Is the Sunshine State All That Sunny? Here Are Florida’s Creepiest Spots
Haunted| | By Leah Hennessy
Forget about your Disney World and white-sand beaches; Florida is not the tropical paradise it’s all cracked up to be. There are enough paranormal mysteries and occult disturbances happening in the Sunshine State to convert any nonbeliever. Deep inside the muggy swamps lie some of the country’s most haunted spots.
You won’t be needing a bikini for this spooky trip!
1. The Whole Town of Cassadaga
The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp emerged sometime in the late 1800s after George P. Colby was told by his spirit guide, Seneca, to travel south. Cassadaga is often described as being “The Psychic Center of the World.” The Cassadaga Hotel is a notable haunting spot, where friendly ghosts like Arthur have been hanging around for decades.
2. Bellamy Bridge, Marianna
Bellamy Bridge is arguably the most popular haunted destination in Florida. The bridge was built in 1914, but the legend began 80 years earlier, on Elizabeth Bellamy’s wedding day. Long story short, Elizabeth’s wedding dress caught on fire and she ran into the river to stop the flames. However, she died an agonizing death a few days later. On multiple occasions, people hiking around the area have claimed witness to a burning bride.
3. Tampa Theatre, Tampa
Not only is the Tampa Theatre an elegant reminder of theatre’s beautiful past, but it’s also a breeding ground for paranormal activity. Foster Fink Finley worked and practically lived in the theatre from 1930 until he died from a heart attack in the projection booth in 1965. Nowadays freaky occurrences usually take place in the projection booth, like flickering lights and missing items. According to employees, Fink is a friendly ghost, though!
4. Arcadia Opera House, Arcadia
Today, the Arcadia Opera House operates as a museum and antique shop. This hasn’t always been the case since its establishment in 1914, though. As the story goes, a child jumped out of a second-story window and died, but she has yet to leave the premises. Many have witnessed a little girl’s shadow in the window, as well as heard footsteps and laughter coming from the seemingly empty second floor. Check it out for yourself to see if the speculations are true!
5. Seven Sisters Inn, Ocala
The Seven Sisters Inn in Ocala is an impressive Victorian building with an exterior that screams “haunted.” Charles Rheinauer became mayor of Ocala in 1906 and took residence inside the home until his death there some years later. Guests of the bed and breakfast have described the inexplicable sounds of heavy footsteps and wispy period dresses. Syfy’s Ghost Hunters confirmed a paranormal presence there in 2008.
6. Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale
Frank and Ivy Stranahan were early pioneers of the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area, and today their home is a sentimental piece of history along Fort Lauderdale’s River Walk. Unfortunately for the Stranahan family, tragedy struck in 1929 when Frank was diagnosed with cancer before ultimately committing suicide. It’s said that his spirit still lingers inside the historic home. Visitors can check out the house nowadays to get a better picture of early Florida life.
7. Biltmore Hotel, Miami
Miami’s glamorous Biltmore Hotel didn’t always exist as a hotel. In 1926, the Biltmore operated as a venue for fashion shows and parties for the rich and famous. At a party being held on the 13th floor, a gangster was shot and killed by another partygoer in the hotel’s first fatality. Guests today report loud music and shouting coming from the spooky floor in the middle of the night.
8. Old Jail, St. Augustine
Henry Flagler built St. Augustine’s Old Jail in 1891 because the original jail could be seen from his luxurious hotel. The Old Jail operated as the city’s only jail for over 60 years (until 1953). Apparently the conditions were gruesome, and many inmates often died from negligence. One of the most common complaints from neighbors is the sound of footsteps walking outside. The shuffling, clunky noises of men in chains can be heard day and night!
9. Ma Barker’s House, Ocklawaha
Infamous Ma Barker and her son, Freddy, were killed inside her Ocklawaha home in one of the longest shootouts in FBI and American history. It took more than four hours and 2,000 bullets to bring them down. The home is up for sale and current owners are asking for around $1 million. Bullet holes and ghosts included!
10. Wakulla Springs Lodge, Wakulla Springs
Inside the historic Wakulla Springs Lodge is a large, stuffed alligator on display in a glass case. “Old Joe” the alligator was wrongfully murdered one night by a poacher. He was beloved by all, and Edward Ball (the lodge owner) even placed a $5,000 reward for information regarding the murder. Numerous guests over the years have noticed the alligator moving inside his case, letting us know that Old Joe still has something to say!