Sunday, February 8, 2015

Castillo de San Marcos’ Missing Lovers

The fortress.
The Spaniards built a sturdy fortress, Castillo de San Marcos in 1695 to defend St. Augustine’s coastline from marauding English pirates.

This fortress weathered 15 sieges including one in 1702 where the British burned St. Augustine down. They then attacked the fortress for fifty days but did not take it.

In 1763, with the Treaty of Paris, the fortress was given to the English who changed its name to Fort Saint Mark but just twenty years later it was given back to Spain because the 1783 Treaty of Paris recognized the now independent United States.

The fort remained in Spanish hands until 1821 when Spain ceded Florida to the United States for a dollar. Now the Americans renamed the fort, Fort Marion after the Revolutionary War hero, General Marion.

Today, this old fortress is a National Monument maintained by the National Park Service. In 1942, its original name, Castillo de San Marcos was restored.

Castillo de San Marcos
The Missing Lovers

In July of 1784, after the English gave the fortress back to the Spanish, a new commander, Colonel Garcia Marti brought his pretty young wife, Dolores to start their new life.

It was said this was an arranged marriage and that the Colonel was much older than his bride.

Marti was a busy man, with a dour, humorless personality who neglected his wife. Dolores, in contrast, was well liked and quickly made friends at the fortress and in St. Augustine.

It wasn’t long before Dolores took notice of her husband’s tall assistant. Captain Manuel Abela was a handsome, charming man who befriended Dolores at their first meeting.

The two fell in love, and despite the risk started an adulterous affair.

One day as Colonel Marti listened to Captain Abela give his report he noticed the front of his subordinate’s uniform reeked of feminine perfume. It was the scent his wife always wore.

Shortly afterward both Manuel and Dolores disappeared.

The Captain’s men noticed he did not show up for the daily call. When they questioned his absence, they were told he had been given a special assignment in Cuba.

At a dinner party, the Colonel was questioned about his wife’s absence. He sadly informed her friends that his wife had returned to Spain because St. Augustine’s climate had been detrimental to her health.

The guests wondered at his explanation for Dolores had always appeared in the best of health when they had seen her.

When the Captain never returned, it caused a stir among his men, but no one ever dared question the commander’s story.

The Discovery

It wasn’t until almost 50 years later, in 1833, when a curious American officer, Lieutenant Tuttle was studying the architecture of the dungeon at the fortress that he noticed a hollow sound on one wall.

When he removed a brick a rush of air hit his face. He proceeded to take down a false wall and discovered a hidden room. He spotted two skeletons that were chained to the back wall.
The area where two skeletons were found.
It was later found that one was male and one was female.

It is believed that Colonel Marti had Captain Abela, and Dolores chained and entombed here to end their lives.

Since this discovery, a strong aroma of perfume has been noticed in the dungeon. Bright streaking lights are seen near this room as well as cold spots being felt. Several EVP’s have also been captured in this area--one by the Ghost Adventure's crew.

1 comment:

Tell All Girl said...

I actually just went and visited this place, dubbed "The Lovers Room" by the locals. It's a bit warm and cramped, but it's definitely worth a visit for history junkies. It's pretty creepy in there, too...