Miami's Mystery Circles
When Michael Bowman purchased property off of the Miami River in 1998 the last thing he expected to encounter was a prehistoric sight. Embedded in a layer of Oolitic limestone bedrock were mysterious circles! Twenty four of them to be exact and together they formed a perfect 38ft diameter circle. They held a variety of artifacts ranging from human teeth to ancient tools. Archaeologists were able to carbon date these artifacts and determine them to be between 1,800 and 2,000 years old! It is believed that the site was occupied by the Tequesta, a local tribe whose tools matched some of the artifacts found during the excavations, however there were also axes made from basalt which is not indigenous to Florida. The strange finding lead to alternate origin theories as to how they got there. These included alien intervention, Mayan culture, and other conspiracy theories. After many land disputes about what to do with the site Miami Circle or Brickell Point as it was called was declared a national historic landmark in 2009 and is now under the management of HistoryMiami. Many of the artifacts are also displayed in the museums permanent collection titled First Arrivals: The Archaeology of Southern Florida. If you visit the site now you will see grass and flag poles in the place where the mysterious circle is. We may never know what really led to the development of the circles, but one thing is for sure: this pre-historic site is certainly weird!
There’s a reason it’s called monkey business. Monkeys are notorious for being big trouble makers. They fling poop, they steal, and they are noisy. This is the reason that in 1964 a group of extra bad monkeys got sent to their very own monkey jail.
There was once a small shallow patch of water in the Homosassa River that was causing a serious boating problem as the boats there often got stuck. To prevent this from happening land developer GA. “Furgy” Furgason asked crew members to throw some dirt on it. The crew members went crazy and threw enough dirt for a whole island. In an effort to make it look a little nicer Furgy added a little light house and some trees. He then went back to his main project nearby of building a wildlife attraction, currently Homosassa State Park.
Part of the wildlife attraction was a monkey exhibit and these monkeys were the worst. The stole candy from kids, broke into cars, and messed with the tourists. After being particularly fed up with these little menaces and wishing he could send them to Alcatraz Furgy realized he already had the perfect monkey detention center- his little dirt island. Surrounded by buoys to deter boaters and surrounded by water to deter escaping monkeys the island made a perfect Alcatraz. To this day the descendants of those bad monkeys live on Monkey Island where boaters can safely view their antics.
tHE cENTER OF THE uNIVERSE
You know about sphere earth and you’ve heard about flat earth, maybe you have even learned about pear earth in your old history books, but brace yourselves for this one: there is a community of people near Ft Meyers Florida who believe the earth is hollow. Yes you read that right. The Koreshan Unity Settlement established in Estero by Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed are a group of people who believe in a hollow earth. Picture this, if earth were a spinning egg we would be walking on the inside surface of the shell held there by centrifugal force. And the universe? Well, that would be the egg whites and yolk.
Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed was a real doctor who studied medicine, physics, and electromagnetism. During one of his experiments Dr. Teed was electrocuted and when he came to he was never the same again. Stating that he was visited by a vision of beautiful women who revealed the secrets of the world to him, Dr.Teed changed his name to Koresh and began preaching “cellular cosmogony” or hollow earth. By 1890 he amassed a following of 4,000 people who adopted his bizarre theory. Many who were religious fundamentalists who were not comfortable with the notion that earth was simply a small speck in a giant universe.
In 1894 Teed and his followers founded a community, dubbed “New Jerusalem,” which rejected the notion of being slaves to a wage earning society. They lived by their own rules and actually had a fairly successful settlement. By 1916 this prosperous community even had a three-story communal dining hall, stores, post office, utility system, a printing plant, sawmill, blacksmith shop, boat works, bakery, concrete plant, tin works, a mattress shop, and a factory. They even developed their own electricity and sold it to neighboring towns. But being a man of science Teed desired to prove to his sceptics that the Earth’s surface was concave. He asked his colleague at the Koreshan College of Life, professor Ulysses Grant Morrow, to help him conduct an experiment to prove his theory.
This is how they developed the rectillenator or crazy measurement device that proves there is an upward curve to the earth’s surface. If the reference lines he drew met at the right points he could prove the concave surface of the Earth. After 5 months of testing they concluded that the experiments were successful and deemed the earth hollow.
In 1904 they wanted to merge their community with regular society and this did not go over well with the other citizens who didn’t want anything to do with those “crazy hollow earth folks” which led to many physical altercations. It is speculated that this fighting is what led Dr. Teed to sustain an injury that led to his death. Believing that he was immortal, his followers believed he would one day rise again and even waited until after Christmas to bury his body. Unfortunately for them he never resurrected and the community faded out around 1960.
Peanut Island, FL
In the 1960's Cold War era where, not more than 90 miles from Key West, Cuba was discovered to have Soviet missiles, tensions about nuclear warfare are high as two major powers battle for dominance. Doing what it does best the USA capitalizes on the situation. Advertisements for the retail sale of DIY fallout shelters are everywhere and somewhere off the coast of Palm Beach a group of SeaBee's are hard at work.
This isn't a rare form of ocean dwelling bee but rather a group of hard working crew building a secret bunker for JFK 25 ft below rocks, lead, concrete, and the surface of Peanut Island. The bunker was fully equipped to house 30 people for 30 days and included a ham radio, K-rations, bunk beds, a desk for the POTUS to work at, and a radiation detection and sanitization center.
The bunker was under lease with the Palm Beach Maritime Museum until 2017 when the county took back the property but don't worry you can still see the memorabilia inside the bunker now being housed at the museum. The county still has yet to release the date when it will reopen the bunker for public viewing. If you want an in depth look inside the bunker the Weird Florida sequel, Weird Florida: On the Road Again features this historical marvel in the show.