September 30, 2015

By: Festiva Getaways

Ghost Hunting in Daytona Beach

What is it about the turning of seasons from Summer to Fall that put people in a haunted mood? Long before the month of October begins, our minds turn towards the idea of spectral beings walking amongst us. Forgetting all that we learned in Sunday School, we seek out evidence of a world just slightly out of reach of our own on the other side of reality.

If your aim is to commune with previously living souls, then you may want to journey to where they were laid to rest. Cemeteries are the most popular ghost hunting spots, and the older the better and the darker the night the better. If we're not channeling gothic tales told from the moors of England, then we're not really chasing ghosts, are we?

The oldest cemetery in Daytona Beach is possibly the Pinewood Cemetery on Main Street, and its most famous resident might just be Adler Rawlings, who may or may not still be in possession of his own head. The ghostly equivalent of the old man in the neighborhood screaming at kids to get off of his lawn, Adler's mausoleum was occupied by teens in search of a little privacy for their adolescent shenanigans. Sadly, those escapades included the desecration of his grave and the robbery of his head.

Now, as current lore would have it, Adler wanders the graveyard in search of his head and to possibly keep more kids from disturbing his rest.

But poor Adler is not the only inhabitant rumored to be lurking the headstones of Pinewood. Charles Burgone helped popularize Daytona Beach as a tourist attraction in the early 20th century. Upon his death in 1916, his loving wife tended to his grave, which is a tall monument erected in the honor of his well-known phlianthropy, until her death in 1944. Some still see her, dressed as a widow, kneeling at the foot of her husband's monument, praying.

Or you can travel north a bit and visit the Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine, which in its storied history as one of the oldest surviving structures in North America, was the setting for troop encampments and prisoner detainments. If it's true that ghosts met horrible deaths, then the fort is a pressure cooker for ghostly beings who perished on site over the past few centuries. It's impossible to explore the grounds without an odd feeling or two that someone is looking over your shoulder...

Local history provides plenty of opportunities to explore the other side and quench your thirst for encounters not entirely of this realm.