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Behind Every Cloud is a Kindred Spirit (BECKS)I lost my grandfather when I was 17. I had a VERY difficult time getting over it. How could I still communicate with him? I loved him so much I didn't think I could live without him. I read everything I could get my hands on to do with the "afterlife" and that started it all...the love of Ghost Hunting and the Paranormal. I have been researching the paranormal for over 30 years!! It is my way of staying in touch with my grandfather. Being a Ghost Hunter is not always as exciting as it seems on TV. Many nights I have sat in the dark and not a thing happened. BUT it is those times you DO get that one voice, that one unexplainable picture or have an experience that sends chills down your back that makes it sooo worth it all!!! My purpose of this blog is not to make people believe in ghosts but maybe to open their minds just a little bit... I LOVE this crazy thing called Ghost Hunting. It is as much a part of me as breathing. I am just a girl that refuses to accept we can't still contact our loved ones after they die. My grandfather won't let me.

8/16/2017

EVER WALK ALONG A BEACH AND LOOK FOR SHELLS??? WELL WHAT IF YOU COULD WALK ALONG A BEACH AND LOOK FOR GRAVES????



Have you ever heard about bodies being buried on a beach???? I know!!!!!  Me neither!!!!  But guess what Key West have one.  We were on this little trolley that was taking us out to the Museum where Robert the Doll was and along the way we pasted this beautiful beach and the tour guide kinda said in a nonchalant way... and over there on that beach underneath the sand is several graves!!!!  WAIT!!!!!!!!! WAIT WHAT????????????? I'm like STOP this trolley!!!!!!!!!!   I have to check this out!!!!!!!!!  But as you can see from the pictures all we did was drive by.

Anyway, here is what I found out about this beach.  Also, here is a link that gives much more detail of  the cemetery and how it came to be and how it is today.

 http://www.academia.edu/4349925/Cemeteries_at_South_Beach_Key_West_Florida



There's nothing but sand there today, but 140 years ago, nearly 300 Africans were buried on what is now Higgs Beach, victims of slavery, the "cruel trade in human misery."
It was 1858, and U.S. warships had been ordered to enforce the anti-slave trade laws.

Five ships patrolled the Florida Straits, where slave merchants for the tobacco and sugar fields of Cuba and Puerto Rico maintained a vigorous commerce for human cargo with several African coastal states and principalities, including the king of the African state of Dahomey.
At least 3,119 African men, women and children headed for Cuban ports were intercepted by Navy ships in 1860 alone. Most were eventually returned to Liberia, a country peopled largely by recaptured Africans, said Tom Hambright, historian at the Monroe County Library.
But not all were returned to Africa.
In 1860, three slavers, as the ships were called, were captured with 1,400 Africans, who sang, cheered and clapped their hands when the Navy freed them and brought them to Key West.
While most would sail back to Africa 80 days later, 294 of them would not, never realizing that Key West, their new land of liberation, would be the last place they would ever see.
They all would die of typhoid fever and dysentery and lie buried, unnamed, in an unnamed cemetery that became a public beach.
The few historical references to the old burial ground have been gleaned by Gail Swanson, a 20-year resident of Grassy Key.
She gave a brief talk on the buried slaves Saturday as part of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and Key West Maritime Historical Society's first Florida Keys Maritime History Conference.
Her research as a writer of historical wrecks is what first sparked her interest into the wreck and capture of slave ships off the Keys.
She plans to ask the county, which owns Higgs Beach, to remember the sacrifice of the 294 buried Africans with an eight-foot polished black stone in the shape of Africa, shaded by a garden of African flowering trees.
The Wildfire was one of the clippers running slaves that ended up in Key West waters. Built in Philadelphia in 1855, it sailed from New York on Dec. 16, 1859, with an American crew, made a run to St. Thomas, then sailed for the Congo River, said a Boston Post article on May 15, 1860.
The captain of the USS Mohawk wrote a letter June 8, 1860, after capturing the Wildfire, and described what he saw:
"The Negroes are packed below in as dense a mass as it is possible for human beings to be crowded; the space allotted them being in general about four feet high between decks with little ventilation.
"These unfortunate people...pass their days, nights amidst the most horribly offensive odors of which the mind can conceive under the scorching heat of the tropical sun, without room enough for sleep; with scarcely space to die in. The passage to the West Indies varies from 40 to 60 day...and their sufferings are incredible."
As to what the people faced when they arrived in the Key West of 1860, a town of 3,000, Swanson provided a quote from the Congressional Globe:
"Both on account of a deficiency of water and provisions, and its exposure to the yellow fever, Key West is one of the worst spots for an African Negro depot, which could be found on the coast of the U.S."
A more stark realization of the ultimate ending for the 294 was discovered by Swanson at the Islamorada library.
A copy of a receipt dated Key West, Sept. 11, 1860 bears mute testimony.
The receipt was "for making coffins and burying 294 deceased African Negroes from the cargoes of the barques, Wildfire, William and Name Unknown by order of F.J. Moreno, U.S. marshal, at $5.50 each, for a total of $1,617 and signed by Daniel Davis."
George Born, archeological historian for the Historic Florida Keys Foundation, confirmed that the Higgs Beach site was also the original Key West Cemetery.
But after the 1846 hurricane washed it away (some bodies were found in trees), what did not get destroyed was moved to the present city cemetery.
Further confirmation of the location came from writer John Viele, of Cudjoe Key, who found a map of Key West, dated 1861, which shows a site labeled "African Cemetery" near where Higgs Beach is now.

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