First off, tell me about the “Haunted Hearse Ghost Tour” and how it began?
The premier tour was Friday, October 8th 2004. On the tour that very night was a man that had stayed at the St. Francis Inn and told us about how in Elizabeth`s suite he had been attacked by a ghost that was sitting on him in his bed. He could hardly breathe and he couldn`t make a sound or even move. It ended when his wife called out to him wondering what was up with him. This type of haunting is known as the “Riding Hag Syndrome”. Also that same year we purchased and fixed up the 1974 Cadillac hearse.
What types of locations do you visit during the tour?
The tour takes the tour goers inside a modified old gothic hearse to some off the beaten track haunted locations in St. Augustine. The roof is kept intact so it doesn`t matter if it rains. Bench seating has been put into the mid section which can hold up to 7 people and up to 2 in the front of the hearse. The rear section has pillows on the floor and at a discounted price we are able to take 2 adults or up to 4 kids in the very rear of the hearse.
Our full length tour is approx 90-100 minutes long and is $30 for regular seating and $18 for rear seating and for children 6-12 years old. However we do not take anyone under 4 years old. We have 7 pm, 9 pm and 11:30 pm departures.
The tour goers gets equipped with K-II EMF meters modified with a side switch and the tour group size maxes out at 10 people about which makes the tour one of the most personal tour experiences in St. Augustine and adds to the atmosphere. Nothing is done to scare people. The tour guide relates info about the paranormal and the hauntings in St. Augustine and what paranormal activity we have had on the tour.
We visit some houses in the residential downtown section, also a Haunted Bed & Breakfast, The National Cemetery, The “murder house” where the mayor`s wife got her head chopped off in 1974, a haunted restaurant and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. We do not go inside since time does not permit it and people live in some of the houses.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse is where we have had the most paranormal experiences even though we are outside on the grounds right next to the tower. The ghosts actually come out and say hello to us. After talking about them for 5 minutes or so people start getting readings on their meters and orbs in their pictures. We always get orb shots by and inside the hearses.
On the 1974 tour we had a problem with the horn honking by itself even though it did not work when one pushed it and it actually responded to us when we talked to the hearse! Believe it or not! We asked on a tour; if there is a ghost here, please honk the horn…The horn honked a second after! The windshield wipers have also started by themselves and right after the fan in the very rear of the hearse started by itself and the K-II EMF meter got a reading at the same time as well.
Objects had also disappeared in the hearse to just later on magically reappeared in the most obvious location where one would have found the object if one started to look for something. This happened to a mechanic who couldn`t find one of his tools. It happened to me with the keys to the hearse. When the item reappeared both times it was in the back of the hearse in the middle of the floor where the coffins used to go.
How many hearses do you have now?
We have two, one is a 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood and the other is a 1990 Cadillac Brougham Fleetwood.
Tell me about the pubs you visit during the tour and the main guests which are The Spirits?
This is a version of the Hearse Ride that we do that is a “PUB HEARSE RIDE”. It is about 3 hours long. We do the same stops as the 90 minute Hearse Ride and ad stops and haunted pubs in St. Augustine that we spend 30-40 minutes inside telling the stories and letting the guests investigate and imbibe the spirits. The Pub Hearse Ride is $55 per person. People can bring a cooler with drinks and drink throughout the tour. One of the pub stops are outside of the downtown area on the way out to the lighthouse.
Are you running any specials this time of year?
Actually not. We are just doing the same spooky things we always do. We have added more departures for our walking downtown Haunted Pub Tour though. The HPT goes out at 8:30 pm every night and is 2.5 hours long at $17 per person. We visit a minimum 3 haunted establishments.
One last question, is there any specific type of encounter that you would like to mention?
One night a 10 year old girl had non stop readings on her EMF meter at the lighthouse and nobody else got anything on theirs even though they held their K-II EMF meter right next to hers. Then when someone took her meter it just stopped. The 10 year old girl grabbed another meter and got the non stop readings all the way up to red. The interesting thing is that the main ghost at the lighthouse is a girl that looks (when seen) like she is about 10 years old.
Also on the balcony of the St. Francis Inn there is a door which opens and closes when a tour guest asked for it to do so.
We have also had guests running out of St. Francis Inn saying that the stories are true and sharing what happened to them in Lilly`s room that night.
Stuff like that happens, which is pretty cool to say the least.
Thank you very much Jonas and for more information please go to: www.ghostaugustine.com.
GhoSt Augustine Ltd. Co.
123 St. George Street, Ste 12
St. Augustine, FL 32084
Toll Free: 1-866-266-6641