Seaside towns are infamous for their tales of myth and folklore and Fort Myers Beach is no different. Estero Island has been utilized for centuries as a port village, and as at one time, the heartland for the Caloosa Indian civilization. You can still discover the remains of this tribe’s shell mounds, just down the street from Gulf View Manor. Such a small island, with such a rich history is sure to have a few tall tales, or potentially true tales lurking around the Fort Myers Beach’s and Southwest Florida’s shores…
It is a locally known legend that Spanish pirate Jose Gaspar made his home in nearby Pine Island Sound, and established headquarters on Sanibel Island. He would hold his female prisoners captive on Captiva Island and buried his treasure on Gasparilla Island. Supposedly he imprisoned Joseffa, his beloved Mexican Princess, on Useppa Island. In 1821, just as Gaspar was to be taken as a prisoner by the U.S. Navy, he drowned.
Not commonly sighted, but known for hundreds of years, the Ghost Ship of the Florida Everglades was first mentioned publicly in a newspaper in the early 1900’s. The tale states that the privateers were in battle when they got caught up in a current and were thrown into the Everglades, where they wandered, lost until all of the passengers had passed away and were doomed to sail the waters to pay for their sins. From time to time, this ghostly vessel can be still seen drifting quietly across the saw grass.
Conquistador Ponce De Leon is said to have discovered the legendary Fountain of Youth in Florida during his exploration of Florida in the 16th century. The Fountain is said to hold the powers of eternal youth for those who drink or bathe in it’s waters. Though the exact location of this fountain has been lost to history, there are many who choose to believe the fountain calls Fort Myers, Florida home. A natural spring resides just up the road from Gulf View Manor on U.S. 41 at a hotel chain. Developers created a pool around the natural spring and bathers can now pay a small fee to bathe in these healing springs. Though there are no reports of the spring bringing about eternal youth, those with health issues such as respiratory issues or muscle pain swear that the 80-degree water spring heals their bodies like no medication that they could purchase in the drugstore.