“I ain’t afraid of no ghost,” to quote an old movie favorite, and that’s exactly what I kept repeating to myself over and over again on my way to an authentic paranormal investigation inside the Mount Dora History Museum with the Florida Ghost Chasers! Not really knowing what to expect, I can honestly say I was a little nervous about what may be lurking in the shadows of the museum which just happens to be also home to the Mount Dora Ghost Walk. For quite some time now, it is believed that the Mount Dora History Museum is actually haunted by spirits who lived during the last 100 years. And tonight, with the help of the Florida Ghost Chasers, a team of paranormal investigators from St. Augustine, Florida [Of course – a city famous for its ghostly heritage], we are going to uncover and expose these ghastly ghouls for who they are! Do you believe in ghosts? Well, you just may by the end of this story. Boo!
Before I share tales of ghostly encounters and spectral apparitions, you need to understand a brief history about the Mount Dora History Museum and its occupants from this world and the next. Completed in 1923, the building was intended to serve as Mount Dora’s firehouse when soon thereafter, it became necessary to add a police station and jail cells to accommodate the occasional drunk or two. For nearly 20 years, the building operated as both firehouse and police station until 1941 when a new firehouse opened in town. With fire truck and firefighters in their new home, there was room for expansion and so more cells were constructed and the newly-expanded police station remained in operation until in 1969. After the police vacated the building, it sat empty until 1977 when the Mount Dora Historical Society, founded in 1957, requested to turn the building into the town museum. One year later, it opened and the rest, as they say, is history!
Just who are these haunts? Well, it is believed that they are inmates, firefighters, police, and jailers who frequent the museum “after hours.” Actually, one is believed to be the notorious moonshiner Calvin Calhoun who died in the cell at the back right inside the museum. He was poisoned with a mixture of corn syrup and strychnine by three brothers who sought vengeance for their mother’s death. The brothers believed their mother died after drinking Calvin’s hootch which was sometimes made with rodent entrails to “cool” the moonshine and distilled in car radiators. After Calvin learned of the brothers’ vengeful plot, he sought protection in the jail and it was during his second night that the three brothers poured their poisonous mixture through the window and into Calvin’s mouth as he slept.