Old Fort Pierce Park is the site of an Ais Indian burial mound that predates Columbus by several hundred years. The location later became an Army fort used during the Second Seminole War (1838-1842). During the Seminole War, it was commanded by Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce, brother to President Franklin Pierce. It is also believed that it is the location of a Spanish settlement, mission and military outpost dating back to 1567.
For a long while the Fort has been neglected. Not even a historical marker to honor the long extinct tribe or the soldiers that were later stationed there. The burial mounds concrete steps and dense undergrowth combined with poor lighting had turned the Old Fort Park into something of a “Lover’s Lane”. Our group has made several investigations at the site with promising results, but when we were there several months ago to film a school history project for my daughter, it appeared that one of the local gangs had been there and “tagged” the trees and steps.
We had decided to scratch it off our list due to safety concerns. No investigation is worth risking one of our investigators becoming a ghost themselves. However, several weeks ago the city came through and completely cleaned out the dense foliage on the indian mound. I’m not sure of their reasoning, whether it was because of the gang activity or to honor the requirements of being a National Historic Site. Either way, it is sad to see these 100 year old trees cut down, but it may return the park to a place that is safe to visit and investigate.
Steps to the top of the mound in May 2008.
Indian Mound late 1890′s
Looking up the mound today
Ancient oyster shells and other debris from midden mounds laying on the ground around the entire park site.
I thought I would share this entertaining little story with you…
My family and I recently rented a house located in downtown Fort Pierce. The house itself was rather unremarkable; it had been a rental for some time and despite being updated after the hurricanes of 2004, had fallen into a near state of disrepair. Built in 1901, sadly, the old girl was starting to show her age. My wife and I took one look at the hardwood floors and the Mediterranean Revival architecture and knew it was for us. No matter the faults, the house had character and history that new houses just can’t match. We quickly signed the lease and started moving our stuff.
Shortly after the grueling process of moving finally ended, I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of music, very faint and seemingly distant. I didn’t really give it to much thought because there are several restaurants and bars in the downtown area and I simply assumed the music was coming from one of those local watering holes. A week or two later, I was awakened again to the music playing. This time I was more awake- it was close to 1:30 am. Annoyed because I had to work the next morning, I was sure the music was a bit louder this time but it still wasn’t distinct enough for me to figure out what it was. Again, I chalked it up to one of the pubs or a rude neighbor and tried to get back to sleep.
It was a couple weeks later that the music started again, and this time I recognized the tune. In the middle of a still night, I could distinctly hear World War II era big band music. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind about it this time; in fact the song was “In the Mood” by Glenn Miller. With the music so loud I could recognize it, I passed annoyed and went right to angry. It was 3:00 am, I had to get up early and none of the bars were open. I assumed that one of my kids had fallen a sleep with the TV or radio on, so I climbed out of bed, wandering around the house searching for the source of music. I was startled to find that no TVs, no radios were playing. Now I was certain that the culprit behind the music must be one of my neighbors, possibly taking a trip down memory lane after a few adult beverages.
So now its 3:20 am and I am wandering around the neighborhood searching for the source, probably looking like a complete madman as I tried to locate the ‘swing’ sound up and down the block. Oddly, I couldn’t even hear the music outside. Somewhat confused, I made my way home, and you can probably guess that as soon as I got back inside the house, I heard the music. Baffled, I gave up and made my way back to bed, but sleep was hard to come by. The music really wasn’t a problem, but my brain was running through all kinds of weird atmospheric oddities that might cause the sound to be bouncing off buildings.
A few days later the music woke me up just before 2:00 am. I practically jumped out of bed and started searching again- this time I would figure it out! Inside, outside and up and down the street. No music anywhere but inside the house. I went from room to room and figured out that the sound was loudest in the master bedroom; outside the master bedroom, no sound. By this time, I was starting to suspect maybe something was at work other than a unattended radio.
At this point, it might help to understand a little history of Fort Pierce. During WWII, Fort Pierce was the home base for the US Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT), groups of men who were the predecessors of the modern SEALs. The UDT were training on our beaches for the D-Day Invasion, charged with clearing the landing beaches of obstacles so the landing craft could deliver their human cargo. Many of the private homes in town housed officers that did not stay on the base, which was located just across the bridge from this house, or hosted social events for the soldiers.
I don’t know of any specific casualty counts based on the units that trained in Fort Pierce, but since they were some of the first Americans on Utah and Omaha beaches I have to assume they suffered significant casualties. As you can imagine, I spent the next hour or so lying in bed and wondering about those men in the UDT before finally drifting off to sleep again.
It was about a month before I heard it again. Clearly, plainly—no doubt. I lay in bed actually bouncing my foot to the sound of Glenn Miller and I knew for sure that something was going on. We hadn’t had any other incidents while we lived in the house; no knocking or banging, no strange shadows or feelings of being watched. In fact, the house felt very much like home from the first day we moved in.
The latest incident was the one that decided to tell my wife about the music. As I was relaying the story, she got a strange look on her face and said she had a dream, “that we were at a party and they were playing big band music”. After a rather interesting discussion, we decided not to do an in-depth investigation because we didn’t want our kids to start thinking of the house as “active”. We did decide that I would keep a DVR next to the bed from that point on so I could turn it on the next time I was awakened.
Unfortunately, before the music came again the landlord was served foreclosure papers from the bank and we found ourselves packing while looking for a new place to rent. I didn’t hear the music for over a month. The last time I woke up was the second to last night in the house, but we had already packed and moved most of our belongings including our DVR, cameras and EMF Meter.
By the time we moved, I had heard the music about a half dozen times. Always between 1:00 and 3:00 am. It makes me sad to think of the probable fate of the little house. The last time I was in the house, I quietly said “Goodbye” to the house and anyone who might still like to listen to Glenn Miller late at night.