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Friday, June 14, 2024

The Suwannee River Hauntings – Primarily based on True Occasions

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Associates and vacationers, collect round, for a narrative so scary, you received’t make a sound. It’s based mostly on historical past, and might be true, however it’s greater than details I’ll current to you. It’s a story of greed, butchery, betrayals with vengeance served from past the Pale.

From means down on the Suwannee River come tales of determined despair, the place loss of life hangs heavy within the stagnant air. What introduced the sorrows to this land? Might or not it’s that there was a curse at hand?

Blood, Butchery, and Betrayal

De Soto entering village called Napituca via WikiCommons.
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

The Timucua Indians lived peacefully in a bit of village referred to as Napituca, which was positioned between present-day Stay Oak and Houston Florida. The household clans clustered across the space’s many springs, just like the Little Gem Spring in Suwannee River State Park, which was lower than a day’s stroll away from Napituca. They lived in concord with nature, searching, and fishing till the arrival of the Spanish devastated their civilization.

All Hail De Soto

De Soto the Spanish Conquistador via WikiCommons.
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

De Soto, the Spanish Conquistador, was given the edict to colonize North America for Spain. His expedition landed close to present-day Tampa Bay in Might of 1539. They continued up the Suwannee River Valley, reaching the village of Napituca by September.

Following the playbook used to defeat and subjugate the Inca, De Soto claimed to be a god incarnate, the son of the Solar, and immortal. These beliefs coincided with Inca mythology however didn’t resonate in Florida

By the point he reached Napituca, the locals grew weary of the idolatry and the wake of loss of life, destruction, and cruelty that adopted De Soto in every single place he went. The ultimate tipping level got here with the kidnapping and homicide of Chief Aguacaleycuen and his youngsters.

The Battle of the Ponds

The Battle of the Ponds
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

The enraged Timucuans devised a plan to kill each final invader. The invited De Soto to parley below the pretense of creating peace, whereas planning an ambush. De Soto’s interpreters betrayed the lethal plans, which allowed the merciless Spaniard to set his personal lure.

De Soto waited in an empty discipline outdoors of Napituca for the Indians to reach. His drive of 620 males remained close by, performing aloof, however ready for the order to cost. An entourage of Timucua chiefs, flanked by rows of warriors flooded the sector. The Spanish had been prepared. As quickly because the fray started, a cavalry cost lower by means of the Timucua ranks and the rout was on.

Napituca’s Curse from the Grave

Shot of screaming dark sorcerer dressed in aboriginal attire in foggy cemetery.
Photograph Credit score: Deposit Photographs.

The Timucuan strains disintegrated, many panicked and drowned in a hasty retreat. An enclave of about 200 males and 9 chiefs remained organized. Badly outnumbered and outgunned, they retreated right into a shallow pond. The delicate floor stored the cavalry at bay till dusk.

That night time will need to have been really horrific. The enclave knew that they might not escape or win the battle. They knew how the Spaniards murdered Chief Aguacaleycuen and anticipated no higher. It’s unknown what witchcraft or convent was conceived within the darkness, however by dawn, the soldiers surrendered. The final man to placed on Spanish shackles was a sullen Chief Napituca, who uttered this chilling message to his captors:

“I’ve performed as a courageous man, and struggled and fought like a person till I took refuge on this pond. It was to not escape loss of life, or to keep away from dying however to encourage those that had been there and had not surrendered. I ask that my individuals not have something to do with these Christians, who’re devils and can show mightier than they.’’

The battle crushed Timucuan resistance, however did it span a curse that plagued European improvement within the Suwannee River Valley and set forth a bloody cycle of kidnapping and homicide?

A Story of No Cities

John Lee Williams (1775-1856)
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

The Spanish tried to tame the wild Suwannee River Valley with a sequence of missions, however English raids compelled their desertion as if some curse stored civilization at bay. After the Struggle of 1812, Florida grew to become a US territory. As with every new territory, it wanted a capital. Tallahassee wasn’t the favored alternative, so a full-on search started to discover a extra appropriate location. Physician Simmons and John Lee Williams employed a ship to journey up the Suwannee to a possible location the nice physician had beforehand scouted.

The placement had the right mixture of land entry, navigable rivers, and contemporary water for a state capital. This location is eerily much like the ghost city of Columbus, the place the excessive highway crossed the Suwannee. The celebration repeatedly tried to search out the true mouth of the Suwannee River between all the tidal islands however had been compelled to surrender. By default, Tallahassee is now the state capital and the Timucuan homeland remained wild and free.

The Second Battle of the Lakes

Battle of Olustee
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

Finally, civilization discovered its approach to the banks of the Suwannee. Within the 1800’s the thriving metropolis of Columbus shaped the place river boats loaded their cargo into ready rail vehicles. In the course of the Civil Struggle, this was a main provide line for Florida beef to achieve Accomplice Troops.

On February 20, 1864, the battle for the river crossing at Columbus grew to become the impetus for the Battle of Olustee. It was the bloodiest battle in Florida in the course of the Civil Struggle. Practically 3000 casualties mounted within the ponds close to Baker County Florida. This isn’t so dissimilar from the Battle of the Ponds close to Stay Oak that triggered a lot devastation within the Indian neighborhood over 300 years prior. Was this Naptiuca’s curse rising up from the bloody swamps?

Suwannee And the Lincoln Assassination

Lewis Powell via Flickr
Photograph Credit score: Flickr.

Like De Soto centuries earlier, Lewis Powell assumed the alias of a pseudo-religious persona.  He referred to as himself Reverend Lewis Payne to cover in Washington DC. There, he conspired with John Wilkes Sales space to kidnap President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward to ransom in trade for Accomplice prisoners of conflict. After listening to a Lincoln speech on April 11, 1865, that spoke of giving blacks the suitable to vote, the enraged conspirator’s plans turned to homicide.

At 10:30 PM, April 14, 1865, Lewis Powell entered the residence of William Seward. He pointed a pistol at Seward’s son Frederick. When he pulled the set off, the gun misfired. An alarm was sounded and Powell was compelled to flee. Three days later he was apprehended and at 1:15 PM on July 7, 1865, he was hanged on the gallows on the Washington DC Arsenal.

A Full Gallow

Lewis Powell hanging
Photograph Credit score: Flickr.

There have been 4 conspirators hanged that day, Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. They had been hung facet by facet in a specifically constructed gallow by a 12’ lengthy rope. Powell suffered essentially the most in the course of the execution. His physique swung wildly for practically 5 minutes earlier than life drained from it.

Reverend Payne Lengthy Journey Dwelling

Lewis Powell skull via WikiCommons.
Photograph Credit: WikiCommons.

By 1869, President Johnson agreed to return their stays to the households. The stays of the our bodies had been returned, however Powell’s physique grew to become misplaced for a number of years and its remaining resting place stays a thriller. Some say in 1871 his household was lastly capable of find and return the now headless corpse to the household cemetery in Geneva Florida. Others declare that he stays buried in a mass grave within the Graceland Cemetery close to DC. What we do know for positive, is what occurred to his cranium.

In 1991, a Smithsonian researcher stumbled upon an misplaced cranium within the Native American assortment labeled – 2244 “P” – Felony executed by hanging. Forensic proof and investigation positively recognized it to be the stays of Lewis Powell – aka Reverend Payne. It was returned to Florida to be buried alongside his mom. Might or not it’s simply an incredible coincidence that it remained misplaced within the Indian archives for therefore lengthy?

Of Greed and Ghost Cities

Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

It wasn’t the invading Union troops that ultimately destroyed Columbus, however the competitors from an upstart city constructed simply throughout the river – Ellasville. Ellasville was the corporate city of Governor Drew, the primary Florida Governor following reconstruction after the Civil Struggle. Its namesake was the governor’s  lengthy employed black servant Ella. There’s a lengthy historical past of Southern “Gents” giving additional consideration to sure feminine servants. Generally this “consideration” was mutual, different occasions…. It’s unsure precisely what enthralled Governor Drew sufficient to call a city after Ella.

Ellasville was affluent however fortified with a powerful undercurrent of unseemly actions including wealth to the Drews’ pockets. The primary wave of staff within the sawmill got here from the Florida convict program. This is similar program that’s the namesake of close by Convict Springs. When the nice people realized of the egregious therapy of the convicts below this program, it was summarily shut down.

The Return to the Native

Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

It wasn’t merely the employment practices however relatively the unsustainable enterprise mannequin that drove Ellasville off the map. Of their greed, the Drew’s harvested extra bushes than was supportable. After the forests had been leveled, there was not a function for Ellasville. It languished by means of just a few fires and in the end left the map in 1942 when its submit workplace closed. As soon as once more, the Indian homeland was stored protected from industrial advances.

The primary tract of land in Suwannee River State Park was added in 1939 with many extra to observe. The formation of Suwannee River State Park and the close by Twin Rivers State Forest stored civilization off the banks of the Suwannee for good. Might this have lifted the 400-year-old curse?

Ted Bundy Involves the Suwannee

Ted Bundy via WikiCommons.
Photograph Credit score: WikiCommons.

Ted Bundy has been referred to as the very definition of heartless evil. He was good-looking, charming, and charismatic, very similar to a Spanish conquistador. He would use these traits to achieve the boldness of younger girls and lure them to their loss of life. He has been described as a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from one other human’s ache and from the management he had over his victims, to the purpose of loss of life, and even after. His wicked sample of kidnapping and homicide got here to an finish after he unwittingly entered Napitucan territory.

Ted was in a determined temper, evading the manhunt following the brutal Chi Omega murders in Tallahassee. He was determined for a kill, and in his starvation and desperation, he resorted to stalking younger ladies at a junior highschool. Ted hoped the downpour that fate-full day would assist conceal his searching. That is the place he discovered his final sufferer – Kimberly Leach.

Ted’s Final Kill

White rusty abandoned compact van. Unnecessary malfunctioning car junk truck abandoned on the side of the road
Photograph Credit score: Deposit Photographs.

Leach was solely 12 years outdated on the time and a pupil at Lake Metropolis Junior Excessive Faculty. She was paged from the workplace to return get her forgotten purse. Her classroom was not in the primary constructing so she set out into the rain to get it. That’s the place Ted Bundy discovered her. As he noticed younger Kimberly out within the rain, he referred to as out – “Hey you there”.

The phrases drew Kimberly nearer to the van, shut sufficient that he was capable of seize her and shove her into the passenger seat. As soon as contained in the van, he bashed her head into the dashboard till she was unconscious after which repeatedly raped her earlier than killing her. He dumped her physique in a pig farrowing shed simply outdoors of Suwannee River State Park.

The kidnapping and homicide of youngsters is eerily paying homage to Hernando De Soto’s actions in Florida. Miss Leach was Ted Bundy’s final sufferer. Ted was executed for her homicide within the Raiford electrical chair at 7:16 a.m. on January 24, 1989.

Historical past Set Proper?

Suwannee River State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

If the instigating occasion of the Suwannee River Hauntings was the kidnapping and homicide of Native American youngsters again in 1539, it will appear that Ted Bundy messed with the fallacious ghosts. Curiously, it was, the truth is, Leach’s homicide that in the end landed Ted Bundy within the electrical chair.

Did the ghosts of the Suwannee by some means play a component in by some means serving to to resolve this crime that occurred on their homeland?

Might Ted Bundy have bore the brunt of a long-standing vendetta that has now seemingly been eradicated?

Learn Extra From Coleman Concierge:

Suwannee River State Park
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

Suwannee River State Park in northern Florida sits on the limestone bluffs about midway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. It’s an ideal base camp for canoeing, climbing, or an in a single day cease for by means of paddling on the Suwannee River. Take a look at our information that can assist you to get essentially the most out of this stunning state park.

Suwannee River State Park: The Sensible Information

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Plaza de la Constitución
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

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Biking through Holland via Canva
Photograph Credit score: Canva.

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Faulkners painting- Hemingway's Bedroom
Photograph Credit score: Jenn Coleman.

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Our (Failed) Quest to Seize the Midnight Solar

Girl on Yllas Swing Under the Midnight Sun by Eetu Leikas
Photograph Credit score: Eetu Leikas.

“Images is the story I fail to place into phrases” – D Sparks. We spent three sleepless nights attempting to seize the midnight solar throughout a current journey to Finland. We felt good about our efforts till we noticed Eetu’s masterpiece of the primary Lapland sundown in 45 days. This story is a narrative of inspiration and humility for each aspiring photographer, the phrases we didn’t put into pictures.

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