The place gets a little more weird when The Ghost Child appears.
Visiting old-time Florida attractions is one of my favorite activities. Coral Castle has all the trappings of a classic Florida tourist stop. It’s quirky, it has an interesting and mysterious back-story and it’s in a strange location. That’s the trifecta of vintage Sunshine State adventuring. The boys in the house had never heard of the place. Once I mentioned it, it became an automatic must-do trip.
Ed Leedskalnin’s story has fascinated me for years because I am a sucker for conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries. His ability to single-handedly create such a structure, the theories behind how he was able to do so, speculations as to why it was constructed and the use of a stone of “unknown origin” are all together a recipe for Sawyer intrigue. Aside from all that, it is just a pretty place. The stony edifice, surrounded by tropical vegetation and crawling with African lizards gives a somewhat otherworldly feeling.
From the beginning of the tour, I could tell this trip was going to have an extra bit of bizarre added in. As I walked through the turnstile and towards the tour guide, I saw something strange moving against the dark, craggy castle walls. Pale in color, could it be a ghost? Upon closer look, I realized it was something much more terrifying, it was a little towhead boy. (Secret: they scare the hell out of me. Probably some Village of the Damned association on my end.)
The boy might as well have been a ghost as the rest of his party was not interacting with him and he was trying his hardest to get attention from someone, anyone. Even though he was being slightly obnoxious, I felt for him. I’m pretty intuitive and have a fairly good track record of understanding kids, so I had an idea as to why he was acting out. It was difficult for me to not be sidetracked by his antics, in fact, I was a little embarrassed. He climbed on anything he could despite the signs saying not to and yelled “Look at me” and “I’m the king” throughout the tour.
After the tour was over, I noticed he was sort of hovering around us. I couldn’t see his party, so I tried to keep an eye on him. Gradually he came closer and started asking questions and I was happy to answer. It was clear he just wanted someone to show some interest and care. I thought he would eventually wander off, but he stuck with us, even chiming in with input on our discussion on the why’s and how’s of the place. Then my heart kind of broke a bit. While we were taking photos, he asked if I could take one of him. He was so excited to feel like a part of a group that I couldn’t say no. Shortly after that, he was reunited with his party.
Since I started working with kids while I was in college, I have felt the need to help as many as possible. I wanted every child that walked through my classroom door to feel valued and respected. Yes, I wished I could do more, but I gave all I could. This trip brought me back to that place. I may not be able to make that one kid’s life altogether better, but I was able to make it better for a few moments…an added bonus of an already fabulous trip.