Spirits don't take vacations. At least that's
what Bonnie LeTourneau thinks.
Although the May-Stringer Heritage Museum has
been closed for the past month for its annual
cleaning and maintenance, the woman who hosts
the celebrated ghost tours at the museum says
things inside the Victorian mansion remain as
spooky as ever.
don't think it's possible to chase away the
spirits that reside there," LeTourneau said.
"They've been there too long."
a weekend volunteer guide, LeTourneau leads
groups of visitors in search of the many
mysteries that surround the four-story, 12-room
museum. Legend has it that the 151-year-old
house, originally built by Brooksville pioneer
John May, is inhabited by the spirits of
long-deceased family members, including May's
3-year-old daughter, Jessie.
All of which, in the minds of LeTourneau and
others, explains some of the strange occurrences
that go on there. In addition to numerous odd
noises, museum staffers have reported
encountering images of people moving through
darkened hallways, cold spots and mists that
suddenly appear in areas of the house, and
glowing orbs of light that hover over the
house's tin roof.
LeTourneau said her own encounters with these
"entities" have been fairly frequent. She has
often heard footsteps coming from the upper
floors of the house and has felt the touch of
something or someone on her shoulder when no one
else is around. And then there's the soft wail
of a small child that LeTourneau and many others
believe belongs to Jessie May.
"It sent shivers down my spine the first time I
heard it," LeTourneau said. "It was very
LeTourneau admits she was a skeptic when she
first set foot inside the door of the house near
downtown Brooksville 3 1/2 years ago.
Nevertheless, she felt a strange attraction to
the history of the edifice, which through the
years also served as a boardinghouse and a
doctor's office. At the behest of museum
caretakers, she began conducting special group
tours on weekend nights for those interested in
exploring the home's deepest secrets.
Although the museum's paranormal activity can be
somewhat inconsistent, LeTourneau claims there
is enough going on that the house has earned
"hot spot" status from such supernatural
investigative groups as Paranormal Seekers and
Florida Ghost Hunters.
The tours, which cost $20 and are offered by
appointment on Friday and Saturday nights, last
two hours. LeTourneau says that a limit of 15
people allows ample time to explore the entire
house. Because the museum houses about 11,000
rare antique artifacts, tours are open only to
persons 12 or older.
Those who don't have interests in ghostly
activities may want to stick to the regular
afternoon guided tours, which will resume
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (352) 848-1435.
Ghost tours at the May-Stringer Heritage Museum,
601 Museum Court in Brooksville, are offered by
appointment on Friday and Saturday nights. The
tours are two hours and cost $20. Participants
must be at least 12 years old. Regular tours at
the museum resume next week and are from noon to
3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The cost is $5
for adults and $2 for children. For information,
call (352) 799-0129.