The Paranormal Investigation at the Old Jail in St. Augustine, Florida

Why do some like the dark corners, and still love the feel of the light? I ask myself this all the time when ghost hunting, and it’s all because I saw my Grandma the night she passed away. You don’t have to believe me, heck, it’s not your story to tell. But it was a connection I had made that made me question the after-life. So when I can, I try to sign up for Ghost Tours around the Country, hearing a mystery history adds a bit of charge to the tale. Craig signed us both up for the “Old Jail” at St. Augustine in Florida…and I was all in!

If you haven’t been to St. Augustine, it should be at the top of your Florida Favorites list! Located a little over an hour from the Orlando area, is the oldest city in America.  From National Monuments to Haunted Lighthouses…this city has it all.  No, you aren’t going to find thumping night clubs and wild dance floors, but you will find a pub every 10 feet on St. George Street, along with incredible dining and deserts.  I have been fortunate to take part in the Ghost Tour at the Oldest School House in the city, so I was pretty pumped to try another one at a different location.

Researching which Ghost Tour is for you is KEY in having a good time.  There are two VERY different experiences to be had when participating in one. Either you just want a history tour with some spiritual spookiness thrown in, sometimes LIVE actors to set the scene, with usually a ride on a trolley, bus, or a walk through with a guide.  Entertaining, light, and fun.  The other experience is a Paranormal investigation. They take you through a series of tools that they provide, or they let you use and bring your own in, tell you some of the history of the area, and then let you into said place and you grab your tool of choice and you are an official Ghost Hunter!

Our tour was the 8:30 p.m. slot, booked about a month ahead of time. This place is VERY popular, so make sure you book at least a month out.  They have you come about 15 mins early, restrooms available right before you head in, and then we met “Shelby” who was out Guide for the evening.  She was fun, hilarious, and a great storyteller.  Nobody wants to take a ghost tour with a guide who doesn’t believe or isn’t into it, and her and the other one “Bill” CLEARLY love what they do and were incredibly kind and helpful.

After the explanation of the tools, and being told there is a “crawler” entity that has been seen, I was a bit hesitant on this one.  I don’t mess with the demonic stuff, talking to spirits seems interesting, but I don’t need any kind of attachment or something following me home.  Yes, there is a fine line, but there is still a line.  Craig grabbed a K2 Meter and I used a ghost box, and we had 30 minutes only to roam the jail, anywhere we wanted to go.

This place is already incredibly creepy during the day, they have mannequins in the cells in “General Pop” so add the dark, they can scare you when you are clearing a corner.  The Sheriff would have a bedroom here, with an office downstairs.  The room next to his was for his children- what a way to grow up right?  The PARTY OF 10, which is allowed by Covid right now, would be hard to escape to get the “quiet” moments to be able to talk. Half our group wanted to investigate, and the other half were there to party and be loud.  I asked the spirits continually “Doesn’t all that noise bother you?” LOL I did not get a response. BUT… I DID get one in his bedroom. I thought it was a woman’s bedroom, didn’t feel like a mens at all, and asked if anyone wanted to say hello. I got a VERY clear sentence, sounding like an older English woman “Who are you?”  After I changed my pants (jk) I said my name and I talk to them like I would talk to you.

Once I would find quiet spots in Maximum Security, the Women’s part of the jail, and the Watch Tower, they seemed  a bit more chattier.  It was a half hour of trying to record on my phone, hold the ghost box, asking questions, and maneuvering the people who obviously were trying to do the same. 

It was a cool experience, we had the freedom to do it how we pleased, but we wish they had asked the “party crowd” to leave.  If you aren’t really into it, then leave, but don’t ruin it for those who are really interested. After they left, the half of us chatted with Shelby for another 20 minutes about our favorite ghost experiences, other tours we had taken, and so on. She was chocked full of information, so if you can, try to get her for your tour. Below is a great pic of an orb I caught.

Now, was it worth the money? It was $27 each, one of the cheaper ones I have done. Now, you only get 30 minutes to investigate, so that’s about right for what you are paying for. I have been on $50 ones, and higher, so this is a nice one to do with a small group with a small price tag. The Old Schoolhouse was another great ghost tour, but it was over an hour long to investigate.  They have trolley ghost tours which will take you around to the sites, and also there is a ghost tour available at the Lighthouse.  I had thought about the Lighthouse but I thought it would be disorientating to try to investigate on a tiny, spiraling stair case, in the dark, and not worry about the heights of it all. Maybe someday.  I highly encourage you to try one of them out, and make sure too research IF they take you INTO one of the scary sites, or you are just going to be “driving by it.”  Enjoy!!

The Coolest Gravestones I Have Seen Thus Far….

I know, this may be a bit weird or off to some, but to me, gravestones are that last piece of art and expression of someone’s life. Whether it be the stone itself, or what is written upon it, these were some of the coolest, and CREEPIEST, I saw last year! I highly recommend you take a walk some time through a Cemetery and look at all the beauty they hold… there’s a certain peace it brings. Even bring a flower or too, respect should always be paid while enjoying these. Here are my favorites…enjoy!

Cool Gravestone1Cool Gravestone2Cool Gravestone7Cool Gravestone9IMG_4755IMG_4821IMG_4832IMG_4833IMG_4846

Thank you for your support and kindness.

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

“Shining” at the Stanley Hotel…

During my road trip of 2018, I was blessed to be able to spend time with my dear friend, Darby. She has the coolest name right? Anyways, she invited me to stay at her homestead while I toured some of the many wonderful things that Colorado has to offer. At the VERY tippy top of my list was the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Why? Well, if you must know, the Stanley is known for film and tv locations, along with something of a haunted, spooky past. So let’s check in and see what we find!

rsz_img_2627

Darby and I headed to the Stanley after the most perfect afternoon of shopping and eating in Estes Park, along with hiking in the Colorado Rockies.  As if our day could not get any better, we had a ghost tour scheduled at the Stanley for the evening.  I don’t think it gets any better than being at the hotel where Stephen King himself not only stayed but got inspired to write “The Shining.” (If you haven’t read it, you have homework, or go stream the movie).  Side note, people get this Hotel confused with the one from the Jack Nicholson movie. The “idea” of “The Shining” was BORN at the Stanley…the MOVIE was filmed at “The Timberline Lodge” on Mount Hood in Oregon. BOTH are considered “The Overlook Hotel” in the book.  Hopefully that made sense.

rsz_img_2629

The Stanley Hotel, with its 140 rooms and 14,000 square feet, allows guest to check in for an evening or for a long term stay. Opened in 1909, it was one of the first in this area of the Country to have electricity, phones, and bathrooms in the rooms. In the shadow of the Rockies, it was a jewel found amongst the snowy wilderness- almost out of place.  Ironically, the hotel was on a decline in the 1970’s until Stephen King paid a visit, and it became one of the hottest hotels for a peek at the “other side.”

Because we were there for a ghost tour, so we didn’t have to pay to get in or for parking. Normally they charge a $10 daily fee for folks to come check out the hotel. So if you can’t take a ghost tour, or can’t afford a stay, you can at least pay the nominal fee and take a look around. They will let you know what is open to the public, and what is only available to the guests. When you pay the $10 at the gate, they give you a Stanley Medallion to keep or use at the Whiskey Bar inside. A win win.

rsz_img_3032

The haunted rooms, specifically the one Stephen King stayed in, was room 217. There are also spooky tales around rooms 401, 407, and 428. Basically, the 4th floor is a hot spot.  The grand staircase, which is front and center the minute you walk into the hotel, has had many ghost sightings of a woman and child walking the stairs. I will say, the vibe on the stairs is unsettling as there are many portraits of the Stanley family staring at you- very “Haunted Mansion.”

rsz_img_2641rsz_img_2642rsz_img_2643

Take a trip to the basement, as there are lots of photos of the filming of the Shining TV series and props from the movie. This is also where the ghost tours gather before heading out into the damp and dark. I will be writing another post about JUST the ghost tour, so look for that soon!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

The Mathias Ham House…. Haunted?

Finding lots of hidden gems to explore in the Dubuque area, I came upon this old Mansion sitting up on a hill. Known as the “Matthias-Ham House”, this Victorian home was built in 1856 standing on 2241 Lincoln Avenue. Designed by architect John F. Rague and built for lead miner, Mathias Ham, who also designed the Courthouse in Springfield, IL, another spot I had been this summer!

rsz_img_2481 (1)rsz_img_2479

rsz_img_2483rsz_img_2485

The Mathias Ham House is now a Museum which is open during the summer and fall from Thursday-Sunday. And of course, I was there on a Monday, so no go for me. BUT I read online that there are NO pictures or video allowed inside the home, so a heads up if you are looking to document the inside. I would have loved to seen it, especially the ghost stories that surround the property. So much that their official site denounces the paranormal- I’m sure trying to defer people like myself that are interested in the haunted history. But still, there ARE ghosts…. you see Mr. Mathias Ham was not only a Miner, but also had successful businesses in lumber, agriculture, and a shipping fleet. With this large Mansion on a bluff, he was able to view the Mississippi from the cuppola atop his home. Here he could watch what ships were coming in, and warn others of pirates coming into the area. Apparently the Pirates weren’t of the Disney kind and found out that they were arrested because of Mathias Ham, vowing to take their revenge on him.

rsz_img_2482

As family members passed away, the only one left was his daughter, Sara. Living in the big mansion all by herself, she would begin to hear trespassers on the grounds and asked the neighbors to watch her home. She devised a lamp to be in her third floor window and if it was on, that was the signal to the neighbors that she was in distress. A night came and went as she heard footsteps again in her home, slowing walking the floors up to her at the top. As she heard them creep to her bedroom door, with noone answering her calls of “Who’s there” she turned the lamp on and fired her gun through the door. She had killed the Pirate Captain, dragging his body to the river. So the story goes that the Captain roams the halls of this home in search of the revenge he never got. Also the ghost of Mr. Mathias Ham himself has been known to been seen walking outside and around the grounds. Just walking around by myself in the sunlight, I could feel eyes looking down at me from the upstairs.

rsz_img_2487rsz_img_2488rsz_img_2491

The tour is $7.50 and covers not only the house, but the oldest cabin in Iowa (moved to the property), and a fake mine shaft. I say fake because it didn’t exist there, they made it for educational purposes. I would have been quite stoked if it was a REAL mine shaft! The home also doesn’t have it’s original furnishings, but has been kept up well. I enjoyed touring the grounds on my own, trying to imagine living in this big, beautiful home on a hill, the large tree in the front for shade. It is a great property and definitely a stop next time you’re in Dubuque- enjoy!

Thank you for your support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$1.00

The Dowling House…Galena, IL

I don’t know what it is about old homes that I just fall in love with- the architecture, the history, or the feel they bring. There hasn’t been an old mansion or home that I have toured without feeling eyes on me- friend or foe, who knows, but ALWAYS felt. So as I toured the beautiful town of Galena, I came across the “Dowling House.” An attraction for this sleepy little town, it boasts that it is the oldest home in the area, built in 1826.  To me, anything from the 1800’s seems to have something attached to it that hasn’t left. I saw this as a challenge- tour something historic, old, and maybe catch something (hopefully not Covid).

rsz_img_1879rsz_img_1893rsz_img_1894rsz_img_1896

There is a small building next to the home, located up the hill off of the Main Street and adjacent from the Restaurant “Fried Green Tomatoes.” Here you can purchase your ticket for a scheduled time to tour the home with a Guide.  My group had maybe 10 people in it, social distancing with masks on, as I tried to stay away from people in the confined space of the small home. There is a steep staircase in it, so it is not wheelchair friendly, as I always try to observe when touring places like these. Even with the small group, I found myself hanging back after every room so I could take the time for pics and videos. Not a fan when a tour rushes you through it so quickly that you had no time to enjoy taking pics because you had to keep up all the time. My guide was great and gave all of us plenty of time to look and explore. He shared a story of a family member who passed and that the family was so devastated that when the man was buried in the Cemetery across town, they made his tombstone so tall that it could be seen from the home on the hill- and you could see it from the upstairs windows. Pretty neat.

rsz_1img_1935

rsz_img_1945rsz_img_1973

Built all of limestone, John Dowling’s home was the scene of the only trading post in town. Fur trading and selling of goods in the lower part of his home, the second floor hosting his modest living quarters. He would go on to build his company right across from his home, which still stands there today.  My tour guide was informative and patient, and it only cost $10 to take it.  I was allowed to film and take pictures inside with permission as of September 2020 (Yes, ASK! I have been on MANY a tour that do NOT let you take photos inside historic buildings). Many ghost tours in town will make this place a stop to check out, so of course I made sure to walk by it in the evening as well- gave off quite the creep vibe!

rsz_img_1901rsz_img_1903rsz_img_1916rsz_img_1924rsz_img_1929rsz_img_1941rsz_img_1944rsz_img_1958

If you’re in town, this is definitely a cool thing to check out. I wouldn’t make a trip JUST for it, but Galena alone is worth the travels. Check it out and enjoy!

Thank you for your support!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!1

$1.00

The DeSoto House Hotel

Upon planning my trip to Galena in Illinois, I had come across the DeSoto House Hotel and immediatedly got excited. Why? Well I had heard it was quite haunted because of the rich history that happened in and outside this famous building AND because good old  Abe Lincoln had been here himself!  If you have followed my travels this past year, I have had an ongoing series called “The Love of Lincoln” and it basically traces his steps all over IL. So I was happy to add another piece of the puzzle to that, AND so much more history that I would uncover.

rsz_img_1857rsz_img_1855

Let’s start with the DeSoto House Hotel itself, makes sense since that’s the title. Sitting on the corner of Main Street in Galena, it commands your precense in it’s shadow. Opening on April 9th, 1855, it was financed by the “Galena Hotel Company” and named after the founder of the great Mississippi, DeSoto. Upon it’s grand opening, it was billed as the “Largest Hotel in the West” and at first glance, you can see why. Even with two floors now missing, its still quite large and grand. On it’s opening day it had 225 guest rooms, a ladies parlor, gentleman’s room, dining hall and full kitchen. Later was added retail stores, a saloon, offices, and a bowling alley. 

rsz_img_1825

rsz_img_1851

John C. Parks would go on to furnish the Hotel with ravish furnishings and velvet carpets. With this now in place, this was THE Hotel to be at in the Midwest. Hence why Abraham Lincoln would choose it to speak on the Main Street balcony on July 23rd, 1856 in favor of John Fremont’s bid for Presidency.  Two years later on July 25th, Stephen A. Douglas spoke from the same balcony.  Then on September 13th, 1860, a crowd gathered at the Hotel in support of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency bid- a VERY famous balcony indeed!

rsz_img_1853rsz_img_1852

After the Civil War, Ulysses S Grant came back to his hometown of Galena, bringing 25,000 people to the downtown area. Can you imagine? They had parades and parties as the welcomed him home, with a grand ball at the DeSoto House Hotel! I mean if those walls could talk…the history they have seen. And if you really want to be a part of history, request rooms 209 or 211, where Grant held his Presidential Campaign.

rsz_img_1838rsz_img_1836rsz_img_1839

Once the railroads took over the steamboat industry, this beautiful little town and the Hotel would take an economic hit. On top of that, a fire broke out at the Hotel only four years after it had opened along with their steam boiler exploding later in 1869. They kept the Hotel afloat by using it as the centerpiece for the big events in town, including the welcoming of soldiers home- it must have been an incredible sight to see!

rsz_img_1829

Over time it would be rented, renovated, several times over, until it became what it is today.  The biggest change were removal of the top two floors in 1880 and moving the Tavern to the other side in 1883. With millions in renovations in the 1970s and 1980s, the DeSoto now houses 55 guest rooms, a ballroom, three dining areas, a full food court with atrium, a really cool tavern, and the General’s Restaurant which named the rooms after the famous Generals.   Rooms run $139 and up… check them out at desotohouse.com.

rsz_img_1841rsz_img_1842rsz_img_1843rsz_img_1844

Is it haunted? Heck yeah! How could it not be? Several of the ghost tours in town will take you through it, and you can also grab a free walking tour guide, which is what I did so I could just take my time and explore. It’s a beautiful hotel and I would love to stay here someday. It is in a GREAT location on Main Street, and with this Town still a busy place today in 2020, it would be great to stay in the middle of the action!  The balcony that that made this place so famous still exists and I couldn’t stop staring it, seeing Abe’s ghost standing there. On a side note, many celebrities have stayed at DeSoto, including Tom Thumb of Circus fame (and the dork in me who LOVED Greatest Showman was excited about this!!). I highly encourage you to book a stay, enjoy the downtown area, and experience the beauty of Galena through this amazing piece of history.

rsz_img_1834rsz_img_1826rsz_img_1828rsz_img_1832rsz_img_1847

Thank you for your support!!!

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

1.00 $

Haunted Bellefontaine Cemetery…St. Louis

It goes without saying, most feel that Cemeteries are haunted with spirits that for some reason, still roam the Earth.  I have always found a peace about them- the large trees, rolling hills of grass, and a sense that I’m never alone, but also that I am in no danger either.  So on this road trip, I have been exploring more of these types of places and less the buildings with their tickets and hours.  Not that they don’t have hours as well, but I can come and go as I please, and just enjoy looking and talking to them.  We put these stones to remember our loved ones, yet with the over 30 at least now I have visited so far, it was sad to see barely a live soul there. So I almost feel like I am visiting them, yes, I am wierd, and no, I’m not a psychic. Just like to love on souls.

rsz_1img_0493rsz_img_0488 (1)Bellefontaine1rsz_img_0519rsz_img_0498rsz_img_0500rsz_img_0487

Upon my visit to the great City of St. Louis, I read up on a couple of really interesting Cemeteries, this being one of them. Located along the river banks of the great Mississippi, (Do yall want to know HOW many times I have had to type that and having to channel my inner grade student? LOL), this beautiful resting place hosts some famous souls. William Clark of “Louis and Clark” is memorialized here with the words “His Life is Written in the History of His Country.” Wow, just beautiful! My luck my stone will say “Duh.”

rsz_img_0489rsz_1img_0505rsz_img_0491rsz_img_0492

The Cemetery boasts of Memorial Arcitectural works that have been documented with the National Registry of Historic Places. Started in 1875, the Bellefontaine Cemetery has so many born and passed in the 1800’s, that the vibe in here is certainly an air of ancient.  It just feels old. I’m always drawn to the older tombstones, the masoleums and crypts, and the statues that some chose to have on top of their stones to be remembered by. Personally, I love the picture ones, so you can see the person when they were happy and full of life.

rsz_img_0531rsz_img_0525rsz_img_0503rsz_img_0495rsz_img_0501rsz_img_0506 Haunted? Well it’s been reported that fog and mist are seen during the day and night here. Now the skeptic is saying “Yes Amy, that is what we called “weather”” but it’s usually a bit more defined than that. Honestly, I think you feel someone close to you more than you SEE them. Hence why someone feels cold if a spirit is nearby. The eyes play tricks on us, so it’s hard to define what is real and what isn’t. So to that I say, believe what you wish.  It’s a really beautiful place and I enjoyed visiting it! Check out more of my HAUNTED ROAD TRIP HERE. Enjoy!

Blog Support

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

1.00 $