Weird Florida


Vince and I were awakened in the middle of the night by a terrible noise. It sounded to me like some kind of fight was going on just outside our bedroom window, but Vince was convinced that one of the Imps or the World Traveler was being sick in another part of the house.

We both tumbled out of bed, fumbled our eyeglasses onto our ears and noses and discovered that all was quiet inside the house, save Imp 2’s nightly nasal serenade. The unearthly noise came again, this time clearly from outside the house.

It sounded to me like a wolverine. Thanks to Marlin Perkins, the charming host of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, which I watched religiously as a child, I have a visceral fear of these creatures, despite Mr. Perkin’s assurance that they do not live very much south of the Great Lakes. If I hear weird noises in the night that are definitely not cat-like, I know for sure that it is a stray wolverine.

Marlin Perkins

The late, great Marlin Perkins

Vince considered opening the door to the lanai to get a better look in the direction of the noise, but common sense prevailed. We all know what happens in the horror film when the guy goes outside or into the dark cellar to investigate…


From behind the safety of locked windows we peered into the inky black of 4 am.  and saw nothing. After a while the eerie sounds faded and we went back to bed.

Believe it or not, Haines City, where we are staying, is the UFO sighting capital of Florida, possibly of the entire United States. Just a stone’s throw away, in Lake Wales, there is a “Spook Hill”, there’s a big stretch of highway through marshland called “Old Polk City Road”, and a colossus of a Wal*Mart, which takes on the glamour of Mos Eisley’s Cantina after 10 pm., right in our own back yard. We fondly refer to our Wal*Mart as “Area 51”.


Spook Hill is interesting. It is one of those hills where, supposedly, if you put your car in neutral at the bottom of the hill, your car will roll up the hill. You can find them in various places scattered around the US. The one in Lambertville (See Weird NJ) is called “Gravity Hill”, a far less picturesque moniker, if you ask me. Spook Hill in Lake Wales is allegedly the site of a titanic battle between an un-named Seminole chief and an alligator of mythical proportions. What this has to do with getting a car to roll backwards up a hill is anyone’s guess, but that’s the legend. Dear readers, we tried it. Ok. So it was in the middle of a hot, sunny afternoon, there were no mind-altering substances involved and we had our chief sceptic, Joe College in the car. We noticed no paranormal phenomena and left unimpressed and slightly jaded.

Shiver -  Vanishing Hitchhiker

On the first leg of last week’s journey north to Bucks County, we decided to take a stretch of Old Polk City Road on up to I-95. Nestled between lush marshland to the left and right, if any place in Florida would be haunted, I’d have my money on Old Polk City Road. Although it was a glorious Florida morning, there was a curious fog wafting over the highway and a mysterious hitchhiker would not have been out of place. Unfortunately, no hitchhiker appeared to us out of the enveloping mist and we eventually hooked up with 95 without incident.

images (1)

The Wal*Mart, on the other hand, never disappoints. Any day, any time of the day you choose to visit the Wal*Mart, you will be treated to strange and wonderous sights of humanity, some of this planet, some from  possibly beyond. Just as with the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”, midnight is the prime time to go to the Wal*Mart. Why anyone would need to run out to the Wal*Mart for 5 gallon-sized jugs of questionably produced chocolate milk (and nothing else in the shopping cart) at 12 am.  is beyond me. Enquiring minds want to know. In retrospect, I’m thinking alien life forms  with a serious jones for chocolate milk may have landed in the marshes off Old Polk City Road and are walking among us.

Here on Cocoa Beach, the “Space Coast”, with the great gantry of Cape Canaveral in view just beyond “Marlin’s on the Pier”, my mind starts to wander back to the events of last night. The creature may have not been, probably was not, the dreaded wolverine. It may have been a raccoon, opossum or even an armadillo. Do these animals bark? The World Traveler, who has traveled extensively in South America, is of the opinion that we were visited by the Central Florida version of the chupacabra. Imp 2 prefers to think the Jersey Devil may have hitched a ride south with us. In any case I am double checking the doors tonight and looking under my bed at lest 3 times.


If we hear the noise again tonight, nobody is going outside to investigate. The truth may be out there, but frankly, I’d rather not let it indoors.


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