September 24, 2011 – Manatee County
How does history impact a location? When it comes to Florida, there is quite a bit of history to consider! The first European settlement was in Florida, as were missionary establishments and explorers searching for gold. The first Thanksgiving was hosted by this state, but consisted of black beans and rice rather than turkey and corn.
Lacking gold, silver, and the fountain of youth, Florida was not well regarded as a land holding. It was passed between Spain, France, and Britain before becoming a US territory. It gained statehood March 3, 1845 (hence, it is the feature for March 2016).
It hosted several small wars. France and Spain fought for St. Augustine. Florida had multiple Seminole Wars, all of which ended badly for the natives of the area. State leaders were desperate to participate in the Civil War but the place was so backwater that the Confederacy asked only that we send our primary staple: cattle. Yes, Florida was cattle country complete with cowboys. They were not like the stars of the silver screen. Accounts described them as rude, crude, and smelly.
Rounding into the 20th century, Florida was the location of attempted German infiltration. U boats were sunk off of her coast and spies filtered past her shorelines before being captured further inland. Prisoner of war camps were hosted in the heat. Florida was the state that turned away a boat filled with victims fleeing the Holocaust (see: the St. Louis).
It was also the site for baseball: spring training took place in the warm Florida sun. Babe Ruth resided in several locations in Tampa and St. Petersburg. The Yankees practiced at Stengle-Higgins Field in Crescent Lake Park. The 1920s and 30s brought a building boom, the reputation as a location for better health, and even Hollywood Projects. However, the state also brought about a land bust so infamous that even Bugs Bunny refers to it in cartoons with the pithy statement “If you believe that, I have some swampland to sell you in Florida!”
Today, it is the third most populated state in the US. It is invariable that people in the here and now encounter remnants from the past. Is this case proof of that? Read and judge for yourself! –B. Stark, 3/2/16
Reported by homeowner before the investigation:
Current residence was built approximately seven years ago, but experiences occurred at the previous residence in Largo where she lived with her husband. Her husband passed away at that residence. She does not recall experiences before he passed away. Husband passed away ten years ago. The occurrences are not troublesome. Issues with TVs, water, etc turning on by themselves. Have several pictures with what she believes to be orbs. She feels the spirit follows her to difference locations. She had a retriever dog that seemed to pick-up the spirit in the house. The dog seemed to pick-up a heart condition that she later learned about. She has a grandson that looks around as if looking at someone that is not there.
Sensitives picked up the name Melinda/Belinda/Linda, the parlor was haunted, small male teenager from the 1970s (late teens or early 20s with a shirt showing the Confederacy), coldness on left arm, came up with a year of1889; questions on typhoid fever and soldiers, circle in yard (fairy circle), Linda, child and dog seemed to sense something, but there is nothing malevolent.
The young man was possibly a friend of the home owner who died in the 1970s. The age matches with the ghost seen.
Linda may have been a friend of the family who has become a guardian. She is the deceased sister-in-law and best friend of the homeowner.
Post- Investigation Research:
The area was founded in 1887, though it quickly became a mining town when phosphate was discovered in 1889 (as per a large chunk of Florida’s heritage. The Florida “gold” was phosphate mining). The area expanded until 1910. As of 2004, the population remains under 2,000 people, with about 555 families present.
The home, itself, was built in 2004 (verified online) and is modern.
Federal Troop Connection: Could the soldiers that Beth saw be Seminole Indian War/Federal Troops sent under Jackson to fight during the Native American Wars? Florida was the worst of these wars. Since the reported incident was a uniform description, we found reconstructions of various Federal uniforms here, including those from the Indian War.
This area, location in Marion County, appears to have been Seminole territory at one point. See map here.
There are also indicators that the Civil War may have come to the area, though most of the action appears to be north of this particular town. Verna did come across some information that a regiment from New Hampshire came across Confederate fire in the area.There is a Civil War graveyard in the general area as well. For this reason, we included uniforms from the Civil War (Confederate and Union).
(When asked, this is the response that:) This is Beth….They were wearing hats from the civil war. The dark colored jacket the one had on looked to be about waist length which looks like a militia uniform. They were both wearing dark colored bottoms (Union?) or maybe just not a clear enough image for me. It did not come in color just shades of light/dark. I very clearly heard the word “Illinois” I’m wondering if there were any regiments from Ill. this far south.
Note (Brandy): I cannot find anything specific on Illinois troops in Florida, but the general information is this (from Wikipedia.com): The state of Illinois during the American Civil War was a major source of troops for the Union army (particularly for those armies serving in the Western Theater of the Civil War), and of military supplies, food, and clothing. Situated near major rivers and railroads, Illinois became a major jumping off place early in the war for Ulysses S. Grant’s efforts to seize control of the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers.
Illinois contributed 250,000 soldiers to the Union Army, ranking it fourth in terms of the total manpower in Federal military service. Illinois troops predominantly fought in the Western Theater, although a few regiments played important roles in the East, particularly in the Army of the Potomac. Several thousand Illinoisans were killed or died of their wounds during the war, and a number of national cemeteries were established in Illinois to bury their remains.
Questions on railroad: When did it come to the area? Research indicates it was quiet established by 1891 (see map here).