INVESTIGATING DOZIER Pt. 7 ~ Conclusion: The Ghosts Of The Past…


March 2nd, 2018


  Here I was, stopped on the hill, staring (more like squinting because I swear I’m blind!) down at what looked to be 3 large, dark structures. NO FREAKING WAY! Needing a closer look I kept going & there they were!




OH…MY…GOD! THE DORMS…I FOUND THE DOZIER DORMS!!! I jumped out, studying each one! They were right in front of me! I should be doing a happy dance & I did…When I finished bawling! Honestly, I NEVER thought my 1st reaction would be tears BUT it was overwhelming & I couldn’t control it. The magnitude of what I’d found hit me hard & I had to let it sink in…NOT to mention that I suddenly felt alone & that totally sucked! It had nothing to do with the whole “Safety In Numbers” thing (I do take safety seriously…Mostly!) BUT more about having another person to share the experience. You know, the “Seeing IS Believing” theory. I gave myself the “Suck it up Buttercup” speech & did what ANY “normal” person would do if faced with horror movie worthy dilapidated buildings…Yep, Time to go inside!





Looking hard at each building to figure out which would be easiest to access. Building 1 was the winner as the front was mostly free of debris. It would be over a month later before I would learn that THIS was “Jackson Cottage.” A fitting name & one of the MANY coincidences that I’ve seen.





  I’d spent the past 3 years trying to think of ways to get inside the Dozier buildings & Now I was just walking through the front door…NO tricks, NO acrobatics & absolutely NO one to stop me! I refused to be scared, so off went ALL rational thinking as I stepped inside…To a scene that resembled the 3rd circle of Hell…



That description was being generous! Caved in ceilings, insulation hanging, debris & layers of dust, dirt & mold. Every surface had taken a major beating from time & our harsh Florida weather. It was complete devastation BUT wasn’t unexpected. Having prepared myself to see exactly this scene kept me from passing out from shock! What I wasn’t ready for was the lasting effect that what I saw next would have on me…




  I took in my surroundings & my eyes were drawn to a large object sitting in the middle of the room. It was a bed…As I crossed the room to see it, I noticed that there were more sets of beds…Scattered throughout the room & in stacks against the walls. They were battered & rusty, some missing a mattress BUT there was NO doubting what they were…These were the beds that had held 100’s OR more boys sentenced to the Hell that was Dozier. Standing in front of the 1st bed that I’d seen, I leaned closer…



The words were so faint that if  you didn’t look hard, you’d probably miss them. I took a pic, using the flash & the surface lit up…The extra light showed me that they weren’t just random letters BUT messages from the past. There were names, dates, places & little notes ALL over the solid surfaces (mostly the head & foot board) of the bunk bed. Some were written in pen, others in marker…Some were actually carved into the bed itself. ALL were heartbreaking to see. I ran my hand over the words, closed my eyes & stood there still & quiet. I could vividly picture a young boy lying in that bed, missing home. Had he taken a beating that day OR spent hours doing hard labor for the school? It may have been my imagination BUT I could almost hear the kids whispering to each other in the dark, careful to NOT get caught by staff as they were aware that the “punishment” they’d receive. It was one of the most profound experiences I’ve EVER had & as sad as it made me, I wouldn’t change a thing about that day…




  I had spent a lot of time inside of Jackson Cottage & had only explored that one large room. It was getting dark so I decided to go out the back door to see what was behind the buildings. 



Thrilled, I saw that I may be able to access the other dorms from the back. It wouldn’t be today BUT I’d know where to go next time. The area looked like it had once been used as a courtyard. There were tall, rusty metal poles sticking up out of the ground (for tetherball?) & benches covered in vines. I went further back to look at what was being concealed in a heavily wooded area & was blown away!



Beds! So many that I couldn’t count! They had been dumped & were now covered by trees, vines & moss. It was a sight so chilling that the hair on my arms & the back of my neck were standing on end & yet it was the perfect portrait to define EXACTLY what a type institution Dozier was. I turned & walked back through the tall grass until I was where I’d started…Just in time to say goodbye…Again.




  It had been an amazing day…Emotional BUT I’d accomplished way more than I’d EVER imagined! Night was coming in fast & it was getting cold. I wasn’t prepared for either scenario & I was on my own, so I had no choice…I had to go. I wanted to stay! There were other buildings to explore, corners to look in & hallways to roam! I wasn’t ready to say goodbye again & my heart broke as I got into the car. I’d be back & I would NOT be waiting very long to return…


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