get out!” I yelled, and pushed again and again. Finally the door opened and I could see the duffle bag wedged against it. I started rapid fire telling Jerry what just happened—and I quickly stepped out of the bathroom.

 

Going over the incident, the bag was on the floor when I opened the door wide enough to enter. No one was in the room but me. Jerry was down in the courtyard. If it had been against the door before I would not have been able to slip through. So I don’t know how the bag came to rest against the door and wedge me in. Lily, I decided. It had to be Lily.

 

The white, French phone was on a stand by my head and I fully expected it to crash into the cradle sometime during the night. Perhaps my watchful eye periodically throughout the night quelled that little trick.

 

Or perhaps Lily likes to catch you off guard. Did she do that with the purloined pillow? The iron bed had a beautiful white, quilted spread with embroidery and matching pillow. It was only after we were home again that a nagging thought finally jelled. What happened to the pillow? I remember thinking the bed didn’t look as special the second day. The pillow! It hadn’t been there. I began to go through photographs to be certain it was there after the room was cleaned when I snapped pictures. It had been. So where did it go? Would they think we stole it? So I did a stupid thing and e-mailed Kelli. She checked and wrote back that indeed the pillow was on the bed right where it belonged. My husband had not touched it, the maid had finished, yet it had been gone. There are few hiding places. Lily? Who knows? Perhaps she and her lover who hanged himself in the attic enjoy pillow fights in the hereafter.

 

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It was entirely appropriate to celebrate fifty-one years of marriage with a leisurely trip to our favorite city, St. Augustine, while a possible Cat 1 hurricane was bearing down on Florida.  Marriages are like that. In times of greatest joy, there are usually winds of disturbance swirling at your feet. In fifty-one years you learn a lot about surprises, undercurrents and threatening winds, and if you are paying attention, you learn they are not unexpected and surprises at all. They are just part of the natural current. So you pack your bags and head to St. Francis Inn www.stfrancisinn.com , the oldest bed and breakfast in the oldest continuously operating city in America, St. Augustine, Florida.

 

The 217-year-old inn’s pleasantries were kicked up a notch this year by the congenial group of fellow guests. Breakfast, happy hour and dessert time brought us together during the days. We talked across the dining room and got to know each other. The crowd even endured my husband’s famously bad joke telling. Happy hours stretched on and dessert time (or any time during the day) the sitting room filled with guests kicking back and talking. Much of the talk naturally gravitated to the weather. Dull? I think not. Not with Fay doing the two-step around our state and some of our homes in its path, others wondering if the plane would fly or cruise ship take off. We would all be safest, no doubt, in our 217 year old building. It surely had weathered other storms. Also, St. Augustine has not been hit directly by a hurricane since the cross at Nombre de Dios was erected in 1965. Coincidence? the citizens ask.

 

Most guests lived in other parts of Florida, though one couple was from New Hampshire, another Alabama, and still others from Ohio and South Carolina. Those of us calling Florida home were, of course, overwhelmingly from another state originally. There was the young couple who had come to look for a home in St. Augustine. He grew up there and longed to come back. We all understood why.

 

The St. Francis Inn offers a Seniors Inn Love special in August, so it was no surprise several anniversaries were being celebrated. They spanned the years: 38, 41, 51 and 10. The couple married the shortest time had been married at the St. Francis Inn. They got extra points for that.

 

A group was celebrating the birthday of one of the three ladies. This is no Holiday Inn; this is a place you go to celebrate. Carole Drost Lopez, an Ocala artist, was among that group. She seized whatever light penetrated our courtyard on mostly cloudy days. Just a glint of sun on the red rocking chairs resulted in a beautiful pastel. We will watch her website for the results of yet another pastel of a charming statue in the courtyard. You might want to check out her website at www.artdrost.com. 

 

I won’t even try to say all that needs saying in one blog, so keep coming back for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey says. Those will highlight the ancient city and even ghost residents in St. Francis Inn. And yes, “Lily” just may have made contact with me. Stay tuned.

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