Finding a waterfall in Florida, much less a haunted one, seems impossible. However, two of the three natural waterfalls in this tropical state are indeed haunted with tales of lost souls and the devil.
Sightings at Falling Waters State Park, Chipley
The Falling Waters State Park development began in 1963 and sits on a hill that's 322 feet above sea level. The waterfall is generated from a stream and plunges about 100 ft over a cliff into a 20-foot sink hole and travels underground for the remainder of its length. Amenities of the park include a full-service campground and hiking trails. There's also a lake open for swimming and fishing. However, visitors are prohibited from swimming in the pool at the falls.
The history of the Falling Waters waterfall lends itself to many ghost stories. For example, the waterfall was once used to power a grist mill. An archaeological project of the University of West Florida unearthed 1,500-year-old Native American artifacts in the state park premises. Other historical highlights of the park include an oil well from the 1900s, and remnants of a whiskey distillery.
One haunting story about Falling Waters dates back to the 1950s. Supposedly, a woman and her three children disappeared while visiting the area. A group of teenagers was frightened after hearing bloodcurdling screams coming from the waterfall area. Visitors claim to see the spirits of the woman and her children wandering about the park as though they're still lost and are trying to find their way out of the park.
The hike to the falls is made using a two-mile loop boardwalk trail. You have to manage a series of stairs and steps to get to two vantage points overlooking the cylindrical shaped sinkhole. You may encounter an apparition or something more sinister. One park hiker claims she was stalked by a strange dark creature.
Backpacker Verse features this story as told by the woman named Jenni. She tells how she was hiking the trail that leads to the falls when she noticed this strange hooded figure. Jenni claims this very tall and painfully thin human-shaped figure was dressed in all black. It stalked her as she made her way toward the falls. She states that the creature growled at her in what she described as a strange and terrifying sound. Is this just an urban legend or could it be an actual eyewitness account of some evil entity? This video recounts the hiker's tale while viewing the waterfall, but doesn't claim the stalker was Bigfoot.
You'll need to know this information if you plan to head to the falls:
- 1130 State Park Road, Chipley, FL 32428
- Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown, open all year
- Fees: $5 per vehicle
The Tale of Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, Gainesville
Devil's Millhopper State Geological Site in Gainesville, Florida, is located about four miles from downtown Gainesville. This unique sinkhole waterfall features a natural miniature rainforest. Designated historic site, this natural sinkhole is 120' deep and a whopping 500' wide. There are multiple mini waterfalls that trickle down the sinkhole into the pool below.
The nature trail to Devil's Millhopper encircles the rim of the sinkhole. In 2019, a new series of 132 steps broken up by platforms replaced the old stairs destroyed by a hurricane. You can actually descend the staircases into the sinkhole to the bottom where you can look across the pool. The water flows year-round, especially during the rainy season. The park name isn't happenchance. There's an old story about the devil and this unique sinkhole.
According to the tale, the devil has been seen at the bottom of the sinkhole. This spooky story of the devil living in the sinkhole emerged when bones were discovered at the bottom of the sinkhole. It's said that the devil lures his victims into the sinkhole and then feasts on them. True to this tale of a feast, the site has yielded a wealth of fossils from animal to plant life, but no more human remains have been found. There are a few versions of this tale of the sinkhole and it being the home of the devil.
According to the Florida State Park website, the most prominent ghost story is about the devil and a Native American maiden. The devil saw the young woman and instantly fell in love with her. He became obsessed and decided he must have her.
One night, he stole into the village and kidnapped the woman. The tribe woke up to the woman's blood-curdling screams and gave chase as the devil ran away, carrying the woman over his shoulder. To escape the enraged men of her tribe, the devil created the sinkhole and jumped into its depth with his terrified victim. Visitors to the sinkhole have reported hearing screams coming from its depths. Some claim to hear strange moaning sounds and low growling and snarls.
If you plan to visit, you'll want to know the address and when it's open.
- 4732 Millhopper Rd., Gainesville, FL 32653
- 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Wed-Sun
- Fee: $4 per vehicle (8 passengers), pedestrians and bikes are $2 each
Visiting Haunted Waterfalls in Florida
You will find two natural waterfalls in Florida that are said to be haunted. You may wish to plan your visit during the cooler months of fall or winter.