While Florida is often most famous for its sunny skies, great beaches, and world-famous attractions. Paranormal enthusiasts love exploring its other side – all of the haunted places in Florida. Florida is renowned for its ghostly encounters, inexplicable occurrences, and lingering spirits due to centuries of war, pirates, and shipwrecks.
It is no secret that Florida has a rich history of paranormal activity, ghost stories, and strange occurrences. Long-term residents know that strange things happen here. The Sunshine State is home to some of the most haunted locations in the country, which is good news for brave souls looking for these strange things.
You may encounter mysterious voices, shadowy figures, cold spots, or other scary things if you venture into some of these haunted places!
Bellamy Bridge – Marianna
Bellamy Bridge is one of Florida‘s oldest bridges. This bridge was built in 1914 and is part of the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail in Jackson County. The site has a reputation for being haunted and is the site of one of the best-known ghost stories in Florida.
The story is that Elizabeth Jane Bellamy, who passed away in 1837, haunts the bridge and surrounding swamp to search for her husband, whose resting place is about fifteen miles away.
Be sure to visit the Bellamy Bridge if you find yourself in Marianna, where Elizabeth’s ghost has reportedly been seen. Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is open daily and free to visit.
Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine
St. Augustine is home to the Castillo de San Marcos, a National Monument. According to local lore, it is said to be haunted by ghostly figures. Over the years, staff members have witnessed paranormal occurrences such as shadow figures and ghosts of dead soldiers.
Ghost stories about the fortress were a featured on Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, including strange disappearances and an apparition of a woman wearing a white dress. According to night guards, the property has been haunted by the ghosts of Spanish soldiers.
Many St. Augustine ghost tours include a stop at Castillo de San Marcos, where you can explore other haunted sites after dark with a guide.
Old Jail – St. Augustine
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Henry Flagler built this iconic building in 1891. A prison held a total of 72 prisoners at a time and served the city for more than 60 years. Despite no longer housing prisoners, many believe that the Old Jail is still an active prison for tortured souls caught between worlds.
Visit here for an unforgettable and weird experience. In addition to seeing actual weapons used in crimes, you will also hear about jail hangings and maximum security cells.
Tour guides, visitors, and others have felt cold spots and heard shuffling feet inside the Old Jail. Also seen in the central cell block is the prominent shadowy figure of Sheriff Perry, who weighed 300 pounds and stood 6’5″ tall.
The Old Jail has been the subject of many paranormal investigations, and many photographs have been taken of orbs, shadows, and streaks of light inside and outside the jail.
The Artist House
The Artist House is the prior home of Robert Eugene Otto and his allegedly haunted doll – “Robert the Doll.”
It was reported that Robert moved from window to window by himself and was overheard having entire conversations with Gene when no one else was present. Robert’s laughter could not be attributed to any family member or staff member, regardless of where he was in the house.
While Otto studied art in New York and Paris, the doll remained stored in the Otto family home at 534 Eaton Street in Key West. On May 3, 1930, Otto married Annette Parker in Paris.
Upon inheriting his family’s Key West mansion, Gene’s turret room on the second floor became Robert the Doll’s old bedroom. According to local folklore, Gene spent his days alone in his mansion, painting with his old friend Robert, who was also an artist by then.
Until Otto’s death in 1974, the couple lived at the Otto family home in Key West. In 1982, his wife died. The Eaton Street home containing the doll was then sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for 20 years until it was sold to the current owners, who operate it as a guest house.
After being donated to the Old Post Office and Customhouse in October of 1994, the doll became a popular tourist attraction at the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida.
Currently, the house is a bed and breakfast called the Artist House. You can also stay in Robert’s old bedroom if visiting the museum isn’t enough!
East Martello Museum Key West – Home Of “Robert the Doll”
Known as one of Florida’s most haunted places, the East Martello Fort is perhaps the spookiest place in Key West. Key West’s Fort East Martello Museum is the permanent home of Robert the Doll. Beware if you visit Robert in the Fort East Martello Museum. He has been known to curse anyone who takes his photo without asking him first!
Robert the Doll
Robert the Doll, a child’s toy on display inside the museum, is one of the spirits that capture the curiosity of paranormal experts. A servant who worked for his parents gave Robert to Robert Eugene Otto, a local artist.
He blamed the doll for several inexplicable events throughout his lifetime, mostly during his childhood. A different voice could be heard responding to his dialogue with the beauty. It is believed that the doll is cursed and possessed.
Visitors to the museum report his facial expression changes inside the glass case. Other mysterious occurrences have also been reported, including orbs of light, strange sounds, and shadows.
Gilbert’s Bar House of Refuge – Stuart
Initially built in 1876 as a refuge for shipwrecked sailors, this Florida landmark is a testament to the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which constructed ten houses of refuge along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
Image Credit: Historical Society of Martin County
Among the original ten houses of refuge, Gilbert’s is the only one that remains standing on Florida’s coast. It is possible to take guided tours of the building and learn about its fascinating and haunted history. The kitchen hasn’t been operational since the 1940s, and guests have smelled beef stew’s aroma.
Cold spots have been reported in various locations within the building, and apparitions have been seen walking the rocks on the beach.
The village of Cassadaga is located in Lake Helen, Florida, about 30 minutes from Orlando. Tourists typically don’t go to this destination, but supernatural connoisseurs do. Cassadaga feels like a completely different world, almost as if you have returned in time. Cassadaga has extraordinary energy. Healing energy is one of Cassadaga’s most famous attributes. A psychic, medium or spiritual healer can be found here, or the place has a rich history of supernatural activity.
There are some of the most reputable psychic mediums and healers at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, which has been around for 126 years (founded in 1894). Choosing a medium or healer from the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp website is accessible! Others specialize in contacting deceased loved ones, telling your future, healing the spirit, and more!
There are also church services, workshops, and a spiritual bookstore at the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp if you’re interested in learning more.
Old Lighthouse – St. Augustine
On the National Register of Historic Places, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is a popular St. Augustine attraction. Many people are unaware that it was the site of a tragic accident that killed three young girls during its construction in the late 1800s. The three girls have been attributed to strange occurrences at this site over the past 145 years, including hearing footsteps in the lighthouse when no one is there and giggling at night in the tower.
Reports of eerie meetings, strange sensations, and inexplicable sights and sounds have been made. 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 two daughters of Hezekiah Pity, who drowned when a building cart they were playing in broke loose and slid into the bay.
There has been evidence of the girl’s laughter heard by guests, and some of her blue velvet dress was seen on the eldest daughter when she was last seen alive.
It has been observed that the figure of Joseph Andreu can be seen at the top of the lighthouse even when no one is smoking, and footsteps can often be heard on the stairs even when the lighthouse is closed to the public. Take a tour, climb the steps and discover the haunted spirits of this historic lighthouse.
Spanish Military Hospital – St. Augustine
Supernatural activity is abundant at the Spanish Military Hospital, a replica of the original building near the Spanish Quarter. This hospital has served thousands of people throughout its history, including severely injured soldiers from several wars. It is estimated that thousands of sick and injured people were treated during 1784-1821, and that man died.
There were many amputations and yellow fever epidemics. In addition to sick beds sliding across the floor, the smell of sulfur, and the tortured moans and cries of disembodied souls, visitors report paranormal experiences.
Under the building, piles of human bones were discovered during renovations of its waterlines. Several sources say the bones likely belonged to a Timucuan tribe, and the building was constructed on their burial site.
Guests still report ghostly encounters as they tour the hospital, including objects moving and shaking without explanation, orbs and elastic appearing in photographs, and feelings of overwhelming fear.
The Biltmore Hotel – Coral Gables – Miami
Coral Gables is home to the historic Biltmore Hotel. This luxury hotel is considered to be one of Florida’s most haunted.
A murder occurred on the 13th floor of the Biltmore in 1926. The property was converted into a military hotel during World War II and was abandoned in 1968. In the 1980s, the city renovated the Biltmore, but ghost stories still surround the hotel.
Check out the haunted Biltmore and feel the paranormal energy. Perhaps you’ll brave the 13th floor!
Tampa Theatre – Tampa
In 1926, Tampa Theatre was a non-profit Florida theatre located in Tampa Bay. On the property that would become the theatre, a woman was killed by a carriage, and her ghost is said to haunt the theatre. A spooky sighting of a woman in a white gown occurred in the mezzanine hallway.
Key West Cemetery – Key West
South Florida’s Key West Cemetery is one of the most haunted places in Florida. A catastrophic hurricane in 1846 led to the establishment of this beachside cemetery in 1847. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people are buried in this cemetery.
You can learn more about Key West Cemetery’s history and the people buried there by visiting it.
Spook Hill – Lake Wales
One of the most haunted places in Florida can be found in the town of Lake Wales in central Florida. In gravity hills, cars are parked in neutral and roll uphill, not downhill, because they have a magnetic charge.
Although Spook Hill appeared to have a downhill slope from the top, pioneers on horseback noticed that their horses had difficulty walking on one side of the hill.
Spook Hill was the site of a Native American chief’s death from an alligator battle long before the pioneers arrived. A rumor that this battle continues in the afterlife explains Spook Hill’s unusual gravity.
This theory is creepy because the Native American chief was buried at the same place where the Pioneers’ horses stopped.
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Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job without breaking the bank. Nikki is always in search of off-the-beaten-track experiences and unique stays. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles annually and has visited 74 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com or follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.