For many years, perhaps even since prehistory, a column of smoke rose from
the massive swamps which lie just inland from the top of the arch of Florida's
Some said a den of pirates, others still say fire from the earth,
but no human ever saw the smoke up close and lived - or chose - to tell the public.
Then suddenly, on August 31, 1886, the day the great Charleston,
South Carolina, earthquake rang the church bells of St. Augustine,
drained Lake Jackson, and shook the ground in Tallahassee,
the mysterious column of smoke vanished, apparently never to be
Since that day, no one now able to tell the tale can credibly claim to have found
the source of the smoke. Those who made the claim never went back, and were uncertain
they could find it again if they did.
Over time, the timbering industry has plowed and planted.
Swamps have been drained. Roads have been built. What was once too remote and hostile to survive is
now just a day out hiking or hunting.
The twenty-foot alligators and cotton-mouths
are (mostly) gone and anyone can embark in search of their favorite
adventure - perhaps only to walk right past it. 'Difficult' becomes
'impossible' and 'unfound' becomes 'unfindable'.
But the legend never dies. >>
Have you seen it?