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Haunted Historic District on Jekyll Island

By Andrea Marroquin, Jekyll Island Programming Coordinator

A night-time excursion of Jekyll Island ventures inside Dubignon Cottage for spine-tingling tales!

iStock_000008586242XSmallSheila Zynda, of Darien, GA, took Jekyll Island’s Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour last October and was enthusiastic.  “I think Jekyll Island is a fantastic place to come for ghost hunting,” she said.  “Besides the history, you might get to see something that you’re not expecting. “

Island visitors and staff alike have reported seeing unexplained orbs of light, smelling perfumes and cigars, hearing voices and laughter and Victrola music, experiencing cold spots, and sometimes even seeing spirits wearing period dress inside the shuttered buildings of the historic district.

In Zynda’s tour group, one woman captured an orb on her cell phone, while Zynda herself reported feeling a cold spot following her through a portion of the tour of Dubignon Cottage.  Others saw flickering lights in the empty buildings as the tour moved through the twilight under the moss-draped live oaks.

“It’s an experience that you might only get once in your lifetime,” Akins said with an enjoyable shiver.

These phenomena are by no means new.  Apparitions have been reported for many years throughout Jekyll Island’s 240-acre National Historic Landmark District.  Nearly every cottage has some deep mystery or restless soul associated with a grand love story, an untimely death, a great misadventure, or a little mischief.

Tour guides lean on their professional knowledge of the island’s past to interpret the supernatural happenings.  The Folklore, Rumor & Myth tour is peppered with stories of Jekyll Island’s historic characters in attempts to explain the reported sightings.

Guides note that different individuals have identified several spirits that have been encountered through comparisons with historical photographs.  Those that have been identified include William and Savannah Struthers, Eddie Gould, Jr., and Walter Jennings, as well as Peggy and Marian Maurice.  Others appear but remain nameless.

As the haunting mysteries multiplied over the years, Jekyll Island Museum staff began to collect the tales.  Annually, during the month of October, they share the unusual stories they have heard.  On the Folklore, Rumor and Myth Tour, guides usher guests to spots where apparitions have been sighted and unexplained events have occurred.  Guests are then led inside one of the historic district cottages for more spine-tingling stories as darkness falls.

Wes Gruenke, a museum guide, often brings his groups inside Dubignon Cottage, calling it “the most paranormally active house we’ve got.”  He notes that the Southern plantation home is the oldest house on the island, after Horton House.

To view a YouTube video preview of the tour, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/JekyllIslandMuseum .

The Folklore, Rumor & Myth Tour departs from the Jekyll Island Museum at 100 Stable Road on Friday nights, from October 2-31, 2009 at 7:00 pm.  Admission is $16.00 for Adults and $7.00 for Children 6-12.  The tour is recommended for ages 10 and above.  Reservations are requested.  For more information or for reservations, call 912-635-4036.

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