When the Spanish Conquistadors discovered and named Marco Island 500 years ago, there was an energy visible to the old explorers that many believe still haunts the waters today. When Marco was only a crescent beach with a few rising Indian mounds, a mysterious light was often seen searching over the shoals, but many are wary that the energy remains and can still be found when the early nightfall gathers over the mangroves.
Science will explain that St. Elmo's fire is nothing more than an ionized field of charged electrons glowing like neon flames around an object pointed or sharp. Glowing as we have all been told like a ghost walking through a graveyard, but St. Elmo's fire is explainable – nothing more than a little science project – but nothing however that can ever be reproduced in a laboratory.
Long before the Spaniards came, a tribe of Caribbean Indians pushed north to find an island of refuge and a bountiful harvest from the sea, but they also found an energy loose on the land that still shines on autumn nights and lights a path on which no one should want to follow.
Albert Einstein once explained that energy can never be destroyed. It can only change from one form to another, or move on, and into another time or dimension.
When the long days of the topical summer pour down endless days of relentless sun, and the most violent thunderstorms on the planet, could the constant bombardment of sunlight and lighting be an energy that moves on and then gathers in another place? Could there be another explanation for a searching light over the water that was a lighthouse that never existed?
Just south of the southern-most region of Marco that was given the mystical name of Caxambas lies the ancient and underwater land known as The Cape Romano Shoals. Shipwreck shoals was the name the seasoned sailors called the shifting sandbars that have claimed too many ships to count, but the light that lured the old wooden vessels to their final harbor was labeled as a lighthouse on many of the old Spanish and French charts.
In the 18th century "Cape Romano," was the only label given for the southwestern bight of sand between Fort Myers and Key West, but the mariners of another time tell stories of a lighthouse perched on the shoal where no lighthouse was ever constructed.
Lighthouses and ghostly haunting seem to go hand in hand and when searching through archives for existing lighthouses it seems that most have at least one ghost story or a luminous phenomenon that is explained away as St. Elmo's fire.
Residual ghosts are the most likely energized specters for lighthouses as they are "repeating ghosts" and are often explained as former lighthouse keepers that continuously trudge up old the tower stairs to light the lamp that guides ships onward into the night and to safety – or in the case of a malevolent and lost lighthouse ghost – onward and into the shallow shoals of disaster.
Although there can never be proof that numerous sailors saw the beckoning beacon that was the lighthouse that never was, and that lighthouses have always been lonely outposts for the living and anchors for the ethereal, the nautical charts of old are clearly labeled with: "The lighthouse at Cape Romano."
With most experiments in science, there must be a formula or recipe with a variety of ingredients before a final result can be cooked up in caldron of the unexplained or unexplored, but a lighthouse that was charted and never was, might now be fully charged after a long hot summer of tropical sunshine and countless strikes of lightning.
Beware mariners and Islanders if you see a mysterious light searching over the shoals or a cold but fiery glow gathering over something sharp or pointed.
Happy Halloween Marco Island!