Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Spirit of Blue Springs: A Jackson County Ghost Story

Water flows from the submerged cave at Jackson Blue Spring
as TwoEgg.TV's Rachael Conrad works on a coming program.
The following is legend that was handed down by early settlers of Jackson County. The events described took place long before the first Spaniard set foot in Florida. It revolves around Blue Springs, which the State of Florida has renamed Jackson Blue Springs.

A war once raged in eastern Jackson County. The Chacato, a Native American group that had intruded into Florida from the north, established settlements between Holmes Creek and the Chipola River. They soon began to raid the towns of the Apalache Indians who lived east of the Ochlockonee River around present-day Tallahassee.

The Apalache fought back and the region between the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers became a depopulated buffer zone that separated the warring chiefdoms. The attacks and counterattacks continued but neither could defeat the other and the war bogged down into a bloody stalemate.

Jackson Blue Spring, locally called Blue Springs, is the head
of Marianna's beloved Merritt's Mill Pond. It is an impressive
first magnitude spring and the largest source of water for the
Chipola River.
It was in this time of conflict, the Blue Springs legend holds, that a young woman of the Chacato stumbled upon a young warrior of the Apalache. The two fell in love but kept their romance secret because they knew that their families would object.

The young woman, however, was the daughter of the most powerful Chacato chief. He hoped to form a military alliance with the Chisca, a militaristic group that lived along Irwin's Mill Creek and the Chattahoochee River. The Chisca were fiercely independent and involved in a war of their own against the Apalache.

The chief of the Chacato offered his daughter as a bride to the young war chief of the Chisca in a gesture that he hoped would cement the proposed alliance. The latter group agreed to the proposal and a wedding was scheduled on neutral ground at Blue Springs.

The prospective bride, however, pleaded with her father and in tears begged him to call off the marriage. He refused and ordered her to comply with his will.

The mouth of the cave as seen from beneath the surface.
Photo by Alan Cox.
The young woman's desperation grew as the hour approached andshe concluded that she could not allow the marriage to happen.

Crowds of Chacato and Chisca gathered at the spring for the ceremony but instead watched in stunned disbelief as she suddenly bolted for the water. Before anyone could stop her, she leaped into the spring and dove down deep through the clear water and into the mouth of the submerged cave itself. All efforts by the bravest warriors to find and save her ended in failure.

At this point her true love arrived on the outskirts of the camp, determined to rescue her from her pending marriage. The scene of panic that he saw from his hiding place confused him and it took until sundown that he was able to learn that his beloved had taken her own life by diving down into the spring.

The young warrior waited for darkness and then walked down into the spring himself. He too dove down into the cave and disappeared forever in its depths.

The chief of the Chacatos was despondent and filled with regret over the loss of his daughter. He walked down to the spring at sunrise the next morning to think and express his grief. As the ray of the rising sun penetrated to the bottom of the spring, however, he saw two figures standing there in the shadows at the mouth of the cave. They were holding hands. He knew that it must be his daughter, Calistoble, and her beloved.

Jackson Blue Spring is the only first magnitude spring in the
entire Apalachicola/Chattahoochee/Flint/Chipola River Basic.
The chief decreed at that moment that the spring would bear his daughter's name. People from any tribe or nation could come there without fear to enjoy the cold water, beautiful forests and abundant wildlife. It remained known as Calistoble Spring for many years.

The chief's decree also came with a serious warning. If anyone should disturb the beauty of the water where his daughter's spirit remained, the spring would stop flowing and become nothing more than a stagnant pool.

The Chacato and Apalache eventually disappeared from Florida, the victims of war and oppression. The Creeks and Seminoles that followed, however, abided by the powerful declaration of the ancient chief and preserved Calistoble as a place of recreation, beauty and peace. They also handed down the old warning that damaging the beauty of the spring would bring about its death.

Visitors claimed that the spirits of the lost lovers could be seen moving in the waters of the spring on moonlit nights, constant reminders of the long ago tragedy and a father's warning to to any who might disturb his daughter's peace.

Possession of the spring eventually passed on to the whites, but they soon adopted a plan to adapt it for industry and in doing so awakened the curse and summoned the anger of the Spirit of the Spring.

What happened? Read the story in the conclusion of this article:!

To learn more about the history of Blue Springs, please click play on this video from TwoEgg.TV:

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