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STRANGE PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVENTS

This is a collection of Florida's strange people, places, and unusual events.


EXPLORING FOR FLORIDA'S LOST VOLCANO

For over a hundred years people reported seeing a strange smoke coming up from the Wakulla Swamp in Northwest, Florida. At times the eerie chimney of smoke was seen far out on the Gulf of Mexico. Some early seafarers used the smoke as a navigation marker when sailing into St.Marks. Tales and explanations emerged concerning the origin of the smoke, ranging from a pirates camp, moonshine still, a witches coven, to the possibility of a small fissure, or little volcano. People continued observing the weird smoke until the Charleston earthquake, in the late 1800s, after which the smoke hasn't been seen again. Over the years several attempts have been made to locate the source of the smoke. A few claim to have actually seen a small blackened crater atop a hill deep in the swamp. Others have brought back what appears to be molten rock. However, geologist have disagreed from the start that there ever was a Florida volcano. Although, an oil well company, drilling in the swamp, in the late 1940s, did bring up volcanic material. The Wakulla Swamp is a vast uninhabited subtropical forest, much of it is wet and mucky, with only a few rises called hammocks. Adding to the misery of the swamp are mosquitoes, alligators, and numerous species of snakes, including poisonous ones. Once a person visits the swamp it is easy to understand why no one wanted to venture to far into it, thus allowing the mysterious smoke to keep the secret of its origin. In October 1997, three UNX investigators went into the Wakulla Swamp looking for evidence of Florida's lost volcano. During the Fall of the year the vegetation dies back and makes the jungle a little more easier to navigate. The trip began by boat from the headwaters of the Wakulla River. The three men had obtained a hand-drawn map from a 74 year old Wakulla man who claimed to know the location of the crater. The man said that while hunting, during the 1930s, he had, "come up on rocks scattered all over an area of the swamp, which appeared to have been blown out of the ground."Another man claimed that his uncle had actually seen a,"crater the size of a wash tub that was burnt around the edges."The source of this information has been deceased for several years, therefore we were not able to interview him. The three UNX explorers went ashore near the intersection of two rivers and from that point hiked about two to three miles to a high ridge which seem to run through a hammock. The explorers found a high point, or hill, on this ridge, which was indeed scattered with rocks. Vegetation had grown over most of the rocks, however several were quite large and weighing an estimated hundred pounds. No explanation could be found for these rocks being thrown about the landscape. Searches for a fissure, crater, or hole, proved negative. However, a number of the smaller rocks did appear to have been burned, but not like molten lava. Was this place the site of Florida's lost volcano, or is the real site farther into the swamp? We don't know, and obviously no one else does either. Our researchers brought back eight rocks for examination, none are of volcanic origin, three definetly have been exposed to heat---But was it the heat of a volcano???Florida's Lost Volcano is still keeping its secret. UNX thanks Bill Myers, Todd Myers, and Jimmie Whitman for their exploration and report.


THE DEVIL'S CIRCLE
BLACK WATER SWAMP, LAKE COUNTY.
There is a tale, told by old timers, of a twenty foot diameter circle called "the Devil's Circle" deep in the Black Water Swamp, in Lake County, near where the Wekiva River meets the St. John's river. Reportedly nothing grows inside this circle, it has always been totally barren of plant life and is extremely dry of moisture, even after heavy rains. Folklore has it, that objects placed inside the circle overnight will vanish. UNX notes that such circular places exists in many states, Florida has several of these places, another in the Green Swamp, west of Orlando. The most publicized "circle" is in North Carolina, which has been mentioned in numerous publications on the unexplained. Almost all of these weird circles are dubbed "devils circles." UNX believes that certain abnormal soil conditions prevent flora from growing inside these areas, perhaps as a result of some kind of chemical reaction. Of course there are an endless number of theories about what causes these weird circles; including the possibility that they were landing sites of UFOs, and residual radiation has permanently altered the soil. Or they were places of pagan rituals. It is interesting to note, that most of the circles that we have studied, are nearly the same size in circumference. This would certainly support the bizarre theory of a UFO landing site. However, to be objective other possibilities must be considered. UNX has conducted soil sample tests from two such circles and found that, in both cases, there was a zero level of nitrogen in the samples and an extremely high level of sodium and iodine content when compared to the surrounding soil. This would affect the growth of plant life. Another observation made by UNX is that insects normally found in the same areas, i.e. ants, beetles, and etc, are seldom found within these circles. No ant hills, nor insect holes, have been noted within the perimeters of the circles. UNX has conducted overnight tests concerning objects disappearing from inside the circles. UNX did not find that this phenomenon is valid, objects that our researchers had left overnight inside the circles; were still there in the next morning. Only one test, involving a cardboard box and a bottle, was there any unexplained physical effect. This test was conducted at the Round Cypress Circle in Seminole County. In that test, both the box and bottle were dumped over and moved during the night. There were no animal or human footprints noted within the circle; however there had been a slight breeze during the night which could have explained the movement of the objects.
THE AMAZING MAGGIE BELL

This curious lady has been the subject in several local articles about Spiritualism, but the story originates not from paranormal research, but from genealogical research. Almost everybody has heard about the famous psychics and mediums, of the past; such as Edgar Cayce, the Fox Sisters, and many others; there are great amazing people which have simply been lost in paranormal history. The story of Maggie Bell is one such gifted person. According to census records, Maggie was born sometime in the 1880s, in Ireland. However, she spent most of her life in the small town of Lake Monroe, Fla, not far from the St.John's River in Seminole County. Today, Interstate 4 crosses where the little town once stood, bringing fast moving tourists into the theme parks of congested Orlando. In its heyday, the little town had a "BIG SECRET," at least to all outsiders. That secret was the amazing abilities of a strange pipe smoking, gypsy-looking lady, who wore a red headrag, she was Maggie Bell. Every evening, after the sun went down, residents would gather at Maggie's big ol' house for a seance. It has been told by old timers, who attended those strange gatherings, that Maggie caused apparitions to appear, sounds to come from the walls, that she often spoke in the voices of the deceased, she could cause tables and chairs to waltz around the her parlor to the amazement of her audience. She allowed everyone present to examine these activities with close scrutiny. Yet no one could ever prove trickery, and they swore that Maggie was for real. For many years she served as a visiting medium at the spiritual town of Cassadaga, Fla., where she conducted automatic writings, making chalk float up and scribble spiritual messages on a blackboard. But Maggie's greatest claim to fame, is that she may have proved the existence of the Spirit World. Prior to her death in the 1920s, Maggie promised the residents of the little town that she would return after her death, in a way that each person would know that it was her spirit, and prove that life goes on. All of her friends that she had made this promise to were treated to a visit from Maggie's ghost within two years following her death.Seven of those witnesses were interviewed by UNX, separately, and all gave similar accounts which can only be explained as Maggie Bell returning with evidence of life after death. Maggie Bell may have missed going into the history books about the paranormal, but her spirit certainly lives on in the Secret kept by the folks of Lake Monroe, Florida.


ATTENTION FLORIDA DRIVERS!
YOU MAY BE DRIVING OVER GRAVES OF THE DEAD!
Beneath the asphalt of Interstate-Four, in Seminole County at the south end of the St. John's River bridge, is a small family cemetery. This cemetery, under the eastbound lane of the highway, contains four graves of an early pioneer family who died from yellow fever. The State of Florida has refused to move, or place a marker at this site. What is more "haunting," is that according to officials with the Highway Department, this short section of the highway, has more accidents than any other section of the entire interstate!! Shall we say--its the revenge of the dead for disturbing their sacred resting place. But these are not the only graves beneath I-4, beneath the Altamonte Springs section of Interstate-Four, there is another small family cemetery. There should be no wonder at the misery experienced by motorists in traffic jams and accidents in these sections of I-4, and what is most bizarre--is that these things were predicted by old time residents before the Interstate was open. Drive with care---Care for the dead!
THE LITTLE HAUNTED ROCKING CHAIR
Here is something that you can go and see for yourself!
This little child's rocking chair has a legend of its own. Often called the "Litte Red Rocker", this 100 year old chair has been used by generations of children. It has a fascinating history, and probably ranks among the oldest pieces of Children's funiture from Central Florida's past. But the most bizarre tale about the little rocker, is that in the quiet of the night, it rocks on its own!!! The legend has it, that the ghost of a deceased child still rocks away in the chair. Research has documented two children who once used the chair, did die before the age of ten, both in the 1920s. Could the legend be true?? Who knows, but you can see this chair on exhibit at the MUSEUM OF SEMINOLE COUNTY HISTORY, off 17-92, south of Sanford, Florida. Admission is free, and there is a lot of amazing history at this museum.

STRANGE STUFF FALLING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE'S SKIES-- In September, 1978, ice cubes fell from the sky on a Lake Worth Residence. In February, 1958, a glittering glob of pulsating matter fell from the clouds over a Miami neighborhood, and landed in a man's backyard. There were numerous witnesses to the event, but the glob soon dissolved without leaving a trace of what it was. In May 1959, a frozen hen's egg fell from the sky over Orlando. On September 3, 1969, hundreds of golf balls rained down on a section of Punta Gorda. The most smelly of weird sky-falls, happened in September 1971, when thousands of fish fell on Port Richey. Unfortunately, there have been no reported cases of money raining from the heavens above Florida---of course if one might want to avoid the IRS, then it might be wise not to report any cash falls from the sky.

SPONTANEOUS HUMAN COMBUSTION Although rare, there are many cases, in both paranormal and scientific references, about people bursting into flames. Not so farfetched, when you consider all of the minerals, chemicals, and fats, contained in the human body. Ever try to put out a grease fire?, ever see the heat produced by phosphorous? Well-you get the idea, the body can burn up pretty fast and hot. But some of the most well documented cases of SHC happened in Florida. In Miami, there is the 1975 Ethal Cooks case, which reports her bursting into flames. Her body was totally consumed by high heat, but the surrounding areas were hardly touched by the fire, to include the chair that she was sitting in. Another similar case happened in Tampa in the early 1950s, the Mary Reeser case, it was investigation by everybody from the police to the fire marshall, yet no explanation could be found. But all SHC do not consume the entire body, one case in Jacksonville, involved a person who claimed that her arm started flaming and it was almost impossible to extinguish. That case ended up in an emergency room with severe burns. The next time you have a burning sensation don't reach for an anti-acid pill, better grab a fire-extinguisher.

TARPON SPRINGS RELIGIOUS ICON SHEDS TEARSThis strange incident actually happened twice, both times in December, just before Christmas, in 1969 and 1971. The Icon of St. Nicholas, in the St. Nicholas cathedral, cried real tears. This event was witnessed by hundreds and reported in newspapers and books. The incident was investigated by Church officials and scientific investigators, but remains an unexplainable phenomenon.

HUMAN BLOOD DRIPS FROM WALLS, {this is a real evil demon report}
In 1947, Human blood oozed from the walls in a Jacksonville, Florida, house. Shortly after the mysterious event, the house burned to the ground---but the only unburned part that remained, was the wall where the blood had dripped from. Tradition says that the house had once been used for voodoo practice many years before.

The OVIEDO LIGHTS
On Snow Hill Road near Oviedo and Chuluota, Florida, every local, and especially the kids, know about the Oviedo Light, also called the Chuluota Light. It the typical story of a ghost light, greenish hazy blob of light that rises up and fades away, except in some reports where it has been alleged to have chased people. UNX investigated this one with one of our contributing geologists and a biologist. Sorry to spoil the fun, but the eerie light is another swamp gas event, simply caused by decaying bio-mass releasing methane gas. This also accounts for why the strange lights are seen mostly in late Spring and thru the summer months. DRATS!Solving a mysterious phenomenon always takes the fun out of it. But visit our GUESTBOOK and read what others have to say about the weird and wonderful world of strange encounters & events, and let us hear about yours too!!!


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