The purgatorial train shrieks and rumbles down the tracks by night, rocking side to side, whistle screaming on its journey through the dark abyss of eternity. Packed inside are souls whose trip with this train has no end in sight . . . souls of those who died tragically on the tracks of the Florida East Coast Railroad. Its endless journey through endless time is their punishment for stupidity . . . or was it suicide?
So goes the introduction to the Ghost Train along Fort Lauderdale's original railroad line, and its tie to its dark past. The tale of this train has been told several times on the History Channel. It is but one of many tales related by the Ghost Tour Guides of the Ghosts, Mysteries & Legends tour of Old Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale's premier ghost tour.
Ghosts, Mysteries and Legends of Fort Lauderdale meets at the northeast corner of Las Olas and Andrews under the sign of the very modern Museum of Art, in the heart of the city's restaurant and entertainment district, minutes away from the beach and the downtown and airport business hotels.
With cape, gaucho hat and lamp in hand, Ghost Guides wander off into the night and introduce visitors and locals to Fort Lauderdale's "other night life" as they walk along the banks of the New River in the city's historic district.
But Ghosts, Mysteries and Legends is more than just a ghost tour, as Christian Rieger, its managing director tells, "There are more than just ghosts of the dead out there. We introduce our clients to the ‘world of spirits." Some are spirits locked in time, some are visitors from other time zones, other times, other dimensions and other places on our physical plane. Then there are the nature spirits, the angelic host and guardian angels — all figure into the civilization and culture of the "other side of the veil." And all watching us. There is no privacy. So get over it. We talk pretty much about the whole pack."
Fort Lauderdale has two para-normal power aspects which makes it important in its revelations of what is going on in the non-material world. One is the energy that runs down the New River from the Everglades (hoary with antiquity, perhaps three ice ages old). The other is Fort Lauderdale is at the western point of the Bermuda Triangle. The lowest gravitational point on the planet is over its southern point at the Puerto Rican Trench, the deepest hole in the Atlantic Ocean.
A group of Danish scientists who have made it their life's study, have discovered that the magnetic field of the planet has declined 1 3/4 % in the last twenty years, while in the Bermuda Triangle it has declined by 20%. Mr. Rieger postulates, "We believe that these two important energy aspects contribute significantly to some of the paranormal events that have happened, and people have gotten digital photos of, on our tours."
Orbs indicate the presence of, or are supposed to be, ghosts. People using their digital cameras on ghost tours everywhere else when they photograph orbs, are content to get what looks like large or small, shiny, bright, translucent ping-pong balls. But here in Fort Lauderdale the guides and the patrons frequently get faces in orbs. One night a man looked at one such very evil-looking wol- face from the depths of hell, and said, "I wished I never saw that."
"One photograph" adds Rieger, "is of an orb perhaps 10 or 12 feet over the roof of an old hotel. When magnified three times, it show an image of a phantom flying through the air within it. If orbs are supposed to be ghosts, this was proof. As far as Ghosts, Mysteries and Legends knows, no one has taken such a photo elsewhere. We also have a photo of an orb with a square-rigged ship in it, and another of a one-room school house. Both images are connected to the history of Fort Lauderdale and have apparently shown up in the "memory of nature" as recorded by the cameras."
"We have also photographed the activity of nature spirits," says Rieger. "Nature spirits are the entities that mystical tradition tells us causes the grass to grow, the flowers to be aromatic and the winds to blow. Frequently, at the beginning of rain storms, photographs will show hundreds of orbs. These will not be seen several minutes later."
Classic ghost tails include the strange carrying-ons of the Women in the White Wedding Dress, the Mystery of the Wandering Left Hand, Shirttail Charlie, and the Drunk at the Bar.
"It is great family entertainment," says Rieger, "something for the family besides watch television in the hotel room. It also works great for local families, because ghost tours are a clever way to introduce local history to children - a way of making history interesting and easy to listen to. And be sure to bring your digital camera." Photographs taken by guests along the tour are at their website, Their MySpace website includes excerpts from a video recorded by PBS Channel 2 in Miami, Florida
By: Olga Marie
Olga Marie Pathinas-Brovanovitch, born in Moscow, U.S.S.R. in 1954 to two members of the Communist Party, was trained in espionage in a training town in the Urals, where she learned Arabic, French, Polish and English with natural accents. She has written articles, using nom de plumes, on Chinese international relations, the central banks and how capitalism does not take care of itself.