I’m pretty positive nothing lurks behind the walls of St. Augustine’s Lightner Museum, however…for a split second during our most recent visit I had my suspicions.
The Lightner Museum is one of my favorite haunts. On my first visit there in 1999, I felt certain it was a place restless spirits roamed. However, when I asked some of the ladies on duty if any ghosts resided there, they were less than forthcoming. Which is a polite way of saying they clammed up and quickly put the kibosh on any attempts at uncovering paranormal mysteries within the museum.
Maybe it was just my spirit that was restless there. I swear, the wave of nostalgia I experienced on my first visit (and to some degree every time thereafter), was almost overwhelming. None of the objects on display have played a part in this lifetime of mine, but I get the strong feeling they did in a past one.
We often went down to St. Augustine when we lived in Jacksonville. We’ve been back to Jax a few times since we moved to Nashville. It wasn’t until our visit this past July that we ventured down to St. Augustine again, though.
That’s how I found myself in one of my all-time favorite museums once again. It was a perfect day to stroll through it, too. Stormy.
A PERFECT WAY TO PASS A RAINY AFTERNOON
Everything about the Lightner Museum screams history. Specifically, my favorite period in American history: the Gilded Age.
Before it became the Lightner Museum, it was born the Hotel Alcazar. It was built in 1887 and fashioned in the Spanish Renaissance style. (The architects who designed it would later add such famous structures to their credit as the New York Public Library and the U.S. Senate office building.)
The exterior gray walls and terracotta-colored trim convey a grand elegance with a Gothic twist. Oh, yes, it’s exactly the perfect sort of place to pass a rainy afternoon, especially if you’re partial to Gothic romantic settings, which the Lightner Museum most definitely is.
The inside is even more of a treat. It positively oozes the charm of days long gone by. Maybe because it’s one giant collection of nostalgia after another.
Since our last visit, they’ve restored the lobby to its former opulence when it was the Hotel Alcazar.
It took my breath away.
THE MYSTERIOUS MESSAGE
Another thing that tried to take my breath away (not quite, but it definitely made it catch in my throat a bit) was a funny message my camera kept giving me, especially when I was photographing portraits: “Blink detected.”
It happened when I took pictures of all the following.
I only meant to take a picture of the Maid at the Door. But once I got that “blink detected” message I took shots of other random portraits to see if it would happen again.
Which was a little unsettling and definitely had me wondering if something lurked behind the walls of the Lightner Museum.
I’m sure it’s just a quirk with the camera. However, perhaps it was the spirits I’m sure must reside there having a little fun with me.
I’m just glad I didn’t get that message when I was snapping pics of the dolls or the weirdo heads in the Tobacconist shop display case!
IS THE LIGHTNER MUSEUM HAUNTED?
I hadn’t Googled “Lightner Museum Haunted” in years. When I did it before nothing turned up.
However, as I was writing this post I tried again and this time something did turn up. An interesting personal account: “The Ghost of the Tiffany Room of the Alcazar Hotel.” Apparently a man had an experience in the Tiffany Room with an angry spirit whom he didn’t “see” so much as got the impression of a disgruntled gray-haired woman in her seventies.
I’ve heard rumors that the old pool area is haunted too, but I’ve never read any first-hand accounts or spoke to anyone who’d had any experiences.
I’ve never felt threatened by or afraid of whatever spirits I’m either feeling or imagining I’m feeling in the museum, but this time I did get a little creeped out in the Turkish Bath for some reason.
HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED GHOSTS AT THE LIGHTNER MUSEUM?
If you read this and have had an paranormal experience at the Lightner Museum, I’d be particularly interested hearing it and featuring it one First Person Friday. See the Your True Ghost Stories page for details on how to submit it.
See more pictures in our The Lightner Museum album on our Facebook page.