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Friday, October 23, 2015

Vampires in St. Augustine?

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. The city just a few weeks ago celebrated their 450th anniversary. There is a ton of history including pirate stories, the fountain of youth, and gruesome unsolved deaths. Ghosts, goblins and entities linger and the living inhabitants are sure to tell you the stories and spooky episodes they've witnessed. Urban legends run rampant, all in the name of fun and a fright.

A couple weeks ago as I finished editing and formatting my December surprise book release I began planning my next book. It's

Mantanza's Bay and Fort

a story that's been on my mind for at least a year but with so many other releases I put it on the back burner. Well now is the time for this story to come to life. The story takes place in St. Augustine. But it's not a ghost story instead its a vampire tale. In a city full of supernatural and paranormal activity, why not?

This brought me to do a google search for Vampires in St. Augustine which revealed on encounter in 1933. St. Augustine is in St. John's County Florida. I live in a bordering county, a short thirty minute drive away. I've taken it upon myself to find out if this "claim" is real or B.S.  You can read it here. The author says he bought an old paper at a tag sale with the headlines, "Vampire Stalks St. Augustine". My ghost hunt begins!

Yesterday, I drove to St. Augustine and visited the Historical Society. According to the above webpage a family of  5 died, their
name Turner, their bodies found Oct. 5, 1933, and the forgotten case remains unsolved to this day. Hmm... shouldn't be too hard to find. I searched death records for 1933. Two Turners died but not on the same day and not in October. I searched The St. Augustine Record, local paper of the time. I found a ton of info about the World series and union strikes but nothing about a family of five found dead and no headlines, "Vampire Stalks St. Augustine". They gave me a link to the genealogical society, check it yourself and I found the same Turners. Dead end? I checked Ancestry.com, same Turners. But not the Turners I'm searching for.

Next, I stopped at the sheriff's office on my way home - nothing! According to them, years ago now when they went digital, files that were "important" to the person doing the job were scanned in, others not. I was also told in the 1960's most of the files were destroyed. I was given a link to search that covers all crimes in Florida. A needle in a haystack? Yes. When I click on Unsolved Cases nothing pops up. Empty. There is no Cold Case link only Cold Case Playing Cards, non of which include the possible Cold Case I'm searching for.

Now if you read the article at the link above. He says it was a
Jacksonville paper. Jacksonville is Duval County. It borders St. John's and includes Old St. Augustine Rd. Could the murders have happened there? My next trek will be to Jacksonville's huge Main Library where I should have access to the Florida Times Union articles from 1933 and any other local magazines, newspapers from the times. Maybe even unsolved crimes. 

I'm not holding my breath but if this family existed and was murdered I'll find it. 

A special thanks to the folks at the Sheriff's office and Historical Society who took the time to help me. On to Jacksonville!

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