WILL MORIATY RESPONDS:
Dear Chrissie and Dave:
Thank you very much for your letter and for reading our on-line publication.
I first read about the structure that is the current day Marrero's Guest Mansion in Joyce Elson Moore's 1998 book "Haunt Hunters Guide to Florida" (which is available through Amazon.com). At that time it was known as "Colours"
The basic story is that cigar magnate Francisco Marrero left his wife Henriqueta and their eight children behind in their mansion in Key West on a trip to Cuba to buy tobacco (circa 1891). He died during that trip. Six months later Maria Ignacia de Marrero came to lay claim to his estate, disinheriting Henriquetta and her eight children. As it turns out Maria was Francisco's first and only lawful wife and was entitled to all of his estate. Henriqueta and her eight children were left destitute and forced out of the house. As she left the house with her children she turned to a crowd of on-lookers and exclaimed, "You are witnessing a great injustice today! And though you are removing me from my home, you should know that this house is rightfully mine; and with God as my witness I will always remain here in spirit!"
Fast-forward to the late twentieth century. Most innkeepers claim that Henriqueta makes her presence known when there is negativity in the house. Doors slammed shut by themselves, curtains are blown by breezes although windows are closed, and one man reportedly sleep-walking bumped into a wall following Henriqueta. Sometimes a female voice might call your name and no one is there.
Another good book on this wonderful Guest Mansion and the spirit that roams it is "Ghosts of Key West" by David Sloan who also runs a delightful nightly Ghost Tour of Key West (www.hauntedtours.com) which includes a visit to Marrero's Guest Mansion (www.marreros.com).
My wife and I had the good fortune to visit there in December 2003. Although nothing out of the ordinary happened to us, the Innkeeper, John shared a few strange stories with us of inexplicable occurrences in the house. We were only haunted by the spirit of the cat known as "Cheesetta" that roams the grounds, and served wonderful spirits by John at Happy Hour.
The Guest Mansion is a beautiful example of 1800's Key West architecture only half a block from Duval Street and Mile Post 0 of US 1. It's well worth a visit to this elegant alternative to the fare of large corporate hotel chains when in Key West. I will be staying there in two weeks as part of a trip to attend the Trees Florida conference sponsored by the Florida Urban Forestry Conference. I look forward to seeing CheesettA, John and Old Key West again, as well as paying a silent homage to a woman and a family who were mercilessly left to die in the streets of America's Southernmost City.
Hope this gives you some initial background information!
To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com. Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan