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Hunting Ghosts (the Academy, Pt. 4) - St. Augustine, FL




If you just happened to jump into this post from anywhere that's not the "Hunting Ghosts (the Academy - Buffalo), Pt. 3" post, the premise is that I first worked on a "Ghost Hunters" live broadcast on Halloween night for two years, then joined the spinoff show, "Ghost Hunters Academy" the following year. This post details the next investigative location: St. Augustine, Florida.




St. Augustine Lighthouse - photo by KilmerMedia

From Buffalo, New York, we make our longest trek, to the oldest city in the USA: St. Augustine, Florida (est. 1565). Our halfway point - and stop for the night - is just south of D.C. It's been a race against the clock, knowing that "South Park" will include Ghost Hunters as part of their new episode tonight. At the hotel, we all scramble to check in, knowing fully well that all of us will be tuned in to Comedy Central in our rooms before long.

The episode is hilarious, yet a letdown since there's no depiction (or even mention) of the guys we are traveling with. However, I feel like the "Chipotlaway"episode is one we're gonna be quoting for a long time. Continuing on, we drive down I-95 to St. Augustine. The lighthouse to be investigated was completed in 1874. It hasn't been the site of anything particularly tumultuous, yet previous Ghost Hunters investigations make it seem pretty terrifying:

The stay in St. Augustine is longer than anywhere else on our schedule, and you shouldn't be hearing any complaints from me: if the forecast holds, the weather will be absolutely perfect. The beach is nearby, and our rented scooters will be the preferred mode of getting around here.

As for the actual work part of all this, as I anticipated from that linked video a couple paragraphs ago, the St. Augustine Lighthouse property is really creepy at night. Unlike the reports of prior hauntings, there hasn't been any lingering smell of cigar smoke, yet I never, ever feel alone. When the crew was in the keepers' house, it felt like I was being watched, and the same for when the crew was in the lighthouse. I'm pretty well versed now when it comes to anomalous experiences, and this doesn't at all feel like that.

At a time when no one is around and my walkie talkie is quiet, I walk partway up the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse. I don't want to keep going; some sort of weird presence makes it feel like that is a bad idea... yet I decide to charge up the stairs, with a white-knuckle grip on the railing.

Reaching the top, my heart and head are pounding, and I can feel the sweat on my face. Stepping outside, the swirling breeze feels so nice, so I wait there long enough to cool off (still with a firm grip on the railing, because I don't want some supernatural entity to knock me off this tower).

There isn't any "Kilroy was here" face peeking up from the spiral staircase like the Ghost Hunters experienced, but the vibe in the air feels heavy and uncomfortable, so I make my way back down and out of there.

Time to call it a night...

Back and at it again, between interviews and city footage, we still have a lot to shoot. I really like St. Augustine, the fort, the architecture, and even sitting on the scooter while waiting for the drawbridge to come back down.

photo of St. Augustine, Florida - by KilmerMedia

Just before we head out of town, something really strange happens.... Up the road in Jacksonville, we, the crew, are all at the gas station, fueling up to prepare for the long trek from Florida to New Jersey. A fit-looking black man with braided hair walks up to the RV, with the show's logo splashed on the side, and says "Hey, how's it going? Are Jason and Grant around?" I tell him "Oh, no, this is a spinoff show that's hosted by some of the other ghost hunters... By the way, I worked on the Ghost Hunters live show in Kentucky, and you remind me of the special guest, who was wrestler Elijah Burke." He smiles and says "Yeahhh! Well, if you see Jason and Grant, tell them I said 'Hi'" and he turns around and walks away. Whaaaattt??? Contestant Ben is next to me, so I ask him to pull up a picture of Elijah Burke on his phone. Oh yeah, that was definitely the same guy!!!


Coming Up:

Cedar Grove, New Jersey (Pt. 5)

Previous: Wilmington, North Carolina (Pt. 1)

Warwick, Rhode Island / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Pt. 2)

Buffalo, New York (Pt. 3)


"Hunting Ghosts (the Academy, Pt. 4) - St. Augustine, Florida" (2009) Written by: Justin Kilmer

Unless otherwise noted, all media and text on this page are copyrighted © by Justin Kilmer.


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