167 San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, Florida 32084-3269
This jail was built at the turn of the century by Henry Flagler because the jail across from his magnificent hotel was offensive to his 'Newport clientele'. It is located north of the old town on San Marco.
Tour guides and tourists alike have experienced the sound of shuffling feet, the smell of putrid unwashed bodies and sanitary facilities (a bucket for 4 prisoners), cold spots and even a shadow entity of an extremely large man- sheriff Perry ( the first sheriff) was over 6 foot 5 inches tall. Students have even seen a man in a 'funky plaid suit' in the main cell block.
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I have been on a "ghost walk" through the Old Jail as part of a tour and I was in for a surprise. It was late at night and there was a lot going on since there were quite a few of us on the tour. There were a couple of guides wearing vintage style prison outfits and they gave a great performance while telling about what the jail was like when it was still inhabited by prisoners.
It was very poorly lit inside the jail. In fact, there was almost no lighting at all in the cell areas, but I saw a third tour guide inside one of the cells, so being the jerk that I am, I decided to heckle him. After all, there weren't many others around me... most had moved on to the other room with the guide talking about some guy named Charlie who was hung out back.
I tried to poke fun at the third guide a couple of times, but he never reacted. I could see him shift position on the lower bunk in the cell, but he didn't respond right away. I told him that the others had already moved on if he was planning to jump out and scare them... still no response from him. I asked him, "So, who are you supposed to be, anyway?"
He turned back over without a sound, stood up, took a step toward me and disappeared. I nearly peed my pants. Another tourist was still in there with me.. I guess he was curious to see what the other guide was going to do, same as me. He said a couple of swear words and asked me if I just saw what he just saw. I was so startled that I told him I didn't see a darned thing and walked on to the next room to join the others. I didn't see anything else out of the ordinary for the remainder of the tour, but the other man who also saw the disappearing prisoner seemed a bit shaken.
This was not the first time I've seen a ghost, or a spirit, whatever you prefer to call them, but it certainly did startle me because I was convinced it was a live person. It had me fooled right up until it vanished before me.