Who doesn’t love a good scary story? We all have a part of ourselves that is attracted to the supernatural and a need to explore. Growing up in Florida could be described as a unique experience, to say the least. From the infamous “Florida Man” stories, free-range access to the beaches and theme parks, and being completely un-phased by category 5 hurricanes, native Floridians are just a different breed altogether.
Being from a small town that not many people have heard of, we’ve had our fair share of local ghost stories. Every town has its own urban legends that we hear during sleepovers that never involved actual sleep. You know the ones. The ones where there’s a creepy location and a crazed individual, murder, and just a touch of the supernatural. When you think of the most haunted states and cities in the U.S., what places come to mind? New Orleans. Salem. Amityville? I will take a wild guess and say that Flordia doesn’t make your list. It’s fine. We all know that’s not why people go there. If it doesn’t involve a cartoon mouse, a water slide, or a thrilling roller coaster, then most people don’t even know what’s in Florida.
Flordia has a long and rich history here in the United States. Florida is one of the very first European settlements from Spain and is one of the oldest states in America. With over 500 years of history, Florida has their fair share of supernatural history. If you happen to find yourself in Florida and feel like a spooky adventure, try visiting some of these unique places in the beautiful state of Florida.
Fort Castillo de San Marcos- St. Augustine, Florida
There is a lot of dark history that is attached to the town of St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is one of the oldest- and most haunted- towns in America. There are a lot of places to visit in St Augustine with almost every place having its own personal ghost story. One such place is the Fort Castillo de San Marcos. So many people had lost their lives in the fort. There are many chilling stories and encounters of ghosts from tourists that visit fort Castillo. From the shadow man to the woman who was buried alive within the walls of the fort, to many other stories.
Other Notable sites to check out in St. Augustine:
- Tolomanto Cemetary
- St. Augustine Lighthouse
The Coral Castle – Miami, Florida
This site is a marvel and mystery all on its own. The creator, Edward Leedskalnin, had apparently carved the heavy slabs of coral and stone all on his own. Leedsaklnin was known to be a hermit who never shared how he was able to build this castle nor shared the physics behind many of the – at the time- impossible mechanics of the castle’s features. To this day no one knows for sure how Edward Leedskalnin was able to build Coral Castle. Some speculate supernatural forces and even aliens, but again no one can know for sure.
The Devil Tree, Oak Hammock Park – Port St. Lucie Florida
Like I said, I grew up in the small-ish town of Port St. Lucie, Florida. Every small town has its own urban legends, and The Devil Tree is ours. I had heard many eerie stories regarding the Devil Tree, from serial killers to witchcraft, old Native American burial grounds, to satanic rituals. There have been so many accounts of strange activity near the tree such as cell phones randomly losing service, compasses going haywire, and even seeing shadows handing from the tree.
Robert The Doll – Fort East Martello Museum, Key West, Florida
The story of Robert is more perplexing than terrifying. As the story goes the doll was given to a boy named Gene Otto, who became an eccentric artist in the Florida Keys, by his grandfather as a gift from Germany. Gene had what others have called an unhealthy relationship to the doll that extended into his adulthood. He took the doll everywhere and referred to the doll as if it were a real person. He would often blame Robert for mishaps and weird occurrences. People would often see Roberts’s face change expressions, disappear and reappear from windows, and guests would often hear footsteps and giggling coming from the room where Robert the Doll “lived”. Yes, Robert had his own room in Otto’s home up until the 90s where he was donated to the Fort East Martello Museum, where he still resides.
The Biltmore Hotel – Coral Gables, Florida
The Biltmore Hotel didn’t start off as the place it is known for today. The building was built in 1926 by a developer as a luxury hotel that housed many gangsters and celebrities. After an infamous mobster was shot and killed in the hotel it was closed down and eventually turned into a World War II military hospital. After the war, it became a medical hospital for veterans and a medical school for the University of Miami. The Biltmore eventually closed for good in 1968 and stood as an abandoned building local teens would sneak into. Many of the people who have entered the building have encountered ghost stories and creepy tales. The Biltmore is now back to being a fully-functional luxury hotel that has housed many celebrities and public figures. People who often stay at the hotel still encounter strange occurrences at the hotel late at night ( )
Koershan State Historical Site – Fort Myers, Florida
Scientology isn’t the first of Florida’s cults. I’m sorry, “modern religions”. In the 19th century Dr. Cyrus Teed believed that the world would only exist in Naples Beach, where he had founded the Koershan Unity. There are a lot of weird stories about this cult and what they believed.
Villa Paula – Miami, Florida
We all hope that the love from our spouses will be as in love with us as much as the day we met. But what happens when that love makes us go completely insane?
Villa Paula was built to house Cuban Consulate to Miami, Domingo Milord, and his wife Paula, who the villa is named after. It was known that Domingo loved his wife more than anything. A few years after moving into Villa Paula, Paula had died due to complications from a leg amputation. Not wanting to depart his wife, Domingo decided to rest Paula in a concrete sarcophagus in the backyard of the villa. Paula loved to play the piano and would brew Cuban coffee. Around the 80s, Miami newspapers began reporting stories of people who have heard a piano, smelled coffee, and saw a woman who matched Paula’s description walking in the house.
Blue Anchor – Delray Beach, Florida
Have you ever wanted to party with a ghost? No? Just me? Okay. the bar was originally built in London in the 1840s and disassembled and shipped to New York City where it collected dust in storage until 1996. The Blue Anchor was eventually shipped to Delray Beach where it now stands as a bar and restaurant.
This iconic bar is known to be haunted by Bertha Starkey, the woman who lived above the bar who was murdered by her husband for having an affair. The workers at the bar have said they have heard footsteps after closing, candles extinguishing by themselves, and objects moving on their own
Ashley’s of Rockledge
Ashley’s is known to be the most haunted restaurant in Florida. The restaurant was originally named ‘Jack’s Tavern’ when it opened in 1933. Over the years the restaurant had changed owners and names until 1985; where it finally settled on Ashley’s. Many customers, reporters, ghost-hunters, etc. have reported seeing a figure near the women’s bathroom in 1930’s attire, apparitions in the bathroom mirrors, and had felt an invisible force push past them on the stairs. Employees have even whispering, lights flickering, alarms going off without explanation, and objects moving from where they were left.
It is believed that the being behind these hauntings is the ghost of 19-year-old Ethel Allen, whose body was found on the shores near the Indian River in 1934. She was a frequent customer at Jack’s Tavern. The current story circulating is that Ethel was murdered in the tavern, somewhere around the bathroom, and her case was never solved.
Florida has a unique and rich history that is often overshadowed by a cartoon mouse and breathtaking beaches. A lot of visitors to our state usually don’t go out of their way to see the less shiny excursions we have to offer. Florida is full of many strange, twisted, and amazing stories that are worth hearing about. If you ever find yourself in Florida and feel like taking a strange adventure, then check out these places. Who knows? Maybe you will wind up with your own ghostly encounter.