What goes bump in the night in Cedar Key?
By R. L. “Doc” Gardner
“At low tide, along the sandy beaches of Seahorse Key, many sailors and fishermen have seen a headless figure astride a pale Palomino, keeping faithful patrol on a moonlit night.” – Debra Lyon-Dye
Most American cities with a history spanning several centuries have their share of legends and ghost stories. Cedar Key is no exception with a wealth of ghost stories and reported hauntings documented in many books and articles over the past century as well as passed down by residents over the generations. A collection of ghost and spirit stories was organized into a book and walking tour by Cedar Key resident Debra Lyon-Dye. She started the original Cedar Key Historic Spirit Tours in 2012 that were conducted both on foot and in golf carts. In 2016, the tour and spirit stories were published in a book titled Cedar Key Spirit Tour – A Walk Through History by Debra Lyon-Dye. Visitors may purchase a copy of the book at the Cedar Key Historical Society Museum located at the corner of Second and D Streets in Cedar Key.
The guided Cedar Key Spirit Tour recently has been revived by Cedar Key Resident Joe Catalano, who takes spirit hunters on a ride in a ghostly golf cart adorned with human-like skulls. With 15 years of historic re-enactment experience as well as having served as an educator and volunteer at the Castillio de San Marcos in St Augustine, Catalano possesses a wealth of historic knowledge about Florida’s maritime history and coastal settlements.
Based on the book by Debra Lyon-Dye, as well as four months of extensive research by Joe, the Cedar Key Spirit Tour prides itself on being both historically accurate and extremely entertaining. According to Catalano, members of the Historic Society as well as Cedar Key locals have reviewed the tour’s itinerary, and they all agree that it is a well-developed program. The Cedar Key Spirit Tour has garnered nothing but 5-star reviews on the corresponding Facebook Page “Cedar Key Ghost Tours”, where those who have taken the tour have posted photos depicting eerie anomalies captured through the lens of their cameras.
Tours are available at 7 p.m., 9 p.m., and 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, as well as at other days and times by appointment. The 11pm tour is a Ghost Hunt. Electromagnetic Field Meters are provided and Joe takes the group on a proactive search for hauntings on the island. Setting out for adventure, the ghostly-adorned golf cart meanders its way through the streets of Cedar Key stopping at various locations where Joe regales the group with tales of hauntings interspersed with historical facts, island lore, and information about the community of Cedar Key.
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, the Cedar Key Spirit Tours is a great way to discover the island paradise, get to know the community, and develop some ideas for activities while visiting with your family and friends. More information on the Cedar Key Spirit Tours may be obtained by contacting Joe Catalano at 904-718-1574 or Joe@BardProductionsLLC.com. You may also want to visit the official Tour Facebook Page “Cedar Key Ghost Tours”.