It’s strange how people seem to love being scared witless when they’re on vacation. You can find ghost tours all over the world – we’ve even got a fantastic one in Buenos Aires, Argentina – but we’ve never seen anything quite like Terry’s Vayable experience in Florida. This isn’t just the chance to hear a few mildly scary stories. This is a man who says he hears the voices of the dead in the dark, damp corridors of a former US military fort, and that he’d like to share them with you. Naturally enough, we wanted to find out more…
Tell me about your career as a broadcaster and a filmmaker.
Well I’ve been doing it for over 40 years now. I started in Philadelphia working on an FM station which was unusual because everything was still AM at the time. Over the years I travelled the world as a sub-contractor, working in both radio and TV, and I started a radio show called ‘The Lost Tracks’. We’ve been on a high of 180 stations around the world and done close to 400 shows. And I’ve also been making films all this time. We started our own feature film – it’s a comedy called ”The Last Ghost Tour’ and it’s coming out soon. There are some trailers on YouTube.
How did you first discover Fort Pickens?
I got a job working part-time as a tour guide there. It was built from 1829-34 and right after the Second World War they closed it down for about ten years while they turned it into a national park. It’s one of the only forts in the south that remained in Union hands during the Civil War. There are a lot of great stories here, but people are most interested in the ghosts.
You also describe yourself as a clairaudient? What does that mean?
A clairvoyant is a person who can see clearly, and a clairaudient is a person who can hear clearly. It’s something I’ve developed over the past 20 years. Audio comes in very clearly to me. If you clear your mind, relax and filter out outside noises, you can peel back layers of noise and reveal other sounds. I was hearing radio broadcasts in my head that clearly weren’t from modern stations. I picked out some of the songs and commercials and they’re from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
Where do these sounds come from?
Sometimes it sounds like they’re right next to you, like they’re having a conversation and I’m in the middle. Sometimes they’re at a distance and they’re yelling. I’ve heard some things that make me believe they can see me but I can’t communicate.
Will guests on your Vayable experience hear these sounds at the fort?
It’s difficult because Fort Pickens is a very noisy place – it’s at the tip of Barrier Island so there’s lots of wind travelling through the tunnels. But sometimes when we get rid of the noise I can hear crowds. I try and keep things in perspective and tell people what I’m hearing. Sometimes I hear voices commenting on the people I’m with, but it’s mumbled, garbled – it’s mostly noise and needs to be filtered. If you filter it out you can clearly hear people calling names. I’ve heard conversations between two or three people before. I’ve tried to point out these sounds to people I’ve been with and I’ve had people say they can hear them too.
Do you really believe there are ghosts at Fort Pickens?
I definitely believe the voices I hear are of people who have been at the fort at some time in the past. I hear a lot of conversations about supplies, eating, making fires, shelter, storms, and lots of good stories. On one occasion in the fort’s history there was an accidental explosion that blew out a section of the building. It was a huge explosion – people on the other side of the bay were killed by falling bricks. I’ve heard that explosion several times. In the right conditions you can literally hear that explosion. And I’ve heard other people say they’ve heard the explosion, too.