It was a year ago… I was writing 3 blog posts that week about a Ghost Walk in Kissimmee. It was to be our first Ghost Walk, and frankly, I wasn’t sure what would happen. I’d certainly wanted to see something, experience something, yet really? Would I totally chicken out if I came “face to face” with a real “live” ghost?
Yes, I do believe. I come from that school of thought that there is so much we don’t know and cannot explain that it would be arrogant to say “never”. I believe in a benevolent God in a world where Jews were once killed simply for being themselves, where children are hurt just because they’re children, where animals are treated like possessions and where greed rules over decency too often.
So if I can believe in a God, if I can believe the world is round and that we’ve put men on the moon, if I can believe that good will always win over evil and that tomorrow will surely come, then I can believe in ghosts.
After all, what is a ghost? The soul and spirit of someone who’s passed away. Someone who’s time on earth is over, yet for whatever reason, they remain. Then I think: what do they want or need? And if they died a tragic death, isn’t it a shame that some are stuck here? Is it up to us to help them “cross over?”
Or like so many things we don’t understand…
For this ghost walk, the very kind folks at Kissimmee Ghost Tours invited us to join them as their guests. We’d be walking the “old town” of Kissimmee, the once well known gateway to Central Florida.
Indeed over the years Kissimmee has seen its place in Florida’s realm rise and fall like the tide. A rough and rugged outback where Spanish explorers tread only to find it so inhospitable they turned and went another way. Leaving their cattle behind, these hearty stock would become the basis for Kissimmee’s cattle industry. A cow-town-boom-town that put this land onto the maps.
The Civil War would bring this cow town to the edges of a conflict tearing a nation apart. Men would leave this town too often in wooden boxes, leaving behind their memories, and perhaps their spirits.
Years later Kissimmee would place itself on a larger map – the map of tourism as the gateway to Walt Disney World; a new kid on the block that would one day become so big its neighbor would all but disappears in its shadow.
So on this night we would walk into the dark of Kissimmee. Along streets that were once the center of activity, now working to reclaim themselves once again.
For a ghost walk its a great place. History has marched through, men and women whose very lives were the stuff a nation could found itself on. Rugged and cruel, life happened here in no uncertain terms. But would we find the ghosts of it all or simply some interesting stories?
True believers and those simply going along
True believers see the orb on the image as proof; a ball of energy that in reality is a ghost trying to make contact. Others go along with it because a wife or husband made them. Still others figure they’re wasting their time entirely.
For us it was a good time, good fun, and a search for proof – that we could get an orb, find a ghost and maybe experience something from another world or place.
We had ‘em all on this tour. Those of us who believed and were excited, those who were along for the ride, those who figured we were all nuts.
First stop; the train station. Civil War soldiers had once left the state from here, mostly in wooden coffins. Our guide told us to take photos. As she spoke I pointed the camera, sometimes at something specific, other times just a direction. Each way along the track, at the building, at the place where surely coffins once were stacked waiting.
Thing of a ghost walk – even with the convenience of digital’s instant gratification – you can’t always see an orb. Even if its there, the light of the area, the light within the image may need to be adjusted.
I think I got one, but…
On our way. A library where once three boys tried to stay the night in the old warehouse building that stood here once. Screaming into the night, something had frightened them.
This night Assistant Laura took a photo of me, the library behind. In one image, just me and a shadow where the building would be. A second image – a green blob hovers over my head. Could it be a benevolent being? Or just an anomaly on the image?
By Lake Toho we again stopped, hearing stories of traffic that once brought men and supplies along these inter-coastal waters along Florida’s Eastern coast. Men had died out there, of course.
I took several images here. I purposely included people in some. After all, ghosts are said to need our energy to form. It wasn’t without thought that I included the guy who was finding this all the most ridiculous. One image… just he, the next… he and an orb. Hey, I’m getting stuff! (I’d find out later).
The most frightening place along the tour was Susan’s Courtside Cafe. Not because this charming restaurant by day was a horrible place. Indeed, on the recommendation of the guide, Assistant Laura and I would return and find the food to be terrific. Scary because just the parts she told us about the murder-suicide that took place here were so horrible, no one (us included) took her up on the full story in private.
That night and on the return I took plenty of images and nope, nothing came about.
There were other stops, but the most interesting would be the playground at the funeral home. The owners didn’t think children should be so closely involved with death, so they provided a playground. One day their own child – who’d love to play here so – would be a ghost. She died young and to this day finds playing here a favorite after-life activity.
Assistant Laura – a true motherly nurturer – sat on the swing and began to talk with Isabella. I took photos, one after another. In a particular run of three the first and third merely had Laura talking to the dark at her side. In the second… an orb would appear at exactly the height she’d be looking into a little girls eyes next to her… Isabella was there to play…
Ghost Stories and other things…
Why am I writing about a night a year ago? One I’ve shared before…
Because I think ghosts exist and because I will be going on more ghost walks when I can. We’ve been invited to join the Mount Dora Ghost Walk and are working to plan the date.
These orbs and ghosts, if they are in deed real, are the spirits of those we’ve lost. People who lived lives as normally as you and I, and who in their passing are still among us.
Many are fascinated by ghosts; some because of a fear of death, others hold a passion and need to know what’s on the other side. I’ve actually had a friend say he was glad he’d gotten to know me before he found out I believed in ghosts or he might not have become friends – I’d be too weird for him.
For generations we’ve been “certain” of one thing after another, only to discover a new truth lies around every corner. We continue to search for “truth,” somehow believing it will help us, make us more secure, make us stronger or less scared.
Thing of it is, the truth is not always what we expect. Often it is not something we want to accept.
Ghost and ghost stories are a part of who we are, where we’ve been and what we become. And if ghosts do exists… in more ways than one.