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Established in 1821, this ancient St. Augustine Cemetery is located just across from the City Gates. It was opened to serve as the final resting place of those in the city who were not Catholic. At the time, the only other cemetery in the city was the Tolomato, which was reserved for Catholics only. Just after this burial ground opened, an epidemic of yellow fever broke out, claiming the lives of many St. Augustine residents.
It was acquired by the Presbyterian Church in 1832 and was maintained by them until it closed in 1884.
Believed to be the most haunted cemetery in the Ancient City, Huguenot has been called “Spirit Central” because of the many inexplicable events, sightings and recorded paranormal activity over the years.
Visitors to the Huguenot Cemetery can expect to see more than gravestones that date back nearly two centuries. They can also expect to see things they may not understand, feel things that they cannot explain and experience a true sense of something supernatural going on around them.
It’s here that a young girl, believed to be around 14 years old, was buried. She perished after being exposed to yellow fever and her body was dumped at the Old City Gates. When no one came forward to claim this poor child, she was put to rest. But is she resting? Many say no, as they have seen her ghost floating among the trees. She has even been known to wave to guests she encounters. If you’re visiting at night, the best time to see her is sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. She is always described as appearing in a flowy white gown.
But perhaps the most famous of the dead still lingering in Huguenot is Judge John Stickney. The honorable judge passed away in 1882 and left behind his children who were now orphans because their mother had died years before.
The grieving brood was quickly given to family members up north to be cared for, leaving the final resting place of their father far behind them.
Years later, the children, all grown up, decided to have their father exhumed and re-interred in Washington, DC, so he would be closer to them.
On the day of the exhumation, the gravediggers took a short break to refresh themselves from the grueling Florida heat. In their haste to take a break, they left the casket open, only to return to find that thieves had stolen the Judge’s gold teeth. To protect their jobs, the two workers simply closed up the casket in the hopes that no one would notice the missing teeth. But someone did: the judge himself. It is this act of thievery that is said to haunt the old judge and inspire him to haunt the Huguenot Cemetery.
Attempts to capture the eeriness of this sacred burial ground often end up the same way: Photographs with glowing orbs, flashes of light, shadows appearing behind people and strange mists. Many visitors take dozens of photos and find that most of them have something unusual in them.
Some who’ve toured Huguenot have heard the sound of a man laughing, others hear leaves crackling or bushes moving but see nothing that could be making the noise.
If you’re planning on visiting St. Augustine to enjoy paranormal pursuits, grab a seat on the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour to discover the truth about haunted Huguenot. Bring your camera, your sense of adventure and stay calm – the ghosts can always tell when you’re scared.