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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: Since we'll be in Jacksonville at the end of the month, we know there are several ghost tours that you could take. My wife and I will have a car rental and can pretty much visit smaller towns nearby. Can you recommend any?

A: If you've got the time, it's always good to research some areas of interest prior to your arrival. In many cities across the U.S., ghost stories get their fair share of embellishment. Jacksonville and its environs certainly fits the ghost hunter's bill.

To help get you started here is one suggested web site. Dubbed, "the only catalogue in the visible world," Invisible Ink at Invink.com is an online resource on ghosts and hauntings that has several sections from "Ask the ghost hunter," "Share a ghost story" to "Helpful organizations and ghost tours."

Author Susan Cain devotes a chapter entitled, "A Ghostly Experience, Tales of Saint Augustine, Florida," where she details the life of Catalina. Some swear that her presence is still very much around.

According to the site, Catalina's ghost occasionally lurks around a local restaurant on 46 Avenida Menendez, the site of her former home.

As for ghost tours, Ghost Tours of St. Augustine promises a ghoulish time. Started in 1994 by a local whose heritage goes back some 400 years, Ghost Tours of St. Augustine has won awards such as the number one guided tour in Florida by Florida Living Magazine and has been profiled on the Discovery and Travel Channels.

Attired in period costume, guides - many of them are professional tour guides or entertainers - usher a small band of ghost seekers through the narrow bricked streets of St. Augustine, stopping at Victorian homes, parking lots and a cemetery. Our gang of ghost chasers listened intently, gasping at some of the lore.

Learn about a brother and two sisters who gave lavish parties until 1935 and then the music stopped. In the early 1900s, a wife vacationing with her husband continues to wait for him even after he drowned. She's heard knocking on doors, asking if it's time to go. Believe it or not.

After the 1 hour tour was completed, our guide reported strongly that, "all the stories heard are historically accurate and can be verified." Remember to wear comfortable shoes. Nightly tours occur every night at 8:00 p.m.

For more details visit: GhostToursofStAugustine.com. You'll see a section called "Sightings" where some visitors have claimed to experience a scary sighting while on the tour.

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