During the early 1940s, a majority of the world’s commerce took place by way of ships. Florida’s Atlantic coastline was vast and mostly uninhabited. Sailors who survived unfortunate shipwrecks would swim to Florida’s shore, in need of food and shelter.
The Sailors Haven in Stuart
Places such as Stuart began to build facilities known as refuge homes. These buildings were a place to temporarily house said sailors who managed to make it to land. Stuart’s house of refuge was located at a facility known as Gilbert’s Bar. Gilbert’s Bar was built in 1876 and became a house of refuge not long after.
The facility remained as a service home until 1945. Today, Gilbert’s Bar is a historical landmark and museum. Many rumors have begun to spread that the house is now home to very strange paranormal activity. Some have heard that the sounds and smells of cooking still emanate from the now abandoned kitchen. Still others have heard that objects that once belonged to sailors would appear and disappear in a manner of moments. Of course, only a few residents of Stuart may have heard about these events.
“All I wanted to do was learn more about the sailors who took shelter at Gilbert’s,” he informed us. “I begin training for the U.S. Navy in four months, and I wanted to check out the last of the houses of refuge while I had the chance. The tour itself was quite enjoyable.
“Many sailors were rescued from the Atlantic and given a fresh start in the house, which is incredibly inspiring. The only thing that struck me as odd was the kitchen."
Encounter with the Masked Spirit
“I remember feeling random spots of cold air as I walked about the room. Of course, I had just assumed it was a hard working, modern A/C unit during the moment,” he smiled faintly. “When the tour ended, I asked if I could go through the rooms one more time.
“As I entered the kitchen, I caught a whiff of something on the air. Something edible and delicious—it was quite strange. I went around each counter, looking for the source of the smell…
“When I heard a scuffling noise behind me, I turned and saw the strangest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on,” he murmured. “It was a man—or I think it was a man—dressed in a tunic made completely of animal fur.
“He wore woven leggings and gloves on his hands. But the strangest part was the mask he held in front of his face. The mask had an exaggerated, downturned mouth that almost looked cartoonish….if it hadn’t of been so creepy.
“The mask had a rather normal looking nose, but two simple dots for eyes. And on spokes made of bone, these objects were glued all around the mask, hands, fish and spikes. The mask, the entire presence of the man, creeped me out, but I figured it was just a museum of the employee who was meant to act as part of the display,” Aaron shrugged.
“But when I found my tour guide and mentioned the man, she told me she was the only staff member there. She told me about the Indians who used to live on the land some eight centuries prior…
"It was in that moment I knew something very strange was going on. I didn't want to stick around to find out what it was, because I already had a pretty good idea. I didn't necessarily feel like I was in any extreme danger if I stayed, but I didn't feel safe, either."