Archive for slaves

THE TABBY HOUSE (Part One)

Posted in Afterlife, Ghosts, Paranormal, Saturdays, Stories with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Dave Lapham

Fort George Island is one of the Talbot Islands near Jacksonville just off A1A. On the section owned by the National Park Service there stands the Haunted Tabby House and the Kingsley Plantation. I had read about Fort George Island in Joyce Moore’s excellent book, Haunt Hunter’s Guide To Florida, and it piqued my interest. I called the National Park Service to get permission to visit after dark; the hunter’s moon was just a few days away.

The following Saturday night I found myself driving down the winding, shaded roadway toward the Tabby House. Small pin points of moonlight knifed through the thick canopy above and created an eerie glow, made even more ghostly and macabre by long strands of softly swaying Spanish moss which hung from the trees and by the dense palmetto scrub which lined both sides of the road. I was alone, and I began to feel a little claustrophobic.

I also began to feel something else. Fort George Island has been continuously occupied by humans for five thousand years. Traces of every period remain. There are thirty-some archaeological sites on the island, including the old tabby slave quarters, and I could almost hear the big old bell clanging, calling the slaves in from the fields. Is that what I sensed? Or was it some pre-historic Indian?

I drove on and suddenly I was in a clearing and there stood the ruins of the Tabby House, washed in the whiteness of the full moon. Tabby is a mixture of sand, water, and lime made from burning oyster shells, which is then mixed with whole shells and poured into forms to make a serviceable concrete. The moonlight reflecting off the shells made the ruins fairly glow.

Not much was left of the house. The walls had eroded, and there was a gaping hole in the middle of the front wall where once stood a door and behind it another wall with a smaller hole, presumably once a window or another doorway. About ten or twenty yards in front of the house there was another low tabby wall, which had once surrounded the house.

I stopped by the wall and got out of my truck. All was quiet. I was alone, just me, the crumbling ruins of the old house, girdled by weeds and bathed in the ghostly light of the moon, the dark, forbidding trees which seemed to envelope the whole clearing—and something else which I could sense but not quite see. Beads of sweat formed quickly on my upper lip, yet I was freezing cold. My heart pounded loudly in my chest. I stood there motionless by my truck for a few minutes staring at the ruins and wishing I had enough sense to climb back in and drive away. (TO BE CONTINUED)