Even the places we live can become extraordinary given enough time. After all, the longer humans live in a place, the more of themselves they imprint upon its streets and landscape. But if you want to explore the oldest in America, there’s only one place to go. It might be bright and sunny, but don’t let that fool you, because time has left a mark that can still be felt today, thanks to all the tragedies that have paid a visit. It seems that there’s one more rule that history wants us to remember: the older our cities get, the darker their shadows become.
A trip to St. Augustine, Florida, is on the itinerary in the latest episode of the Lore podcast. To no surprise, host Aaron Mahnke gravitates toward the darker side of town. He recounts tales of creepy cemeteries, ghost sightings galore, and one unnerving case of nearly premature burial. The narrative seamlessly weaves together local lore with St. Augustine’s daunting geography (its treacherous coastline) and bloody history (including the story of how Fort Matanzas–the Spanish word for “massacres”–earned its name). While there’s nothing earth-shattering about this episode, it nevertheless does a fine job of digging up the various skeletons (and that’s not just a metaphor here!) that have accrued over the years. With its emphasis on the past’s persistent impact on the present, “Long Shadows” clearly shines a light on the American Gothic.