Fot MatanzasOne of my passions has always been haunted places and haunted stories. Something about these two things excites me. They drive me to explore what the eye may not immediately see, but the mind still perceives.

Some people hear voices that they can’t identify. Others have seen apparitions. Neither of which can be explained by the everyday. They seem to be residual matter that some can people can perceive and others cannot.

I have had my own experiences with such paranormal encounters. These encounters piqued my interest. I began watching different paranormal shows on tv. My favorites were always Paranormal State and Ghost Hunters.

I recently decided to begin researching some of the most haunted places. Most that I have found are now museums for people to visit. I personally would like to make a list of these haunted to places to visit.

On Facebook, I found one haunted area that sounds like a nice road trip. St. Augustine, Florida seems to be a place ‘steeped in lore’, as Shawn Ponce said in a video interview. I began with the idea of learning more about the lighthouse of St. Augustine, but Shawn took me on a new search for information. He mentioned the fort at St. Augustine and willingly shared his experience at the fort and a piece of lore I was not aware of.

He told me of his experience at Fort Matanzas. The fort is can only be reached by boat and is on an island now known as Rattlesnake Island. Many people are ferried over to the island everyday, except on Christmas. The word Matanzas means ‘the place of many slaughters’.

The fort began as a wood watchtower and a thatched hut in 1569 after an attack by French troops led by Hugenot Jean Ribault. When a hurricane washed the French ashore, Menedez. When the French surrendered, Menedez had 245 prisoners put to death.

Later, in 1740, General James Oglethorpe tried to lay siege to St. Augustine when he blockaded the Matanzas River. Due to hurricane season, lack of support and the preparation of the soldiers at Fort Matanzas, Oglethorpe withdrew. This led to the actual construction of Fort Matanzas by Gov. Manuel de Montiano.

In 1763, the English gained control of Fort Matanzas by treaty. They maintained the fort as a watchtower until it was ceded to the United States in 1821. By this time the fort was in ruins. In 1924, Fort Matanas we declared a national monument. But it wasn’t until 1933 that the fort was transferred fro mthe War Department to the National ParkService.

This is where Shawn Ponce’s story picks up. When I saw the post on Facebook and his comment about the haunted fort, I was intrigued. I asked if he would be willing to tell me more.

Shawn: I’m not experienced in those sort of things, but if I can help I’ll try.

Through a video chat on Facebook he told me his story. He told me what he experienced in the fort and essence he experienced. He also gave an insight into the Fountain of Youth, supposedly located in St. Augustine as well. He may not be an expert, but his experience should not be discredited either.
Shawn: I used to live there. As I said I’m not expert, but I’ll try to help. St. Augustine is steeped with lore. It’s also the supposed site of the Foutain of Youth. I actually drank from it. It tasted and smelled like sulfur.

Me: Sulfur? That makes me wonder if there’s more to that tale.

Shawn: Yeah. I was visitng the fort with my ex. We were walking through the barracks and the essence was so palpable. We were walking through the barracks and I heard a sound. I turned to my ex and saked her ‘Did you hear that sound?’ She said ‘what sound?’ I could hear moaning from the barracks. That area was full of death and disease in the past. You can also hear moaninf from the captain’s cabin. The presence was so strong and the eerie sound of the past were too much for me and I didn’t finish the tour. I never saw any apparitions. But it’s a great place if you ever get the chance you should go see for yourself.

Me: I would lke that very much. Thank-you for sharing your experience.

Shawn Your very welcome.

Thanks to Shawn Ponce for sharing your experience at Fort Matanzas and the Fountain of Youth. I think The Fountain of Youth may be somehting else entirely to explore. As for the haunting of Fort Matanzas, well the name speaks for itself. A place named for many deaths must hold some evil and palpable residue for further investigation.


“Fort Matanzas |” <i>Fort Matanzas |</i>. St. Augustine Record, n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2016.


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