Thursday, October 27, 2011

Haunted Brevard: Paranormal Activity in the Space Coast


Haunted Brevard, The Space Coast has a long history of hauntings and strange happenings.
Accounts of ghosts, spirits and other ethereal beings are not easily found but they are hidden between the leaves of old books, newspaper articles and oral histories.

“During my exploration of the county, I have talked to those who talk to Indian spirits, and to one who has an Indian guide to the other world,” said author of Old Tales of Brevard Georgiana Kjerulff.

Georgianna writes about a story shared with her about a beautiful blond nymph. The story was told to a Cape worker who decided to try the same road on a misty night. he approached the misty point and was astonished to see a beautiful blond woman waving to him. The worker stopped the car, opened the door, and the dripping wet woman entered the car. The driver started off and turned to look at the blonde, but she had vanished. she didn't even leave a puddle behind.

Many theaters around the local area are reported to be haunted. At the Melbourne Henegar Center a reported ghost there is called Jonathan and is a 'noisy ghost' who likes to make himself known. He is said to be mischievous at times as things are never where you left them. The balcony seems to be Jonathan's favorite location.

Melbourne's Historic section Betty's Antiques by the rail road tracks is very
haunted, so is the site of the Giftique, just West of there. There's an historical
plaque there about Shorty's Bar, a gangster hangout on that site. Ghost hunting students sensed a body under the floor, many nefarious things happened there in the 1920's prohibition era, causing residual hauntings.

The present day 1900 Building once the Melbourne Hotel is haunted by the love lorn ghost of Amelia and others. The story goes that in early in the 20th Century Amelia was engaged to marry a boat captain. She lived at the hotel and they met there on various rendezvous. He failed to return one time, either lost on the water or he went off with another, a love rival. Poor Amelia died of a broken heart, possibly suicide. She still roams the halls, seeking her beloved. Some say the Captain died on the river, while trying to get back to Amelia and is haunting the 1900 building, both of these spirits have been heard, felt and occasionally seen at the 1900.

North of the Rossetter House, a victim of a traffic accident a ghost who haunts the busy intersection. The gentlemen who manages the Rossetter House told a group I took there once about it and about the Rossetter sisters, who still watch over their home.

Pineapple Inn in Eau Gallie is reported to be haunted by the ghost is of a Victorian lady, Senator Sullivan's unhappy and neglected wife. She doesn't care for either men or children and has attacked a male interior decorator on the inside stairwell and her presence watches over the large picture window in front. It was the first picture window ever in Brevard, her pride and joy! It has the original glass after a century. Glass and crystal amplify psychic power, so an image of her in the glass to the right of the front door would be most accurate. She looks like her son, his picture hangs in the Eau Galle Yacht Club,

Downtown Melbourne Beach, near the pier on the Indian River, is haunted by pioneer ghosts,
the historical plaques and very old buildings near the pier give some background. Dijon's and also the corner building, kitty corner from the pier it was once the first area hotel. Look for Mrs. Sweet's ghost there, who is nearly always present.

Cocoa
The Cocoa Village Playhouse is said be haunted by a former handyman. He is harmless, his footsteps can be heard around the building, and strange opening of doors occur.

Rockledge

Along the river road in Rockledge and little spit of land juts into the river it is marked by very old cabbage palms. On cold night, a yellow mist swirls on the Indiana River, changing his tiny spit of land into a haunted spot. The road makes a sharp turn at this point and the mist eddies across the road. Several people had reported seeing the vision of a man, dressed in a cocked hat and the costume of the 1715 period. he looms out of the mist, but his body is only seen to a point below the knees. Georgianna writes. “Is this apparition a trick of the headlights and mist, or is it Henry Jennings warning the treasure hunters?”

Pritchard House in Titusville, at a gathering of paranormal experts an investigator reported
hearing a child’s voice that could be heard faintly saying “Momma” three times. And then some
disembodied spirit came close and whispered in his hear “Get Out!”

Throughout Brevard during Halloween there are many ghost story telling sessions and haunted walks. Check the local paper for listings of events in Melbourne, Eau Gallie, Cocoa's Taylor Park and Pritchard House in Titusville.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Florida prepares to celebrate its 500th Anniversary

Communities all over Florida are preparing for the state’s 500th anniversary. Artists are sculpting and painting, RSVP’s from Royalty have been received, reenactors are polishing their armor, historians are brushing up on their historical facts and writers are tapping on their keyboards for this much heralded series of events.

Many cities around Florida have their own foundations and organizations to help facilitate the planning of their own respective events. Although the main centerpiece of history for this event is the landing of Ponce de Leon in Florida in 1513, other heritage related events of other cultures are also planned.

The following is listing of projects, events, organizations and online resources that are involved.

Projects:

WikiFriends of Viva Florida 500 WP is a project to help celebrate and embellish Wikipedia articles about the heritage and history of the U.S. state of Florida.
Several work in progress projects including adding material to the Florida Historical Society wiki page, research archives in Spain for the original writings of Alvaro Mexia especially his encounters with native cultures, create a new Afro-Americans in Florida page and add dates and events to the Timeline of Florida History wkipage.

Events:

August 20, And for the 499 days that follow, a different Florida wildflower will be depicted by a different Florida artist and posted online to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing. On Easter Sunday 1513, he landed on our shores and named our state La Florida --from "flor," the Spanish word for flower.

August 22, Florida Governor Rick Scott initiated the "The 500 days to 500 years" campaign in Miami. The Spain Florida Foundation's Board of Directors met Governor of Florida, Rick Scott and Secretary of State, Kurt Browning to kick off "the 500 days to 500 years"


Organizations:

In Brevard County- The Royal Order of Don Juan Ponce de Leon Historical V Centennial Celebration Committee -have been busy with plans including a royal visit with the King/Queen of Spain and the Governor of Puerto Rico, Banquet Galas, a visit of the Tall Ships sailing, and Air Force Flyovers.

City of St.Augustine -is working with the Smithsonain National Museums to design exhibits of African American, Latino and American Indian for their new visitor center.

Florida Humanities Council
A special edition of Forum magazine is planned for Viva Florida 500.

Websites:

Oldest House
St. Augustine Oldest House Museum has launched an online exhibit with a relevant heritage slideshow that will include ancient maps.

Official website for Viva Florida 500
Recently launched website includes the Viva Florida 500 Insider with more news on relevant events and multiple heritages including Native American,Black,Cuban and Spanish Colonial histories.


Don't miss an update! To discover more, become a follower. Know of an event that should be include, be sure to email the author for inclusion.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July Fourth during Pioneer Days



Independence Day in Central Florida historically has been celebrated with not only much patriotism but also team spirited recreation. Many Orlando residents would travel to the East Coast for for their celebrations. A preview of the historic newspapers for this holdiay provides the reader a journey of discovery into a local community at play.

More than a hundred years ago, an account of the area's fanfare can be found in the historic newspaper, Florida Star.
On July 10, 1890 the headlines read, " A Glorious Fourth; An Exciting Regatta which is very closely contested."

Although the regatta was by far the most popular event, other more unusual, but picturesque games were held. This newspaper account reflect the joviality of our community at play. Close your eyes after reading these ac count and you just might be able to hear the laughter and shouts of a bye-gone age.

One instance is a game called "Pigs in the Clover". This festive game which required contestants to coral three live pigs from one circular fence to another circular fence inside in the first one .Also, a rifle shoot was held at the old ice factory in Melbourne where Winchester rifles were used.The paper lists the entries with the well recognized pioneer surnames of L Chandler,S.L.Jeffords,W.Spies, J.M.Fields, and others.

In these days no holiday would be complete without a community baseball game. The story continues that a baseball game between two teams with names of "Fats and the Leans." The Fats were arrayed in Mother Hubbards (A woman's loose, unbelted dress.) and wide brimmed hats. They attributed their defeat not to the dresses but to their lack of practice in playing.

Back to the main event - the sailing regatta. There was a complete account of the seven sailing vessels involved and a poke at the weather clerk at the Indian River Hotel for not being more generous in his weather reports. No capsizes for that year though, unlike the previous year.

The paper reports, "In the second class the Rosie H, was of course the favorite and with George and Frank Houston aboard she is a sure winner. The Windward did good work, and the Alta was well handled but evidently is not molded or rigged to sail with other boats on the river which come in her class. Shortly after two o clock the judges gave the signal for the start. The Alpha crossed the line followed by the Arrow, the Naide and the Spray. The course was perfect, the boats having to sail in six directions. The wind was very light from the southwest, and after the judge's stage was passed all interest centered int the race between the Alpha and the Naide. The start was a beautiful one and the seven boats laying to the south on the wind, formed a sight long to be remembered."

In the 20th century the Cocoa Tribune on July 6th, 1933 report that a good crowd visited the Canaveral Harbor area for the fourth. An account of some good fishing on this date."The Harbor Hotel, under the management of Mr. and Mrs. John Spies, had a full hotel from Saturday night until Tuesday night. The majority of the guests came from Orlando. There were several from Cocoa who spent the holiday at the hotel. Tarpon and jewfish were good at the harbor over the weekend which provided a lot of entertainment for the ladies and gentleman."

This July 4th, take time to join our community at play. No matter where you live in Florida, there is a July 4th celebration for you to participate in.



-RKO

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Aruba's Archaeological Museum


For those in love with Caribbean vacations, one should consider a trip to Aruba. This small but beautiful island has an international flavor with a taste of European,African, and American influences. For the cultural tourist one can sample a taste of the rich history with a number of fine museums in the area, especially with the newly renovated National Archeological Museum of Aruba.

This bright and attractive museum was revamped in 2009 and designed purposely to preserve valuable artifacts. A grand opening fitting royalty was visited by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of Holland in July of 2009. The museum is housed in the historical Ecury Complex, the home of a prosperous merchant and grandfather of a national martyr, Boy Ecury. Here the visitor can step back in time with a variety of both visual and audio displays of Aruba's past. Displays are divided up into the three periods of Amerindian habitation; the Pre-Ceramic, the Ceramic,and the Historic.

Inside the museum the visitor will find a enormous amount of ceramics in a variety forms that include pottery, micro-beads and other curious shaped items. A feel for how these cultures lived can be found with an authentically reproduced Amerindian circular shaped hut called a Maloca, a model of a shell midden and the favorite of many visitors, a model of a cave which one can enter to amaze themselves with light display showing the indian rock art of the caves found in Aruba's wilderness.


One learns of the indigenous people of Aruba, a tribe of the Arawak Indians called the Caquetio which originated from the Amazon Basin about 3500 years ago. A stone planer artifact demonstrates how this culture was innovative in developing tools for woodworking. Shaman from this tribe are thought to have created the rock art; petroglyphs and pictographs, that can be found throughout the wilderness areas of Aruba. The artwork is considered unique in the Caribbean, not only because of their quantity but with the use of multiple colors in single drawings. Experts can only speculate what the artist had in mind when they drew them, theories range from doodling to drawings by shamans that result in portals to another dimension.

The quality of this museum is evident from the hard work of the dedicated archeologists and support staff. Become a follower and learn more of the fascinating history of Aruba with a future article about the team of professionals that make this museum what it is, and another article about the ancient rock art found in the caves and boulders in the wilderness areas. As usual with this author's stories, enjoy the colorful and fascinating slide shows that accompany these stories.

Open: Tuesday - Friday, 10 am - 5 pm

Schelpstraat 42
Oranjestad, Aruba
Phone +297 582 8979 /