Monday, February 15, 2016

Returning to Key West for One More Post!

I had the chance to go on a "Ghost" tour on my last night in Key West.   In short, they drive you around in an open-air bus with very hard wooden seats.  I need to put more weight on if I ride in that again.

They stop at various locations around the area and tell about people who died due to illness and murder (rarely just old age because that isn't very exciting).  One of the interesting stops was at the a fort used by the Union forces during the Civil War.  This is interesting because most of the area was Confederate territory!

After the war, this fort because a hospital.  The area experienced several yellow fever outbreaks.  In July of 1852, the "Eldorado" anchored 3 miles off shore with 300 passengers, 75 of whom were sick with cholera, yellow fever and/or chagres fever. The vessel was prohibited from docking.  So, the crew tossed the dead into the ocean. 

Later that year, the "Star of the West" was cut lose from its moorings after local authorities learned there were sick and dying on board.  Again, the dead were tossed overboard.

Now...on to the photo below.  Locals were hired as "hookers" to row into the ocean and "hook" the floating dead to prevent them from washing on shore.  They they rowed them out at least 7 miles before letting them go. 

As part of the tour, we were left alone inside the fort for a bit under the pretext that the guide had left something in the bus.  This gentlemen appeared behind us and told us about his job as a "hooker". 

I am pretty glad I didn't live there in the 1880's.  

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