Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Is the House of Refuge haunted?


OOOOOOOO!  Have you been to the Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge on South Hutchinson Island in Martin County?  If so, did you smell beef stew cooking even though the kitchen has been inoperable since the 1940s?  Halloween is upon us.  OOOOOOOO!  Time to focus on one of the haunted places on the Treasure Coast.  The House of Refuge, now a museum open to the public, was one of 10 shelters built after the Civil War for sailors whose ships were wrecked along Florida’s treacherous Atlantic Coast.  Each shelter was occupied by a keeper and his family.  They walked the beach after a storm, looking for shipwreck survivors.  Gilbert’s Bar – or sandbar -- is named for Don Pedro Gilbert, a notorious Colombia pirate who prowled these waters in the early 1800s.  He was ultimately convicted and hanged in Boston.  I have not heard that Don Pedro haunts the House of Refuge.  But maybe others do.   Visitors have sworn they smelled beef stew cooking and felt the presence of invisible residents.  Maybe Ais Indians who lived on this land hundreds of years ago, or maybe fatally injured victims of a shipwreck who died in bed here, or maybe a keeper and his family who wanted to come back.   OOOOOO!  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.