I always thought living in a highly haunted town would be fun, and for the most part it was. Highly stimulating, Saint Augustine has a world of charm. But, after a few years the constant bombardment of spirit activity bouncing off of one’s psyche and id can become tiring, overwhelming, exhausting. Add to that the never ending stream of tourists and strangers coming and going, one can find themselves feeling just a little bit displaced, a ship drifting along a distant but familiar shore.
Chatting with folks that have been born and raised in the Oldest City lends another side of the story. Not many who can claim the sea side town their birth place still reside there, the lion’s share of them having already relocated, pushed out or moving on for one reason or another. But most of them sing the same old song…their beloved Saint Augustine is not what it once was. Gone are the days of quaint and relaxed community, replaced by what the City Commissioners have created in a profit making sort of Disneyland for tourists. There is that same old familiar right side of the tracks where the city will support the community, but only if there is money to be had in it for them. Then there is the other side of the tracks which is anything not belonging to the right side. I even saw a story written up in the infamous “Old City Life” magazine that opined anything north and west of the Old City was ghetto slums where the undesirables live. A stern letter to the editor of said rag went without consideration nor reply. I’m sure other property owners like myself were not at all appreciative of the stigma the city had put upon them and were just as irate as I was at hearing that my tax dollars and residency was considered valuable not at all.
In essence, what had once been a sweet seaside community with caring neighbors and a sense of belonging, where artistic folks could let their paints flow free with the sea breezes had been transformed over a very short period of years into a money pot for those with vested interests. Add to that the energy of oh so many angry dead and you’ve got yourself a reason to move on. Oh yes…angry. Anger built up over centuries of war and bloodshed, slavery and abuse, disease and poverty. Chatting with a retired tour guide of the oldest streets, I was told that only about 11% of the “oldest” buildings within the Oldest City were really original in one way or another. All the rest were replaced and fashioned to resemble the oldest things. What used to be a flourishing artist community has now been discouraged and dismantled, laws forbidding artists to ply their trade abound within the city limits. But the homeless bums can enjoy unlimited loitering, threatening passers by and pan handling to their heart’s content. And when Lincolnville was “just another slum”, the only place that many of the locals and artists could afford to live, the area went virtually ignored and left blighted until by chance some enterprising chap thought to capitalize on the authenticity of the area when the trend seemed to catch on and now, with most of the locals pushed out, it has become one of the most lucrative and desirable parts of town to reside in. (Move over South Park…)
Tolomato Cemetery. Joke. About twice per year the City opens the old rusty gates of one of the country’s oldest cemeteries to allow tours conducted to raise money for upkeep to the grounds. Chatting up a docent on that sunny fall afternoon brought confirmation of something I already sensed…mainly that there was no one still buried in the old hallowed grounds. They had all been moved some decades before to other cemeteries far and wide. Fake. Like the rest of the poor old town. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. :/
That’s fine. I am grateful that I was able to reside in that place for six years, enjoying my favourite landmarks, the Bridge of Lions and the Firehouse Beach. Yearning for something different, I moved on…
Now we find ourselves immersed within a new adventure which I will share with you, dear friends, as the adventure unfolds! Daytona Beach is a most fun town! The choice of food and restaurants can not be beat and the friendly atmosphere of the town is contagious! I didn’t realize just how invaded with negative spirit energy I was in Saint Augustine until I left that place. Like a breath of fresh air, I now have my wits back! Yes, there is still the occasional wandering spirit looking for peace and someone to validate him or her, but not like the constant stream of souls that move through the Oldest City’s space. Yes, it is still one of the most active spirit sites on the planet, so I urge anyone who wants to experience it to most definitely make the trip. But for me…I like to call Daytona Beach home…for now. 🙂