Fort DeSoto

Fort DeSoto Park, just outside of St. Petersburg Beach, Florida is another great place to visit for a trip back in time - to the Spanish-American War. This fort was constructed to guard the entrance to Tampa Bay, yet not a single shot was fired in defense in all the years the fort was manned.

During WWII, the island on which the fort sits, as well as a few others, were used by the US for bomb practice. Each time I visit, I get knocked back into the times when soldiers wore wool uniforms in the Florida sun, and fought a relentless enemy - the mosquito.

You can walk through the fort and on top of it. From the water, the fort appears to be a hill of sand with a few palm trees on it, but behind it are four mortars capable of sending a shell the weight of a Volkswagen over three miles!

There are lots of things to do at this park, hiking, biking, camping, fishing and swimming on what was named Florida's best beach of 2005.

There are tales of hauntings at this fort, and in the fort, one does get a strange feeling while walking through the dark, concrete rooms. Almost every time I visit, a distant thunderstorm adds random "booms" to the quiet sounds of birds and waves - like distant explosions from a battle that never happened.

I don't believe in ghosts, but I have to admit one rather chilling thing did happen at the Fort in 1995. I was walking with my wife along the outside of the fort, right next to the entrances to the various rooms when we heard the muffled conversations of a crowd of people coming from inside one of the rooms. We decided to peek in to see what was going on inside. A chill ran down our spines when we discovered we were the only two people within hundreds of yards of the fort. It wasn't until a few years later that we read about the supernatural activity at the fort. Somehow I'm a believer in supernatural activity at Fort DeSoto, somehow a sound of a crowd reverberated in the fort...but ghosts - no such thing!

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