Monday, October 26, 2020

Bringing Mystery and History to Marco Island


Stops on the tour include the Marco Island Cemetery.

Stops on the tour include the Marco Island Cemetery.

Islanders beware, the Marco Mystery and History Tour has returned. Your spooky hostess Martha Hara is back with more ghastly tales from Marco Island’s past. And this time around, she’s done her homework. The tour now offers historic tales that delve into the lives of pirates, treasure hunters, early settlers, ghosts, and even cults. If you’re looking for a frightful evening around Marco Island, then keep on reading.

Martha Hara is the brainchild of local thespian Gina Sisbarro. For the past 15 years Sisbarro has weaved her way through the theater scene here on Marco Island. Her most recent play

“Battlefield of Brotherhood” debuted earlier this year. According to Sisbarro, the character of Martha is loosely based off of Mata Hari, a famous courtesan, dancer and convicted spy. She’s an exaggerated version of Sisbarro: snarky, quick on her feet and gravely sarcastic.

A “ghost orb” caught on camera. Tour goers are encouraged to break out their cameras to see what kind of ghostly images they can capture.

A “ghost orb” caught on camera. Tour goers are encouraged to break out their cameras to see what kind of ghostly images they can capture.

The Marco Mystery and History Tour (previously titled the Marco Murder and Mayhem Tour) is now in its fifth year. The two-hour ride consists of fun theatrics, creepy photo opportunities, and some bona fide Marco Island history. Stops include the Marco Island Cemetery, the historic Olde Marco Inn, and a 340-year-old Indian burial sight.

Gina Sisbarro’s tour company, Marco Mystery and History, is back for its fifth season. Submitted Photos

Gina Sisbarro’s tour company, Marco Mystery and History, is back for its fifth season. Submitted Photos

In past, the tour company focused mainly on the paranormal aspects of our island’s history. Sisbarro originally blended history with tales of ghouls and ghosts and urban legends. This year Sisbarro, a history buff herself, says she’s added more factual elements to the ride.

“I’ve added some new stories. We are going to go to the same locations, but instead of starting out with ‘what’s the difference between a poltergeist and a ghost?’ I’m going to open up with early settlers,” Sisbarro said.

Though more history has been added, it’s still a mystery tour. You don’t have to believe in ghosts to attend. Whether you’re interested in Marco Island’s history or are just looking for a good scare, the tour has something for everyone.

“It is factual. When it comes to our spirits and ghosts, that’s up to them to choose what they wish to believe or not,” Sisbarro said.

Each Mystery and History tour starts at Bistro Soleil in the historic Olde Marco Inn. Prior to the two-hour ride guests are invited to grab a complimentary cocktail from the bar. Parties interested in dinner may make reservations with Bistro Soleil at 239-289-0981. Martha Hara has public tours scheduled for December, February, and March. Tour goers will learn about the “Curse of Captain Collier” or the “Hanging Tree at Key Marco.” The Marco History and Mystery Tour is a great stop for clubs, organizations, family reunions, and weddings. If you’re not interested in riding on the tour, Sisbarro is also available for speaking opportunities.

For information on private tours visit www.MarcoMysteryAndHistory.com or call 239-537-8353.

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