If someone asked me to tell them two things that would describe Florida, I might have to say gators and pirates. I’ve lived in many places known for pirates, including the Bahamas, but Florida has a ton of them. Did you know that? I can’t imagine living in a state like Florida stuffed with pirates and not have an idea, but hey, there are things about our home states that we’ll never figure out that could blow our minds.
So it’s always good to check.
But, yeah. Florida. Pirates. A lot of them. To nab all the goods aboard Spanish vessels, pirates like Sir Francis Drake, Robert Searles, and the famed Florida Keys pirate, Blackbeard infested the waters, lying in wait and wreaking havoc.
Pretty much anywhere you can find water in Florida, you’ll find a pirate story I’ve found. But this is one I hadn’t heard before.
Our exploration takes place on beautiful Amelia Island, whose history stretches back over 400 years to the Timucuan tribe. Visitors to Amelia Island can learn all about the rich maritime history at the Amelia Island Museum of History. (Fort Clinch State Park also offers some educational material).
Another notable activity on Amelia Island is a visit to the Historic downtown of Fernandina Beach, where you can see all the original Victorian houses built during Amelia Island’s “Golden Age”, which lasted from 1870 to 1910, then known as the “Silk Stocking District”.
History is neat.
There is only one place I care about, though: the Amelia Island Museum, located at 233 S 3rd St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.
But why are we doubling back? Before it was the Amelia Island Museum, there stood the Nassau County Jail, believed to be haunted by the ghost of a famous pirate’s son.
What?? I love Florida.
Luc Simone Aury was the illegitimate son of a French privateer named Louis-Michael Aury. After a life at sea, Louis set up shop on Amelia Island after being given the role of “representative of the Mexican rebels” in the new Republic of Florida, making money in the slave and merchandise trade.
His son, Luc, was a known scumbag and serious criminal, being sentenced to hang once the law caught up with him. In a last act of defiance, Laury slit his throat in prison awaiting his hanging so no one could have the satisfaction of watching him die.
But Luc wouldn’t go down so easily, having a slap-dash surgery to ensure he’d stay alive so that he could be hung. As you might have guessed, his stitches burst, blood gushed, horror, mayhem.
The popular ghost story surrounding Luc says that one can hear him moaning near the old gallows, and was even seen by guests.
Fortunately for all of us, Amelia Island welcomes visitors, and if you want to learn more about the haunting, (or potentially see something for yourself, there are plenty of options.
You can explore alone, or potentially hire one of the many ghost tour companies on Amelia Island that will provide an in depth, immersive experience (I always recommend ghost walks!)
I am always willing to learn more about pirates, especially ghostly ones. My only question is: who’s coming with me?