Plagued

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This letter, written in 1888, was wrote by the president of the Escambia County Board of Health to Florida’s Governor  (Perry), it says: this Board is desirous of raising quarantine against all points in Florida that are not infected, will you therefore have the kindness to send me the names of all places known to be infected.

 In 1888, yellow fever plagued Florida visitors and residences. At first, people thought the brutal Florida heat was the cause of malaria aka “yellow fever,” but nobody knew for sure. Some people even believed it was contagious.

A book titled The New History of Florida, says that in the summer of 1888, Jacksonville had 4,656 cases of yellow fever and 427 deaths – in a couple months.

The heat was NOT the cause malaria, but it was a big factor in someone recovering from the illness.

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The 1888 summer plaque would have been the beginning if not for “the father of air conditioning and refrigeration.” Thanks to John Gorrie’s mechanically produced chilled air, patient’s condition improved.

The plaque would continue to haunt the Southeast until…

A 1902 breakthrough found the source of yellow fever, mosquitoes.  Sir Ronald Ross made the discovery, which won the Nobel Prize for Psychology or Medicine. At last, a reason behind the madness. Although, the number of cases had receded since the 1888 epidemic, people were relieved to know the source. Now Floridians knew what to avoid.

One historian, Raymond Asrenault, called it, “the end of the long hot summer.” (pg. 435)

 

Reference: The New History of Florida copyright 1996

 

 

Paranormal Dining

Everyone enjoys a good meal, but visitors to this Jacksonville restaurant may leave with more than they paid for, which could include a ghost encounter.

Recently, TacoLu’s re-located their business to a more historical site. For customers, this means a little longer of a drive, or shorter, depending on where you’re coming from. Oh yea, and the chance to dine with the dead.

Last week, my roommate and his girlfriend ate at Lu’s. Their server told them of their new buildings not so new occupant, and even gave them a couple spooky stories.

One story involved a young dishwasher. On break, the boy went outback to dribble a basketball. The ball rolled into the wood, but all employees saw was him running and screaming out of the woods and all the way home, he never returned. After a week, managers called the boy who claimed to see the upper half of a women rising from the ground.

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photo by: Debbie Nicol

The ghost is thought to be the late Alpha Paynter. She was once the operator of a boarding house, but never got the memo to vacate.

All these encounters happened before TacoLu’s re-located, when the restaurant was called The Homestead.

Since, Lu’s moved in there have been some creepy encounters. The owner, Debbie Nicol, said there have been things like lights flickering on and off, and a beer cooler opening on its own. The weirdest, happened to an Aramark employee when he delivered the restaurant’s towels and rugs.

“He said hello to her, and she just nodded her head,” Nicol told me. “She was sitting in a seat in front of the fireplace.”

According to multiple sources I found, these events would fall under a stage 3 encounter – out of five stages. At this stage the spirit makes its presence known. Level one and two can be almost feel like your mind playing tricks, but at this stage it is clearly a haunting.

These sources say at stage 4, the poltergeist becomes violent throwing objects and using your worst fears against you. If it reaches this far you are in imminent danger. Level 5 could get you killed.

Not all haunting reach stage 5, and I do not believe this haunting will either. Miss Paynter has been “making her presence known” for quite some time, and in all the encounters she has never harmed anyone, physically.

 

Home of the Stars

Jacksonville was once the movie capital of the world. What started as a winter retreat for film-makers to shoot ended up becoming a prime location, but only for a few years.

Imagine if Jacksonville had stayed the movie capital. There would be movie premiers, the Jacksonville walk of fame and celebrity tour guides.

People would move from all over the world to be movie stars, and even more vacationers to see those stars. The Jaguars would be owned by Oprah, and seeing Steven Spielberg in Publix would be a norm.

Rumor has it, a couple years after their arrival Jacksonville residents would boot the movie industry from the area. Producers would use Jacksonville’s first responders at their leisure – crying wolf just to get a shot of responders in their films.

Just a taste of the consistent Florida weather was enough to keep producers from returning back to the northeast, but they had to get out of town. Hollywood would offer everything producers could want. Plus, they were willing to take them.

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In the early 1900s, Thomas Edison and other movie pioneers brought the movie industry from New Jersey to Jacksonville. Jacksonville’s consistent weather and beautiful scenery would lure producers from the bitter northeast. It would also make the comparable weather of Hollywood a desirable and eventually permanent location.

By 1912, Hollywood would become the permanent location for the movie industry.