Florida's Most Haunted Locations
Halloween is upon us…
…and it got us thinking about all of the fun theatrical experiences such as Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, Zoo Boo, Creatures of the Night.. and more!
But what about all of the more authentic type of frights? There are REAL haunted places all over Florida!
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spooky spots!
7 of Florida’s Most Haunted Locations
1. The Devil’s School – Jacksonville
Most consider this to be the most haunted place in Jacksonville, known as the “Devil’s School” located at 699 Chelsea Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32204 (near I-95 and I-10 in Jax) Stories float about the ghosts roaming the halls such as a crazed janitor who murdered student and even a cannibalistic school principal! In 1918 it began as Riverside Grammar School also known as “Public School No. 4” which then became Annie Lytle Elementary School. The school closed in 1960 and was left an abandoned building decaying over the years. Not only used as a canvas for graffiti artists and vandals, the building was also used for alleged satanic rituals. Jacksonville City Council in 2000 designated it a historic landmark. Visitors are not permitted in the this haunted building but can be viewed the outside of the Devil’s School on Chelsea Street.
2. St. Augustine Light house
Peter Rasmussen (one of the lighthouse’s first keepers) who took his own life was known for his “meticulous eye” and “watchful manner” of maintaining the lighthouse. He was also known for his love of cigars and is one of the first ghosts that people report coming in contact with. Over the years, the smell of Peter’s cigar has been detected by many, including staff members and guests.
Others have seen and heard another keeper, Joseph Andreu, at the top of the tower; only he’s been dead for more than a century. His presence at the lighthouse could be explained by the fact that he fell to his death while painting the outside of the tower. His spirit never left and is often seen looking out from the top. Some say they smell sweet tobacco which brings back to Joseph Andreu and his love for pipe smoking.
But perhaps the most well known ghosts of the St. Augustine Lighthouse are that of the two young sisters who also died on the property. Hezekiah Pity was hired to renovate the tower in the late 1800s. Her daughters, Eliza and Mary, were playing inside a cart that was being used to carry materials back and forth to the lighthouse. When the cart broke loose, they weren’t able to jump out in time and the cart slid rapidly into the bay, plummeting both girls to a watery death. Today and most days since then, the girls can be heard laughing at the top of the tower late at night. Others have spotted Eliza floating about the grounds wearing the same blue dress she died in.
3. The Tampa Theater
The Tampa Theater claims to be the most haunted place in Tampa. There have been multiple reports of a few ghost that live there.
According to locals, the Tampa Theatre is haunted by a number of spirits:
Foster "Fink" Finley, the theater's first projectionist: Finley worked in the theater starting in the 1940s and reportedly died there from a heart attack in 1965. Theater staff believes he continues to roam the theater. Finley was a chain-smoker and, at times, staff has seen cigarette smoke hovering in the air of the projection booth. Theater-goers occupying the back two rows of the balcony nearest the projection booth swear to smell cigarette smoke although smoking has long been prohibited.
The ghost of Rosa Rio may also linger in the theater: The theater's Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ is a 1,400-pipe instrument installed to accompany silent films and Rosa Rio was the organist who played it until she died in 2010 at the age of 107. On nights when the public has gone, staff claim to hear Rosa playing the organ. She's also very protective of the antique instrument. A theater manager accidentally stepped back into the orchestra pit and was about the fall on top of the organ when Rosa diverted her fall so she wouldn't damage it.
Robert Lanier, a theater Ticket puncher in the 1950s: Was found behind the box office May 29, 1959 (the day after payday) dead with his skull crushed. To this day no one knows what happened to him. Some say they have seen a man in uniform around the area and believe this is Robert.
Then there's the Lady in White: Seen pacing backstage who is believed to be the victim of a carriage accident on the land where the theatre was built
… and the mysterious man wearing a fedora who appears in seat 308.”
4. The Cuban Club – Tampa
The Cuban Club (AKA Circulo Cubano de Tampa - featured in Travel Channel’s “Top 10 Most Haunted Places,”) is located within the bustling Ybor City neighborhood. What became the immensely popular hangout in 1902 for Cuban immigrants is allegedly haunted by several ghostly spirits.
An actor and playwright who reportedly committed suicide on stage after forgetting the words.
A theater board member murdered during an argument
An elegant lady in a “misty dress”
A young boy playing ball on the theater steps believed to possibly be Little Jimmy," a 9-year-old boy who drowned while swimming in the Cuban Club's pool unattended. The Cuban Club is one of several stops on the Ybor City Ghost Tour. 2010 North Avenida Republica de Cuba, Tampa, Florida 33605
5. Fort Brooke Parking Garage - Tampa
On the east bank of the Hillsborough River in Tampa near Hillsborough Bay, In 1823, built and named Fort Brooke after its commander, Col. George Mercer Brooke, became a vital outpost during the two Seminole Indian wars. The main fort sat on the site of today's Tampa Convention Center.
Seminole Indians began their march from Fort Brooke where the massacre of Francis Dade and 108 of his men occurred. They ended their march in Fort Dade in Ocala.
Two cannons from the fort currently reside on the University of Tampa campus.
Some say they have heard the ghostly sounds of Native Americans drumming and chanting, and strange shadow figures have been witnessed in the structure.
6. Miami River Inn
The Miami River Inn has been providing travelers to the area with a relaxing place to stay since 1910. However, employees and some guests of the Inn have reported paranormal activity such as odd noises and the random slamming of doors.
People also claim that at 11 in the evening, if you are on the first floor you can hear people coming in the front door. The ghostly visitor appears to throw things around and shakes door knobs.
7. The Biltmore Hotel - Miami
The Biltmore Hotel was built in 1926 and became the vital location for those looking for a grand hotel experience. During the break out of World War II, the hotel was converted into a hospital for returning soldiers. There in the makeshift hospital is where some of those soldiers drew their last breath.
The Biltmore Hotel was eventually restored to its former glory and became a hotel that the wealthy and powerful enjoyed when away from home.
For guests and employees of the Biltmore, it is considered one of the haunted places in Miami, due to experiencing paranormal activity.
Reportings of ghosts of soldiers who lost their lives in the hotel continue to roam its hallways to this day. Witnesses claim to have seen men wandering the grounds, in what can only be described as old uniforms worn by the military during WWII.
The thirteenth floor was the location where Thomas “Fatty” Walsh, a gangster, was murdered.The elevator reportedly will randomly go to the 13 floor without anyone in the elevator. People on the floor can smell his cigars as well as see his ghost wandering the halls.