Last January, I visited Pine Island and the Randall Research Center with friends. The day was sunny -- perfect paradise weather in Florida. We got out of the car, talking and laughing until we neared the outdoor deck of the Research Center Building. Two of us stopped in our tracks. We felt a force emanating from the building. And believe me, the friend at my side is no ghost buster. He's a scientist who thinks ghosts are like Casper from the old cartoon. But he said.
"Wait a minute. There's something funny here."
I was the one who said, no, let's go in. And the feeling dissipated. We completely forgot until we again exited onto the deck and walked past a small room. It was said to be the former post office. My scientist buddy stopped again.
"We've been here before," he said.
"No," I responded. "But I think we're in the presence of a ghost."
He laughed and followed the rest of our crew out into the exhibit of Calusa Indian life. I lingered back and stood at the entrance to the little room. A sign said it was the former post office. Nothing hit me, so I stepped back and that's when I saw her. she was more than a shadow, less than a person in a red sweater and dark skirt. I heard a whimper and then silence.
That scurried me along, I'll tell you, but ever since I got back, I wondered. Has anyone else seen a ghost there? I've been writing two new books and experimenting with all sorts of publicity, most of it helping only a little, but it's work, so I forgot about my Pine Island ghost. I finished the second book in the Cotton Lee Penn/Max Mayfair series and got 3/4 of the way through the new series featuring the Lost Coin Detective Agency, when I found myself writing a scene on Pine Island and I remembered my ghost...
So I took a look on the Internet, and discovered that Make Shevlin of the Pine Island Eagle reported a similar incident from Dave Holmes. Right there, in that location, Dave heard a woman weeping and the shuffling of slippers! Could they be the same person, and what is her regret? There's a story that a young child drowned in a pond near there. Perhaps the weeping woman is the mother. Nobody knows for sure.