Castillo de San Marcos is a huge fortress situated in St. Augustine, Florida, and it is said by some that many a spirit still resides there.
History of Castillo de San Marcos
Work on Castillo de San Marcos began in 1672 and was completed in 1695. The Spaniards, to which Florida belonged at the time, had recognized they had to build a fortress to protect the residents of St. Augustine during any future battles.
The fortress was put to the test in 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession, when the British occupied St. Augustine and attacked Castillo de San Marcos for 50 days. The Spanish successfully defended the fortress, but the town was razed to the ground.
In the intervening years the fortress was the scene of many other sieges, but it was never taken.
Castillo de San Marcos was renamed Fort Saint Mark in 1763. This was because Florida had been given to Britain as a result of the Peace of Paris Treaty. 20 years later, however, Florida was returned to Spain. It remained Spanish until 1821, when Florida was sold to the US for the princely sum of one dollar. The Americans chose to rename the fortress Fort Marion.
Fort Marion played an instrumental role in ending the Seminole Indian War. Both of the major Seminole chiefs were conned into coming to the fortress for what they thought were peace talks. Instead, they were chained up!
Fort Marion housed many captured Indians during the Indian wars of the late 19th
Century. Sometimes, whole families would be sent and, after a while, the Colonel at the fortress introduced schooling. He also taught Indians how to integrate into society.
In 1924, Fort Marion was given national monument status, with maintenance assumed by the National Park Service. The fortress was given its original name again in 1942.
In recent years, a $3 million renovation project was completed. The fortress is the oldest masonry fort in the US.
The fortress gained a new commander when Florida was given back to Spain, a man by the name of Colonel Garcia Marti. He arrived in July 1784 with his beautiful young wife, Dolores.
To cut a long story short, it seems that the Colonel did not pay much attention to his wife and she sought companionship elsewhere, falling madly in love with the Colonel’s assistant, Captain Abela.
The affair became obvious to the Colonel when he smelled Dolores’ signature perfume all over the Captain’s uniform. The Colonel, so the story goes, then took his dastardly revenge. One night, the Captain and Dolores disappeared and no one seemed to know what had happened to them.
The Colonel told his soldiers that Captain Abela had been sent on a special mission to Cuba, and told Dolores’ suspicious friends that she had developed health problems and had gone to live with her aunt in Mexico to recover.
It wasn’t until 50 years later that the sinister truth was revealed. An American soldier was investigating the architecture of the fortress and came across what seemed to be a hollow part of a wall in the dungeon.
When he pulled out the first brick, he was overwhelmed by a strong smell of perfume. When more of the bricks had been removed, a small room was evident. This room contained the skeletons of the two young lovers, entombed and doomed to die all those years ago.
A lot of people report a pervading scent of perfume when they visit, and auras and lights can be seen near the place where the lovers died together. EVPs have also been recorded in the area.
Spirits, Apparitions, and a Mysterious Light
A staff member has seen the apparition of a soldier lying on one of the beds, and the sound of soldiers’ boots can often be heard.
People have reported being pushed by an invisible presence in the cannon room and hearing footsteps in the courtyard.
Others have said they have seen the ghost of a pirate who was executed on the site, and the head of a very unhappy-looking Indian has been seen floating around.
On stormy nights, a light appears in one of the watchtowers. This has not yet been explained, for there is no power source in this area.
In the media
Ghost Adventures Season 2, Episode 2 on Travel Channel.
hauntedhouses.com, “Castillo de San Marcos
”, accessed July 26 2017,
hauntedplacestogo.com, “Real Haunted Places in St. Augustine, Florida
”, accessed July 27 2017.
James Wray updated Castillo de San Marcos on 08 Sep , 2017.