The second event was the founding of
by the English in 1670. The English had settled
Virginia 42 years after the Spanish founded
St. Augustine ,
followed by the Pilgrim's settlement at Plymouth,
Massachusetts in 1620.
But, these colonies were too far away to be a threat. Even the establishment
of Maryland and
New York over the next decades did not much affect the
Spanish. However, that changed in 1670 with the establishment of South
The English were now much too close for comfort and the Spanish Crown sent
for the building of a stone fortress.
After more than three centuries this magnificent fort continues to
stand and today is not only a destination for tourists but also is
apparently called home to a number of restless spirits.
The largest masonry structure of its kind in the nation, this 17th
century fortress has survived years of
battles and storms, changed ownership five times
(Spain, Britton, America, Confederate States of America, then back
to US control again), pirate attacks, and served as a prison
throughout the years, witnessing the deaths of many. The
fortress has also been a silent spectator to a number of gruesome
It is no wonder that it is haunted.
During the many years it took to build the fort, a number of workers
died due to hard labor, tropical heat and diseases. During this time
of Spanish control, it is believed that a hidden room in the lower
chambers was used as a torture chamber during the brutal
Spanish Inquisition. It wouldn't be until years later that the room
was discovered when a
heavy American cannon fell through the floor revealing a room
containing ashes and human bones.
In 1702, when Spain was at war with Great Britain, the British
launched a major attack on St. Augustine. For 50 days, the British
besieged the fort, captured hundred of
Indians for slaves, and burned the
hospitals, monasteries, and
the valuable Franciscan library. In the end, the
Castillo de San Marcos was the only structure to survive in St.
Augustine. Dozens of men on both sides of the conflict were killed.
In 1784, the fortress was under the command of a Spanish officer
named Garcia Marti. Colonel Marti was married to a woman named
Dolores, who was renowned for wearing a distinctive perfume which
she used liberally. Marti was a busy man and began to suspect that
his younger beautiful wife was having
a clandestine relationship with one of his subordinate officers. His
suspicions were confirmed when his young and handsome assistant --
Abela -- reported for duty smelling of his wife's
distinctive perfume. Suddenly both Dolores and Captain Abela went
missing. It was explained that Abela had been sent on a special
mission to Cuba and that Dolores had became ill and had been sent to
live with her Aunt in Mexico. Though rumors abounded, Colonel Marti
wasn't directly challenged.
It would be nearly five decades before the truth would be
discovered. In 1833, the Castillo de San Marcos was under American
control when an American officer discovered a hollow sound in one of
the walls of the dungeon area. Puzzled, he removed a brick and out
flowed the smell of a strong perfume. Soon, an entire hidden room
was discovered, within which were two skeletons chained to the wall.
It is believed that the couple were chained to the wall and left
there to die a slow death.
Today, it is said that
a female apparition, thought to be the
forlorn spirit of Delores Marti, roams
the grounds of the Castillo wearing a white dress. Other reports say
the screams of the slowly dying couple can be heard through the
stone wall of the room where they were held when visitors place
their ear against it.
The dungeons below the Castillo have kept numerous prisoners
including that of
Chief Osceola in 1837 during the Second Seminole War. Other captives
over the years included
more than 500
prisoners who were followers of
Geronimo , which
included women and children;
pirates, and prisoners of war. Though a few escaped, others were
released, there were no doubt, many who met their deaths while being
in cramped, dank conditions in the dungeon.
Reports of paranormal activity at the castillo include sightings of
patrolling the grounds, the ghost of a Seminole Indian who seemingly
leaps to freedom from the high fortress walls, a Spanish soldier who
spied at sunrise and sunset standing at the edge of the fort looking
out to sea. In the 18th century a Spanish soldier was killed by a
cannon ball while searching for a ring on the grounds. His spirit is
said to be seen still looking for the ring.
Other paranormal activity includes a light that shines from a
watchtower on stormy nights even though the tower has no
electricity. In the dungeon, visitors report a number of sensations
including felling as if someone with
cold hands had touched them, unexplained noises, and people talking.
Many report having felt goose bumps and feeling ill while walking
through. Photos taken at the fort often display
misty shapes, strange lights, and what appears to be translucent
In other places within the fort, flashes of light have been seen
coming from the brass cannons, wisps of smoke, more spirits dressed
in soldier's uniforms, and the sounds of screams.
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