Oh, Booo!

Chilling Tales at Coral Castle

Where ghosts are, Linda Spitzer usually follows. Neither parapsychologist nor a ghostbuster, Spitzer is a storyteller of long standing who has entertained South Floridians all over town. The self-described "ghost maven of Miami" founded the Miami Storytellers Guild in 1990. But she is best-known locally for her nearly eight-year stint sharing spirited stories each Thursday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.

In honor of Halloween, which Spitzer claims is her least-favorite holiday ("I don't care for the stories!" she declares), she will travel south to the Coral Castle, where more ghosts supposedly roam. This Saturday she and fellow yarn-spinner Kathi Gathercole will offer Chilling Tales at Coral Castle. An apt location for a tale-telling session, the castle boasts origins that are a story in themselves. It was built between 1920 to 1940 from thousands of tons of coral rock quarried by a 100-pound Latvian man named Edward Leedskalnin. His motivation: Apparently he was dumped at the altar by his sixteen-year-old fiancée, so he focused all his energies into constructing a monument to her. Enormous carved chairs, tables, and half-moon sculptures lie in the open air behind a huge coral-rock gate. A curiosity for years, the place has blossomed into a popular tourist attraction, offering an audio tour in English, Spanish, French, and German.

The language Spitzer and Gathercole will employ is that of suspense, promising a mix of all types of tales, some even funny. The best program of anecdotes, she reveals, always contain the four A's: a ha, amen, ahhh, and aha! The creepiest yarn in her repertoire? The Southern folk story starring a witch known as the boo hag. "It's really grisly," Spitzer laughs nervously. "Every night she peels off her skin and goes flying around to meet her boo daddy."


7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 27, Admission is $9.75. Two-for-one admission is offered after 7:00 p.m. Call 305-248-6345.
Coral Castle, 28655 S Dixie Hwy, Homestead

While the Spitzer admits that little can be scarier than what's going on in the world right now, a few unnerving yarns told in the great outdoors never hurt anyone. In fact they can be a great escape. "Ghosts and witches are not scary," she says. "You're just hearing a story. Scary is the unexpected."

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