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October 15, 2000

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This Page is copyright 2000 FLORIDA TODAY.

Oct. 15, 2000

Filmmaker documents local ghost lore

By Nirav Soni
Senior, Satellite High

Don't be fooled by the palm trees, sunny beaches and lazy afternoons. There's something spooky about Brevard County - or so says Melbourne Beach filmmaker Terry Cronin.

Ashley's restaurant in Rockledge is one of better known supposedly haunted locales in Brevard County. Photo FLORIDA TODAY

"We had dinner at Miguel's one night," said Cronin, a dermatologist by trade, "and (people there) make a big deal about how they're haunted. I began investigating other hauntings - and there are a lot of places in this area."

So began the four-month journey to create "Ghost Hunters of the Space Coast," a documentary about local ghost sightings that recently finished filming and is now in post-production. The film - which features interviews with mediums and mystics, including world-renowned psychic Christine Jones - suggests there may be forces beyond the grasp of science at play in Brevard County.

Many of the tales have become well known to Brevardians.

"The story about Miguel's," explained Jamie McIntyre, a senior at Satellite High School, "was that there were some guys that got in a fight when it was being built, in the early 1900s. There were two guys in one of the upstairs rooms that had a bar in it. They had got in a fight, and one of the guys pulled a knife out and killed the other one. He supposedly died on the bar. People who have gone there have passed on this legend that the guy still walks around behind the bar."

There are certainly enough tales and locations to shake even the most hard-headed doubter. Stories about Murray's Coffee to a Tea in Melbourne, Ashley's restaurant in Rockledge and the Henegar Center for the Fine Arts (where a trailer for the film was shown during the The Melbourne International Film Festival) are featured in the film.

Most anyplace has its local tales of lore. But some people interviewed in the documentary suggest that Brevard is particularly spiritually active.

"What we found," says Cronin, "(was that) there are some people who are more spiritually sensitive than others, and they believe that people are coming to this area, to the Brevard County area, to the Melbourne area, because they feel there is a 'vortex of power' here. I had somebody tell me that good people are amassing here for a large battle against evil."

Whether or not that's true, some places in Brevard certainly seem to have spiritual activity that's more than just a few bumps in the night.

"[At Ashley's] a photographer went in there took a bunch of pictures," Cronin said. "When they were developing the pictures, one of the pictures had a man in it, and there was nobody in the restaurant at the time!"

That wasn't the only eerie image that showed up on film.

"We shot some film when Christine Jones was supposedly contacting a spirit, and a very strange light surrounds her on the film and breaks off like a big halo."

Cronin, who previously made the films "Under the Bridge," "The Gasman" and "Crisp," said he intends to have "Ghost Hunters of the Space Coast" edited and completed by the end of the month.

"We're looking at having a showing on the 24th of October at the Melbourne Beach Civic Center, but we may have a larger venue depending on the interest we generate," he said.

With Halloween coming up, it will probably garner a good deal of interest. If so, Cronin hopes to give back a little in the community that provided him with the material for his fourth film.

If it is completed in time, he said, "we'll have a screening and we'll sell copies... and all the money that we get for it will go to the (local, HIV-patient benefiting) charity Unconditional Love, Inc."

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