Beachside weddings, gazebos, and voluntarily bumped flights aside, I found myself in Key West amidst family members, Hemingway, and oodles of wild roosters and six-toed cats. (Key West is a happenin’ key, let me tell ya.) It doesn’t take too many romps down Duval St. to see numerous ads for the two local ghost tours because Key West boasts itself as almost as haunted as New Orleans. Tickets were purchased. Twilight set upon us. The ghost tour began.
Lucky for us – myself, the wife, the youngest sister, classification MCw/C* - we had chosen the less popular of the available tours. Evidently the kids that slid in from New Jersey and other environs were really jazzed about the opposing tour because it was lantern led! Well they can have their lantern in one hand and rove about in a teeming mob in the other. Our tour only had six or so people.
We wove past many a historic locale with our well-informed yet slightly iffy guide which actually made me think she truly believed everything she fed us. The other lantern-led wags were following some dork in a cape and top hat…who happened to be my guide earlier in the day at Hemingway’s house. He’s obviously phoning it in, and Starla/Inquisiline/Lady Mysterio or whatever our guide’s name was, was just freaky and soft spoken enough to make me think there actually was a haunted doll that doesn’t like to have its picture taken without permission two stories above me. Hell, she had a binder full of photographs to prove it. Put that in your lantern and smoke it.
It was those photographs that sealed the deal. Along our tour, I was introduced to the world of orbs, mainly free-floating balls of light/energy/pixie dust that tend to reveal themselves only in developed photographs. Our guide had numerous examples of these otherwise harmless balls of light. Photographic anomaly, possibly, but when we stopped near an old church with an older graveyard behind I decided to throw reason out the window. We had run into a couple that after taking the tour earlier were revisiting some of the high points. With no preparation or coaxing the guide told them to take a snapshot of the precipice of the church with their digital camera. Bam. Orbs. Plain as day.
The tour progressed and by the end of the evening I was ready to change my name to Peter Venkman. We had too many run-ins with those not finished with this earth to recount in one post (Let’s just say we punctuated the evening by running hell-bent to escape the evil clutches of a haunted elevator). I emerged leaning farther over the fence toward the substantiation of orbs, ghosts, specters and all things spooky.
Flash forward to last Friday. I’m at the Smithsonian looking at the flag that was hung over the scar in the Pentagon on September 12, 2001. It’s massive, so massive I had to scurry back to the edges of the hall, past the ubiquitous hordes of middle school students, to get the whole thing in one picture. 184 people died in the attack on the Pentagon. Did I mention I kind of believe in orbs? Have a look for yourself.
*Married, Child, with Child – accurate as of August 2004