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Introduction – Here there be ghosts

What is Haunt Jaunts?

Simply put, it’s a travel blog for restless spirits.

I’ve had the idea for a while now. When my husband Wayne and I moved from Phoenix, Arizona, to Jacksonville, Florida, we took a day trip to St. Augustine. As we drove past the fort (officially known as the Castillo de San Marcos), I remember whispering to him, “Here there be ghosts.”

We didn’t go in that day. We just walked around the town, then went to eat at Harry’s. We were seated upstairs and after we ordered I went to use the bathroom. (There are two, one downstairs and one up. I used the upstairs one.)

That’s when I met my first ghost.

Well, not “met” exactly. Experienced would be a better word.

THE BATHROOM INCIDENT

I was all alone in the bathroom, but I got the oddest sensation I wasn’t. It’s hard to explain. There was a chill in the air, and it felt as if there was a presence lingering. Watching. Waiting. I remember as I washed my hands looking in the mirror and scrutinizing the area behind me. I swear it felt like someone was right behind my shoulder, but no one was. I have never hustled out of a bathroom faster.

When I was once again back at the safety of the table, I felt foolish. I sort of laughed to Wayne that something odd had happened in the bathroom. But since nothing had really happened, I’d just had a weird feeling more than anything, there wasn’t much to tell. He just shook his head and the matter was forgotten.

THE GHOST BOOK

A few months later, though, I came across a book, Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida. It’s broken up into regions. Region Two caught my eye because it was where we lived. A couple of the places listed we’d either been to or had passed by, but some I hadn’t heard of. Like “Site 13 – 46 Avenida Menendez.”

“What’s that?” I wondered, knowing we’d likely been by it. Avenida Menendez was one of the main thoroughfares through St. Augustine.

So I started reading and learned that at one time it had been the Chart House restaurant, but before that it had been a house. One that had a history of fire and a woman named Bridgett died during it. The author had talked to former restaurant owners who shared some experiences with odd happenings they’d seen. But the line that almost stopped my heart was, “Psychics came in, and they said there was an obvious presence in the ladies’ room upstairs.”

I pleaded with Wayne to take me back to St. Augustine that weekend. I had to know if Harry’s was at 46 Avenida Menendez. (I knew it was, but I had to see it in person for myself.) Sure enough, we found that’s exactly where it was…and I was convinced then that I, too, had experienced the presence in the upstairs bathroom.

Thus was born a new kind of travel regimen for us. I used Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida as a travel guide to take us to other places in Florida where ghosts were alleged to dwell.

THE QUEST

I think part of me was on a quest to again have an experience like the one I’d had at Harry’s. Because that wasn’t the first time I’d encountered ghosts on my travels. In the couple of years leading up to that, I’d had some other ghost experiences at other places. One a pub in Phoenix and one a hotel in Salt Lake City.

Mostly I was hoping to put myself in a place where I’d perhaps see an actual apparition and have the “Holy Grail” of ghost encounters. But what happened was that Wayne and I ended up going around and seeing a bunch of really cool places and having a blast in the process.

THE BIRTH OF HAUNT JAUNTS

That’s how I got the idea to chronicle our travels, and our travel dreams. Haunt Jaunts the blog will be a combination of places we’ve been, places we’d like to go, and interviews with others who have had similar experiences.

I welcome comments, be they suggestions for places to travel to that you’ve heard of where ghosts may live, or experiences you’ve had on your travels. Thanks for your interest!

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her on a tennis court somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com
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