A tropical paradise, Florida is often associated with sunny skies, great beaches and world famous attractions, but there’s another side to the sunshine state that paranormal enthusiasts love to investigate. With centuries of war, pirates and shipwrecks in its past, it’s not surprising that Florida is known for its lingering spirits, ghostly encounters and inexplicable occurrences. Read on for the most haunted places in Florida.
The Old Jail, St. Augustine
This iconic building in St. Augustine was built by Henry Flagler in 1891 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic prison held up to 72 prisoners at a time and served the city for more that 60 years. While the jail stopped housing prisoners years ago, many believe that the Old Jail is still an active prison for the tortured souls who are trapped between worlds. A visit here is an experience you won’t soon forget. You’ll see the collection of weapons that were actually used in crimes, maximum security and death row cells and hear the stories of the jail hangings. Tour guides, visitors and others have reported feeling cold spots and hearing the sounds of shuffling feet inside the Old Jail. Many have also seen the large shadowy figure of what is believed to be Sheriff Perry, who was 6’5” and weighed 300 pounds, standing in the main cell block. The Old Jail has been featured in various paranormal investigations and many who’ve taken photographs both inside and outside the jail captured strange images of orbs, shadows and streaks of light. Is the Old Jail haunted? Stop by for a tour and find out. But be warned: Everyone who visits has a story to tell.
East Martello Fort, Key West
Perhaps one of the spookiest places in Key West, the East Martello Fort is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Florida. The main spirit that captures the curiosity of paranormal experts is Robert the Doll, a child’s toy that is on display inside the fort. Robert once belonged to a local artist, Robert Eugene Otto, who received the doll from a servant who worked for his parents. Throughout his lifetime, mostly during his childhood, Robert blamed the doll for various inexplicable events - from the ransacking of his bedroom to other strange behaviors. He often spoke to the doll, which could be heard responding in a different voice. The doll is believed to be possessed and cursed. Today, those who visit the fort attest that his facial expression changes inside his glass case. Orbs of light, strange sounds and shadows and other mysterious occurrences have also been witnessed at the Fort.
Gilbert’s Bar-House of Refuge, Stuart, Florida
Designated as a haven for shipwrecked sailors, this Florida icon was built in 1876 as a part of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which constructed ten houses of refuge along Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Gilbert’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only one of the original ten houses of refuge still standing on Florida’s coast. Visitors can take guided tours through the building and learn about its fascinating and haunted past. Guests have smelled the aroma of beef stew wafting out of the kitchen, which hasn’t been operational since the 1940s. Apparitions have been spotted walking the rocks on the beach and cold spots have been reported in various areas within the building.
Old Lighthouse, St. Augustine
Built in 1874, this historic lighthouse rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps leading to the magnificent tower where a Fresnel lens serves as a beacon of light to incoming ships. But this lovely lighthouse, while still serving the city, is also a hotbed of paranormal activity, illuminating its tragic past in the form of ghostly occurrences. Many reports of eerie encounters, strange sensations and inexplicable sights and sounds have been told. It is believed that there are more than a few ghosts lingering here, from Joseph Andreu, the lighthouse keeper of the original lighthouse who fell to his death while painting the tower, to the two young daughters of Hezekiah Pity, who drowned when a building cart they were playing in broke loose and slid down a hill into the bay. Guests have reported hearing the sounds of the girl’s laughter and some have seen the eldest daughter wearing the same blue velvet dress she wore when she was last seen alive. The aroma of cigar smoke can be detected when no one is smoking, footsteps are often heard on the stairs long after the lighthouse is closed to guests and the figure of Joseph Andreu has been seen at the top of the lighthouse. Take a tour, climb the steps and discover the haunted spirits of this historic lighthouse.
Spanish Military Hospital, St. Augustine
A replica of the original building, today’s Spanish Military Hospital located near the Spanish Quarter is known for its abundance of supernatural activity. This hospital served thousands of people throughout its working history, including the severely injured soldiers of several wars. During the years 1784-1821, many sick and injured people were treated and many more died. Amputations were common and there was an epidemic of yellow fever. Visitors report all kinds of paranormal events including sickbeds sliding across the floor, the smell of sulfur and the tortured moans and cries of disembodied souls. During the renovation of the building’s waterlines, piles of human bones were found underneath the building. Sources say the bones most likely belonged to a Timucuan Indian Tribe and that the building was probably constructed directly on top of their burial site. Ghostly encounters continue to this day and include objects moving and shaking for no obvious reason, the appearance of orbs and ectoplasm in photographs and overwhelming feelings of fear coming over guests as they tour the hospital.