From lighthouses, old jails and even beach resorts, Florida haunted places encompass a variety of unique locations. If you're up for a little ghost hunting, take a self-guided tour, or better yet, use one of the ghost hunting companies that offer tourists a look into what makes Florida uniquely friendly to apparitions.
Haunting Stories from Florida
The Island Hotel and Restaurant
The Island Hotel and Restaurant is located at Cedar Key, directly west of Ocala. Cedar Key was a major port for shipping supplies for the Confederate Army. The building itself, originally a general store, has survived numerous hurricanes, tropical storms, and even a fire. Locals and visitors alike claim that the hotel is home to a total of 13 different spirits. In the basement, there is the spirit of a little boy that is still hiding after he was accused of pilfering from the premises. There is also Bessie Gibbs, former owner of the hotel. Apparently, she was full of personality in life, and her spirit enjoys playing tricks on hotel guests. She likes to lock guests out of their rooms, rearrange furniture and straighten paintings on the wall. The most common apparition, is that of a Confederate soldier standing guard on the second floor balcony. While he has been seen the most, no one knows his full story.
One of the better known Florida haunted places is Umatilla Cemetery. Located just outside of Umatilla, many visitors have heard a variety of unsettling noises and local rumor says that the spirits in this haunted cemetery are anything but friendly. People have reported hearing a woman scream or calling for help. Others have said they felt like they were being watched. It seems that while there is very strong activity at this cemetery, it is perhaps limited to just one or two spirits although local town talk credits quite a few apparitions.
Sunland, also known as Sunnyland, was originally a hospital for those with tuberculosis. It was converted into a hospital for the mentally insane and then later a hospital for the severely handicapped. Reports are that the hospital was horrible in every sense of the word. Lack of appropriate patient care, overcrowding, filthy accommodations, and immoral orderlies were all common. The hospital was closed in 1985, and finally torn down in 1999. Today, there is a park with a playground where the hospital once stood. Perhaps a playground is fitting since it seems that the spirits that reside here are mostly children. People report seeing apparitions at night and some people even report smelling the aroma of roses.
Old Courthouse in Bartow
The Old Courthouse in Bartow, Florida has certainly seen and heard its share of interesting history. Many people have heard a man scream from the basement. Supposedly, it is the spirit of a man who died in an explosion there. There are also tales of two male spirits. These are the Mann brothers who were lynched by a mob for committing murder and their bodies put on display at the Old Courthouse. There is also a roomful of ancient Indian artifacts. People visiting this room have reported feeling as if someone is brushing up against them. Workers say that things are moved and electrical equipment mysteriously stops working and then suddenly begins functioning normally. No one has an explanation for this phenomenon.
Finding Florida Haunted Places
There are many places in Florida that are allegedly haunted; however, be mindful that many places require visitors to obtain permission to enter. Your best bet to catch some interesting haunts is to go through a company that provides tours:
- Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp: Offers bi-monthly nighttime orb photography tours
- St. Augustine Ghost Hearse: Find ghosts on Florida's oldest island while riding in the ghost hearse.
- Haunts of Daytona: Mid-night walks along the beach reveal unsettled spirits
- Haunted Kissimmee: Visit variety of haunted places in this popular Florida location