THE PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE       FLORIDA   APOLLO 1 LAUNCH SITE (CAPE CANAVERAL) BACKGROUND: The decommissioned launch pad, located in Cape Canaveral with its twin Launch Complex 37, were used by NASA to launch Saturn 1 and IB rockets as part of the Apollo program. After the decommissioning of LC-34, the umbilical tower and service structure were razed, leaving only the launch platform standing at the center of the pad. It serves as a memorial to the crew of Apollo 1. PHENOMENA: LC-37 is believed to be haunted by the ghosts of Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee, the three astronauts who perished during a pre-launch test on January 27, 1967 when the cabin of their Apollo I capsule was engulfed in flames, temporarily putting a halt to America's space program. Some NASA employees and visitors claim to have heard screams and experienced an overall dark feeling when near the pad. At one point NASA stopped allowing visitors to the site due to the strange occurrences. NASA has never publicly commented on the reports the Launch Complex-34 is haunted. ARCADIA OPERA HOUSE (ARCADIA) BACKGROUND: Built in 1906, it played host to both silent films and later “talking pictures”. It has hosted political rallies,  religious services during WWII and school dances and graduations. Today it contains a museum and antique shop but the seating area and balcony still exist as do some vintage theater items which may be attached to by previous owners. PHENOMENA: One of the most common claims is the sound of large crowds of people inside the auditorium with late-night staff reporting feeling hundreds of people standing around them. At times, this has resulted in police being called in for fear of intruders. The smell of popcorn, phantom footsteps and disembodied voices are also common reports, and people claim to hear the laughter of children and feeling small, cold hands wrapping around their own. One day, a woman was stopped at a traffic light and looked up to see a little girl staring at her. She sat through three red lights staring at the figure until somebody finally honked and when she glanced back, the girl had disappeared from the window. ASHLEY’S RESTAURANT (ROCKLEDGE) BACKGROUND: Originally called Jack's Tavern, it was opened in 1933. Over the years the restaurant has exchanged hands a few times, and has gone by such names as Cooney's Tavern, the Mad Duchess, the Loose Caboose, Sparrow Hawk, and Gentleman Jim's. In 1985 it became Ashley's Restaurant. The Tudor-style wood and stucco building is furnished with old stained-glass windows and antique pictures and windows on the dark wood walls. Booth and table seating flank either side of the downstairs bar area, which is overseen by tables along the railing of the upstairs dining area. Guests can feel vibrations throughout the building as trains pass on the railroad nearby. PHENOMENA: In 1934, the mutilated and badly burned body of 19-year-old Ethel Allen was found in Eau Gallie on the bank of the Indian River. Her skull had been crushed and her throat slit. She was last seen at Jack's Tavern and it's believed her murder is the main source of the hauntings here, much of which happens in the women's restroom. A manager reported seeing the feet of a woman dressed in 1930s-era shoes inside a stall, but found it quite empty as she left. Female patrons claim to see the apparition of a young woman in the bathroom mirror, while others have been pushed by invisible hands while going up and down the stairs. Lights flicker on and off during the night, alarms go off without explanation and glasses and dishes fall and break without cause. BLUE ANCHOR BAR (DELRAY BEACH) BACKGROUND: Originally built in the mid-1800’s in London and existed there for almost 150 years. The facade of the pub was then shipped from England to the US in the 1990’s. When in London, it counted many famous and infamous patrons among its visitors. Winston Churchill dined there and Jack the Ripper claimed a couple of his victims right outside its door after they had finished dinner. PHENOMENA: Bertha Starkey was a longtime patron of the pub and was caught by her husband in her lover’s arms when he returned from sea. In a fit of passion, he killed her on the spot. It’s said the her ghost still visits the pub with staff hearing her spirit appearing around 10 p.m., the time of her murder. Each night, "The Ship's Bell” is rung which is said to somehow repel her advances. Candles will go out only to re-ignite seconds later and heavy kitchen pots sometimes lift themselves off large hooks and crash to the floor. CAPTAIN TONY’S SALOON (KEY WEST) BACKGROUND: When first constructed in 1852, it was an ice house that doubled as the city morgue. In the 1890s, it housed a wireless telegraph station whose most important utilization came in 1898, during the Spanish–American War. The battleship Maine was destroyed, and as the news came from Havana to Key West, it was reported all over the world from this building. In 1912, the building was home to a cigar factory. Later, it was a bordello and a bar popular with the Navy until it was forced out of business. After that, it became several speakeasies, the last of which was named The Blind Pig, specializing in gambling, women, and bootleg rum. By the 1930s, a local named Josie Russell bought the business and created Sloppy Joe's Bar where Ernest Hemingway spent most of his evenings between 1933 and 1937. In 1938, the building's landlord raised the rent one dollar per week, so Russell and his customers picked up the entire bar and moved everything to Sloppy Joe's current location. The bar went through several changes until 1958, when Captain Tony Tarracino, a local charter boat captain, purchased the bar and named it Captain Tony's Saloon. PHENOMENA: When the pub expanded, it incorporated a tree into it that was once used for hangings including that of a woman who murdered her two sons and husband and was hung in a blue dress still covered in blood. One man reported getting third degree burns on his hands an hour after touching the tree. The hanged woman was the first ghost to haunt the saloon and has been the subject of many strange encounters mainly focused on the ladies room. One woman reported finding a stall inside locked. When she chose an adjacent stall, she noticed that the first was unoccupied. Later, she went back in to find the same stall still locked and watched the outside door to the restroom open and close by itself. She returned to the same stall she used earlier, then heard the door of the adjacent stall unlock and slam. Quite unnerved now, she looked to see what was happening but saw no one else in there, but the neighboring stall was again locked. CASA MONICA HOTEL (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: Built in 1888 by architect Franklin W. Smith. Around 4 months after the grand opening, Henry Flagler, the founder of Standard Oil, purchased the hotel and re-named it Cordova. Under his ownership the hotel experienced a period of great success but he eventually abandoned it after the stock market crashed in 1932. Throughout the sixties and seventies the building was used as the county courthouse and it wasn’t until the mid-nineties that Richard C Kessler purchased the building and invested $1.2 million to restore it to its former glory, reopening it as the Casa Monica again. PHENOMENA: Management chooses not to acknowledge any ghostly presences there, but housekeepers and staff are more than willing to. Many are anxious about cleaning on the fourth floor as maids report hearing kids running, playing and laughing in the hallway but find it empty when they pop out to admonish them. Radios and alarm clocks turn on in empty rooms and faucets turn on by themselves. The housekeeping department now allows maids to work together to clean rooms. There are reports of apparitions dressed in 1920s clothing in many areas. One is room 511 where a man once checked in and hanged himself. The room is said to have icy breezes and cold spots and footsteps are heard inside when its unoccupied. Room 411 is the site of the apparition of a man in old fashioned clothes and a couple dressed in 1920s garb who have been sighted occasionally. CASSADEGA HOTEL (CASSEDEGA) BACKGROUND: Was constructed in the year of 1928. Prior to this, another building stood in its place that was built in the latter part of the 1800s but was destroyed by fire in 1926. In the earliest days of the Cassadaga Hotel, the structure attracted individuals that would come to participate in the many programs that were sponsored during the winter months in this area of Florida. These programs were issued through the group that founded this quaint town, the Southern Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association. It was not at all unusual for those that considered themselves to be Spiritualists or those interested in the appeal of Spiritualism to participate in these programs. PHENOMENA: The hotel’s resident spirit is a man that went by the name of Arthur, a friendly Irish tenor that resided in room 22. According to locals, he occupied the hotel in the 1930s and always placed a chair at the end of the second floor near the window to sit and watch what was happening outside. Today, guests and locals claim that he still lingers here with many catching a whiff of alcohol or the distinct smell of a cigar. Many standing at the end of the hall where Arthur sat claim to feel his presence and the sensation someone is tapping them on the shoulder. Other guests have captured pictures of orbs and other manner of standard phenomena. CASTILLO DE SAN MARCOS (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: The oldest and largest masonry fort in the continental United States; it is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine. It was designed by the Spanish engineer Ignacio Daza, with construction beginning in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort's construction was ordered by Governor Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after a raid by the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668 that destroyed much of St. Augustine and damaged the existing wooden fort. Work proceeded under the administration of Guerra's successor, Manuel de Cendoya in 1671, and the first coquina stones were laid in 1672. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695, though it would undergo many alterations and renovations over the centuries. PHENOMENA: Inside one of the watchtowers, there have been reports of a light shining from a fixture that has no electricity running to it. A Spanish soldier has been seen standing at the edge of the fort, looking out to sea at sunrise or sunset. In the dungeon, visitors report someone with cold hands touching them while others feel nauseous and cold while walking through. Visitors shooting videos and photos during tours report the appearance of misty shapes and glowing orbs. CORAL GABLES BILTMORE HOTEL (CORAL GABLES) BACKGROUND: In 1925 land developer George E. Merrick joined forces with Biltmore hotel magnate John McEntee Bowman at the height of the Florida land boom to build "a great hotel...which would not only serve as a hostelry to the crowds which were thronging to Coral Gables but also would serve as a center of sports and fashion." In January 1926, ten months and $10 million later, the hotel debuted with a magnificent inaugural that brought people down from northern cities on trains marked "Miami Biltmore Specials." PHENOMENA: The spirit of mobster Fatty Walsh who was killed at the hotel over a gambling dispute is said to haunt the building. He is a benevolent and sometimes good-natured prankster-type of ghost who opens doors for the waitresses as they carry trays, writes messages on mirrors, steals lampshades, turns off lights and messes with elevator buttons that send guests to the wrong floor. There are also reports of a ghostly woman in white believed to be a guest who jumped to her death out of the tower and a couple that has been seen dancing the waltz before fading completely from sight. CUBAN CLUB (TAMPA BAY) BACKGROUND: Constructed in 1917 (to replace an earlier structure on the same site that burned down) to serve as a gathering place for Cuban immigrants in Ybor City. The building has a theater and once included a bowling alley, spa, pharmacy, ballroom, library, and cantina. Decorated with imported tile, stained glass, scraffito spandrels and murals it continues the legacy of the club first established in 1902 as a mutual aid society. PHENOMENA: There are three confirmed deaths in the Cuban Club dating back to the 1920s. An actor committed suicide on stage, a board member was murdered by another over an argument and an 8-year-old boy is said to have drowned in the pool. There are reports of a woman wearing a white dress and red heels who walks up and down a set of stairs, a piano that plays by itself and the sound of a woman crying. People claim to see floating orbs in the clubhouse with many photos of them displayed on the Internet. TRIVIA: The TV shows Ghost Hunters and Dead Files have investigated the Cuban Club, proclaimed the building haunted and it has been dubbed “Club Dead”. DISNEY WORLD (ORLANDO) BACKGROUND: In 1959, Walt Disney Productions began looking for land to house a second resort to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955. Opened on October 1, 1971, the resort is owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks PHENOMENA: The most popular ghost here is said to be that of “George”, a construction worker who died while building the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction who either fell to his death working at the top of the "burning city" scene or had a heavy beam fall on him in 1970, just before the park opened. Since then, cast members always say "good morning" to George when opening and "good night" to him at closing. If they don’t, George will respond by shutting down the ride, make phone calls from an empty control room or show up on ride monitors. At “Spaceship Earth” a little blonde-haired girl has been seen riding in a car with a young boy running in front of her that both vanishing from sight. In the “Tower of Terror” legend has it that a spirit who walks the attraction after hours does so in the wrong direction and will not respond to calls to him before he disappears. Another legend has a woman dispensing the ashes of her young son in the “Haunted Mansion causing visitors to often see his ghost when the nightly fireworks take place. DON CESAR HOTEL (ST. PETE BEACH) BACKGROUND: Rowe's "Pink Lady" opened on January 16, 1928, with an extravagant party attended by the elite of Tampa and St. Petersburg. The hotel quickly became a favorite romping ground for the rich and famous of the Jazz Age including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Clarence Darrow, Al Capone, Lou Gehrig, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Pink Palace continued to attract the rich and famous throughout the Great Depression, thanks in part to a deal made with New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert to house his team during spring training for three years. PHENOMENA: In 1925, Rowe began building this tribute to a beautiful, Spanish opera star named Lucinda who he met while studying in England and attending the opera “Maritana.” The pair quickly fell in love but had to meet secretly because Lucinda’s parents forbade the relationship and sent her back to Spain. Rowe returned to the US heartbroken and after building the hotel, spent much of his time and resources trying to find her. Since his death, staff and guests report seeing a man wearing a Panama hat and a white summer suit walking the property and at times, greeting guests that vanishes when approached. Staff report a range of odd events in the building, especially the 5th where Thomas lived. Housekeepers hear knocking at doors while cleaning the rooms and find no one there and doors open by themselves to allow workers carrying trays to enter unencumbered. A young couple strolling the grounds has been witnessed, the man wearing a white suit and the woman wearing a peasant dress. FLAGLER MANSION (PALM BEACH) BACKGROUND: Henry Flagler, one of the founders of Standard Oil, built Whitehall for his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan. The site of the home was purchased for $50,000 in 1893 by Flagler; later surveyed for construction in July 1900 and the home completed in time for Flagler and his wife to move in on February 6, 1902. Whitehall was to be a winter residence, and Henry gave it to Mary Lily as a wedding present. They would travel to Palm Beach each year in one of their own private railcars, one of which was No. 91. Flagler died of injuries sustained in falling down a flight of marble stairs at Whitehall in 1913, at the age of 83. Mary Lily died four years later, and the home was devised to her niece Louise Clisby Wise Lewis, who sold the property to investors. PHENOMENA: The primary phantom in residence is Flagler himself who likes to make himself known especially in area where his offices were located. His apparition is seen there and lights have been known to dim themselves without reason. Footsteps are heard in unoccupied hallways and rooms and there are numerous orbs photographed in the building, especially inside the dining room and kitchen. FLORIDA SCHOOL FOR BOYS (MARIANNA) BACKGROUND: A reform school operated by the state of Florida in the panhandle town of Marianna from January 1, 1900, to June 30, 2011. For a time, it was the largest juvenile reform institution in the United States. A second campus was opened in the town of Okeechobee in 1955. Throughout its 111-year history, the school gained a reputation for abuse, beatings, rapes, torture, and even murder of students by staff. Despite periodic investigations, changes of leadership, and promises to improve, the allegations of cruelty and abuse continued. After the school failed a state inspection in 2009, the governor ordered a full investigation. Many of the historic and recent allegations of abuse and violence were confirmed by separate investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 2010, and by the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice in 2011. State authorities closed the school permanently in June 2011. PHENOMENA: There are many reports and sightings of activity and the graveyard is a particular hot spot with the bodies of around 50 boys found in unmarked graves. Visitors will report strong feelings of nausea and being touched by an unseen force. Sometimes people claim to have been pushed or sensing something rushing past them. Apparitions are seen walking the grounds close to the building. The dormitory, which saw a fire that killed two staff members and 6 residents in 1914, is a haven of screams and whispers coming from empty rooms along with weird cold spots and objects being moved around on their own. FLORIDA THEATER (JACKSONVILLE) BACKGROUND: Construction began in 1926 and it was established as a seven-story concrete fireproof building with a roof garden and with an emphasis on showing movies and live performances. The site of the theater was previously occupied by a police station and jail that was demolished. Completion of the theater took only one year and was opened to the public on April 8, 1927. At the time of the opening, the theater was the largest in Florida. Opening night had several programs featuring fanfare of the American Legion Bugle Corps, a live stage show, and the film Let It Rain. It was open from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM showing a variety of films, news reels, or a stage presentation. In 1938 the roof garden was closed and replaced with offices to be rented out. By the 1970s, the theater was in decline and in 1980 it was forced to close. In 1983, the newly renovated theater was reopened to the public. PHENOMENA: There have always been odd goings-on here like electrical interference, doors opening and closing and unexplained cold spots. There are claims of small, shadowy people darting about in the seating area that at times pull pranks on people. The ghost of a man is seen throughout the theater accompanied by a feeling of his presence and phantom footsteps. A misty form is often seen in the balcony that takes the shape of a person. A visitor snapping photos claims at one point it waved at his camera. Some say the spirit of a motion picture technician from the early days may be haunting the theater. TRIVIA: It gained huge notoriety in 1956 when Elvis Presley visited there much to the dismay of locals who deemed his act too provocative for the times. GOOD SHEPHERD HOSPICE (AUBURNDALE) BACKGROUND: The current hospice was a former hospital. Reportedly, there were an average of about 2-3 deaths reported here each week and there are claims that around half the people who live in the local community pass away in the building from old age or illness. PHENOMENA: The haunting of this location is attributed to a woman named Mary Morrow, who was the wife of one of the doctors. Her apparition has been reported patients and staff who describe her wearing mid-1900s clothes and walking through various areas of the building. She is actually a quite friendly spirit who never really bothers anyone. Staff says they sometimes experience light headiness and nausea in the office areas. HOUSE OF REFUGE AT GILBERT’S BAR (HUTCHISON ISLAND) BACKGROUND: Situated on the coastal rocks of the Anastasia Formation, the house was one of ten houses of refuge commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for the United States Life-Saving Service as havens for shipwrecked sailors and travelers along the barren east coast of Florida. It is the only one that remains today. It offered shelter to the survivors of the Georges Valentine shipwreck in 1904. Captain William E. Rea was the Keeper of the House of Refuge at the time and aided the seven survivors. On October 17, during the same storm, the Spanish ship Cosme Calzado wrecked three miles north of the Georges Valentine, but fifteen of the sixteen men survived. The surviving crew joined the survivors of the Georges Valentine at the House of Refuge. The facility also served as a lookout for enemy submarines in World War II. PHENOMENA: There is a ghost of an old sailor that has been seen sitting on the rocks outside the house, staring out into the sea or walking around Gilbert’s Bar with patrons reporting a disembodied voice ordering them to “get out”. There are odd smells in the house, sometimes old pipe tobacco or something cooking in the kitchen. Other claims include cold spots, disembodied footsteps and a masked figure. HUGUENOT CEMETERY (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: The cemetery dates back to 1821 when the city was in need of a burial ground for non-Catholics. The cemetery serves as the final resting place for thousands of St. Augustine citizens. PHENOMENA: Despite claims of apparitions, orbs, strange lights and spooky noises, the one haunting that rises abve all else concerns a man named John Stickney. He was buried here at the Huguenot, but his adult children wanted to exhume his remains and move them closer to their own homes. The grave diggers executing this took a break and walked away from the site for a bit. While they were elsewhere, grave robbers broke into Stickney’s coffin and stole the gold teeth right out of his mouth. Since then, visitors report seeing him wandering the cemetery, searching for his valuable teeth. INTERSTATE 4 “DEAD ZONE” (SEMINOLE COUNTY) BACKGROUND: I-4 was one of the first Interstate Highways to be constructed in Florida, with the first section opening between Plant City and Lakeland in 1959. By early 1960, the Howard Frankland Bridge was opened to traffic, as well as the segment from the Hillsborough Avenue/US 301 junction in Tampa to Plant City. PHENOMENA: For many years, this stretch has been considered haunted, with many deadly accidents and reports of unexplained phenomena taking place there. It’s said that in 1886, a family of German immigrants, two adults and two children, died of yellow fever. The road was built over their graves and since then, strange weather events and bizarre apparitions including phantom truckers and hitchhikers, have terrified motorists. Some people believe that Hurricane Donna’s path across the state in 1960, passing directly over that stretch of I-4, is related to a “curse” that exists in that area. Witnesses claim that cellphones pick up strange voices that some are convinced represent the voices of the dead. In 2010, the ECFRPC using GIS technology performed an analysis to determine if this identified zone had an increased fatality rate related to crashes. The analysis which compared this section of I-4 to several other dangerous I-4 sections found that while the dead zone area did not have the highest accident or fatality rate, it did identify that the percentage of fatality to accident was significantly higher in this location. JONATHAN DICKINSON STATE PARK (HOBE SOUND) BACKGROUND: The park is named after Jonathan Dickinson, a Quaker merchant who was shipwrecked in 1696, with his family and others, on the Florida coast near the present-day park. He wrote a journal describing their encounters with local tribes, and their journey up the coast to St. Augustine. A man known as Vince “Trapper” Nelson homesteaded on the banks of the Loxahatchee River after coming to the area from New Jersey in the 1930s, living off the land trapping and selling furs. He soon became known as the “Wildman of the Loxahatchee”. Nelson liked to play pranks like swinging out over the river on a rope to scare tour boat parties. He was a ladies man and many wealthy, married women would sneak away to his cabin for romantic trysts. In 1968, he was found dead from a gunshot wound to the chest and while police ruled his death a suicide, many insisted it was murder. His enemies included his own brother  who had just gotten out of prison for murder and blamed Trapper for setting him up. Locals maintain the killer was a jealous husband or a disgruntled landowner who believed Trapper had “stolen” his land. After he died the state acquired his land, and deeded it to the park. PHENOMENA: Campers report snickering laughter outside at night and awakening to a trashed campsite. One time, two men docked their canoe at Trapper’s cabin and one was struck by something unseen. Others report seeing Trapper waving from the dock, trying to get their attention or tapped on the shoulder inside his former cabin. Sometimes he warns people to stay away from Indian burial grounds. If you’re a female camper, you may get patted on your on their rear end while hearing a man’s voice whispering, “Will you go out with me?” KEY WEST CEMETERY (KEY WEST) BACKGROUND: In 1847 it was established at its current location after an 1846 hurricane washed dead bodies from the earlier cemetery out of the coastal sand dunes on Whitehead Point near the West Martello Towers. An African Memorial Cemetery was dedicated beside the West Martello Tower in 2009. Slaves, ill from the sea voyage to slavery in "The New World," were buried there prior to the US Civil War. Keeping with the overall laid-back vibe of Key West, many headstones display inscriptions like, “I told you I was sick” or “Devoted Fan of Julio Iglesias.”  PHENOMENA: The spirit of a Bahamian woman who watches over the graveyeard is very prominent here. She will approach anyone she feels is disrespecting the graveyard or its inhabitants by sitting or leaning on a tombstone in full view or approaching the offender with a stern look on her face before simply vanishing. The ghost of Capt. Philip Cosgrove is said to haunt the cemetery and some of the neighboring properties. Other eerie encounters include disembodied voices, shadows and strange orbs of light. LEACH MANSION (JENSEN BEACH) BACKGROUND: The Mount Elizabeth Archeological Site, also known as Racey's Tuckahoe, St. Joseph's Novitiate or the Mount Elizabeth Indian Mound is a prehistoric midden and an archaeological site in Jensen Beach. The mansion was built in 1936 when the Leach family first moved to the area. The building was purchased by the Florida Institute of Technology in 1972 but closed down in 1986 with the property standing vacant for over a decade until it became the site of Indian River Side Park with the first phase opening to the public in 2001. PHENOMENA: Phenomena at the mansion include extreme cold spots in hallways, orbs seen throughout the building and shadow people seen in an otherwise vacant building. The auditorium is said to be extremely haunted with reports of piano music and the sound of a young boy singing. It’s said when one enters through the double doors they experience the feeling of entering another dimension. Another common claim is the feeling of being watched and followed around the building. MAY-STRINGER HOUSE (BROOKSVILLE) BACKGROUND: The Armed Occupation Act ratified by the U.S. congress in 1842, stated: any settler who came to Florida, lived on the land for five years, cultivated five acres, and built a dwelling would be granted 160 acres. Richard Wiggins homesteaded the land were the May Stringer house is located. John May bought the property in 1855 and built a four-room house. He died in 1858, and his wife Marena, continued to live there and ran the plantation. In 1866 Marena married Frank Saxon, a confederate soldier. Marena died in 1869 during childbirth. When Frank remarried he sold the house to Dr. Sheldon Stringer. Dr. Stringer expanded the house to fourteen rooms and practiced medicine from one of the rooms on the ground floor. Three generation of the Stringer family lived there before Dr. Earl Hensley and his wife Helen bought the house. They sold it to the Hernando County Historical Museum Assoc. in 1981 to become the May-Stringer House Museum. PHENOMENA: Restoration volunteers and construction workers reported hearing footsteps and voices in empty rooms as well as cold spots, mists, and eerie shadows. The sound of children’s laughter was also heard in the home. Tour guides now report darting shadows, glowing orbs of light, and the sound of a crying child believed to be little Jessie Mae Saxon calling out for the mother she never knew. Volunteers removed a doll said to be hers from its cradle for appraisal. When they returned, the cradle was disassembled and strewn across the floor. The cradle was reassembled and the doll was placed back in its proper place. Other ghosts said to haunt the mansion are Marena May, a number of of Dr. Stringer’s patients, a shooting victim, and an angry spirit known to staff as “Mr. Nasty” who’s rumored to be a soldier who hanged himself in the attic after learning of his fiancé’s infidelity. OLD COURTHOUSE (BARTOW) BACKGROUND: Built in 1869, the historic building was Bartow County's second courthouse and the first in Cartersville, It proved to be unsatisfactory because court proceedings had to be halted while trains passed by on the nearby railroad. It was replaced in 1902 by the third Bartow County Courthouse located nearby. The building was then either vacant or used as a warehouse until December 2010 when it became the Bartow History Museum. PHENOMENA: The sound of disembodied screams of pain emanate from one of the 4 basements that are only accessed by elevator. It’s believed a worker was killed there during an explosion. Visitors to the 2nd floor report a feeling of sadness come over and the apparitions of two men assumed to be the ghosts of the Mann brothers, who were lynched by a mob for committing murder and whose bodies were displayed on that floor. The apparition of a lady in white has been seen on both the 3rd floor and near the 2nd floor bathrooms. The first floor room that contains ancient Indian artifacts is plagued by everything from footsteps to objects being moved and inexplicably malfunctioning electrical equipment. OLDEST WOODEN SCHOOLHOUSE (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: It is touted as being the oldest wooden school building in the United States. The exact date of construction is unknown, but it first appears on tax records in 1716. There are no extant wooden buildings in St. Augustine built prior to 1702 when the British burned the city. The schoolmaster and family lived on the second floor above the classroom and the kitchen was located in a separate building to reduce heat and threat of fire. The building originally belonged to Juan Genoply. The classroom was one of the first in the US to be co-ed, educating both boys and girls since 1788. PHENOMENA: Visitors and observers claim to have seen a light resembling a candle moving in a second-story room despite no inhabitants living there and the building being closed. Police have been called but lack an explanation for this. Other claims are the giggles of children in the schoolhouse, especially where they used to play. OLD ST. JOHN’S COUNTY JAIL (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: Its construction was financed in 1891 by Henry Flagler, who struck a deal with the county for $10,000 because the former jail building stood on land was adjacent to his Ponce de León Hotel and he didn’t want prisoners in sight of his guests. The Old Jail served as the St Johns County Jail until 1953. After the jail facilities were moved to a new, more modern building, the vacant Old Jail building was sold to entrepreneur Henry "Slim" McDaniel who began operating the remarkably well preserved building as a roadside tourist attraction.  A total of 8 men were hung from the Gallows on the Jail compound during its history. PHENOMENA: There are frequent sounds of footsteps walking inside with the loud, clinking noises of jail cells or prisoners in chains. Visitors and and staff often smell sewage even though open sources don’t exist there. Tourists hear voices in cells and hallways and along with wailing, moaning sounds coming from maximum security and solitary confinement areas. Others claim to hear the voice of a little girl coming from the sheriff’s quarters. Many hear the sound of whistling and several report laughter coming from one of the women’s cells. Some visitors claim to feel a cold hand on their shoulders or having their hair pulled on. THE OLUSTEE BATTLEFIELD (BAKER) BACKGROUND: The site of Florida's largest Civil War battle, it also has the distinction of being the first park in the Florida State Park system. The Battle of Olustee was fought on the afternoon of February 20, 1864. It is recreated annually during that month by Civil War reenactors. In 1897, the United Daughters of the Confederacy began raising funds to place a monument at the battle site. Two years later, the Florida Legislature appropriated $2,500.00 and established a commission to oversee construction of the monument. The project was completed in 1912, and the monument was officially dedicated on October 23, 1912. PHENOMENA: Visitors report the sounds of gunshots, cannon fire and the cries of battle. Passing motorists tell of seeing what they at first thought were full-scale reenactments of the battle only to find later no such event was scheduled for that day. The actors who take part in the re-enactments claim that they come across mysterious orbs while clicking photos at the events and one swears seeing a transparent Confederate general standing over him. PINEWOOD CEMETERY (CORAL GABLES) BACKGROUND: It was previosuly known as the Cocuplum cemetery and is the county’s oldest cemetery with grave markers dating back as far as 1855 and is a mere four acres in size. Exactly how many people were buried in the cemetery is uncertain due to improper record keeping, a massive hurricane, and lack of care for the cemetery but one estimate claims there may be anywhere from 200 to almost 300 people buried there with very few headstones or grave markers present. PHENOMENA: One visitor claimed to watch as a man materialized out of nowhere and disappeared the same way. Others tell of a feeling of uneasiness inside the cemetery. One individual claimed to record a “thank you,” on a recorder while tending to some grave sites. A strange, white mist has been reported as well as unexplained sounds. THE RIDDLE HOUSE (WEST PALM BEACH) BACKGROUND: Built in 1905 by the constructors of Henry Flagler's hotels, using leftover wood. The house was nicknamed "The Painted Lady", because of its bright colors and was originally a funeral parlor known as "Gatekeeper's Cottage" at Woodlawn Cemetery, the first in the city of West Palm Beach. In 1920, it was acquired by Karl Riddle, who was the first city manager and superintendent of public works in West Palm Beach. PHENOMENA: Local legend has it that the house is haunted by the spirit of “Joseph”, a former Riddle employee, who hanged himself in the attic to escape financial woes. Karl‘s personal diary recounts the family having trouble keeping help as the staff reported chains rattling on the stairs and disembodied voices. During renovations, carpenters found tools thrown down from the attic and onto the ground when they returned to work in the morning. 3rd windows would be found broken and the reconstruction ceased for six months because workers were quite shaken by what they had experienced. It’s said a large man named "Buck", a former cemetery worker who was killed in town after an argument haunts the house. He now walks the grounds or stands on the porch of the cottage where cemetery workers would eat their lunch. A visitor taking a private tour was struck in the head by a piece of wood that appeared out of nowhere while standing on the stairs. A maintenance worker was attacked cleaning the building and refused to enter the house again. Witnesses have spotted a hanging body in the attic window thought to be a mannequin, but learned one does not exist there. Security guards report lights going on and off in the building. ROBERT THE DOLL (EAST MARTELLO/KEY WEST) BACKGROUND: The doll originally belonged to Robert Eugene Otto, an artist described as "eccentric" who belonged to a prominent Key West family. The doll was reportedly manufactured by the Steiff Company of Germany, purchased by Otto's grandfather while on a trip to Germany in 1904, and given to young Otto as a birthday gift. The doll's sailor suit was likely an outfit that Otto wore as a child. The doll remained stored in the Otto family home while Otto studied art in New York and Paris. Otto married Annette Parker in Paris on May 3, 1930. The couple returned to the Otto family home in Key West to live there until Otto died in 1974. His wife died two years later. After their deaths, the Eaton Street home containing the doll was sold to Myrtle Reuter, who owned it for 20 years until the property was sold to the current owners, who operate it as a guest house. In 1994, the doll was donated to the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where it eventually became a popular tourist attraction. PHENOMENA: After Eugene moved away, visitors reported hearing an "evil giggle" coming from the attic or hearing the doll moving and peering outside from the attic window. The attic of the Artist's House still remains haunted by the ghost of Gene Otto's wife, Anne, (who was never a fan of the doll) who took up residence there. Robert is said to be possessed and often prevents his photo from being taken at the museum. Camera malfunctions or the photos of Robert totally blacked out are normal. He will create electronic interference and is said to move his toy lion from one knee to the other or tap on his display case. Urban legend alert >> According to legend, visitors to the Fort East Martello Museum who wish to take a picture of him must ask the doll politely, and if he does not agree (by tipping his head to one side) and the individual takes a picture anyway, Robert will curse that person and their family. ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: The current lighthouse stands at the north end of Anastasia Island and was built between 1871 and 1874. The tower is the second lighthouse tower in St. Augustine, the first being lit officially by the American territorial government in May 1824 as Florida's first lighthouse. However, both the Spanish and the British governments operated a major aid to navigation here including a series of wooden watch towers and beacons dating from 1565. According to some archival records and maps, this "official" American lighthouse was placed on the site of an earlier watchtower built by the Spanish as early as the late 16th century. The lighthouse is also the oldest brick structure in the city and the light keeper’s house was added to the site in 1876 as the place where the light keepers and their assistants lived and worked. PHENOMENA: One of the first keepers was Peter Rasmussen who was known for his meticulous eye and watchful manner. He also loved cigars and always one of the first ghosts encounter here. The smell of cigar is noticed by staff and visitors alike. Another keeper, Joseph Andreu, has been heard and seen looking out from the top of the tower and his presence could be related to him falling to his death while painting the outside of the tower. But the two most well-known ghosts are are two young sisters sisters who met a tragic death there. Hezekiah Pity was hired to renovate the tower in the late 1800s and his daughters, Eliza and Mary, were playing inside a cart that was being used to carry materials back and forth to the lighthouse. One day the cart broke loose, they weren’t able to jump out in time and the cart slid into the bay, trapping both girls who drowned. The girls are heard laughing at the top of the tower late at night and some have seen Eliza floating about the grounds in the same blue dress she died in. SPANISH MILITARY HOSPITAL (ST. AUGUSTINE) BACKGROUND: During the British occupation of St. Augustine 1763-1783, a Scottish carpenter named William Watson purchased and remodeled the building into a dwelling. The hospital was a three part facility consisting of Hospital West (First Spanish Period), Hospital East (British Period) and the Apothecary in the William Watson House (British Period). These three parts plus their outbuildings and gardens functioned as a hospital complex during the Second Spanish Period. The hospital was strictly a military facility; only military were treated there and only military personnel worked on the staff. Hospital West burned in 1818 and the remaining parts of the hospital stayed in operation until two years into the American Territorial Period and officially closed down in 1823. Hospital East was destroyed in the fire of 1895. The Watson House still stands today. PHENOMENA: Some gruesome discoveries were made when the city overhauled the water lines under the hospital as bones of the deceased buried there were discovered. Visitors to the museum have had strange experiences including actual ghost sightings inside the building. The original hospital beds move across the room, sometimes bumping people’s legs, beverage cans slide across outdoor benches and the sound of disembodied of footsteps are heard upstairs. Some claim to smell sulfur powder like that used in cannons and the sounds of prayers, moans and screams come from empty rooms. SUGAR MILL RUINS (SMYRNA BEACH) BACKGROUND: When tensions escalated between the Seminoles, settlers and the U.S. Government, the government decided to remove the natives from Florida by force, pushing those tensions to the breaking point. In mid-December of 1835, Seminoles, aided by slaves, raided plantations near New Smyrna Beach and burned crops, homes and buildings. Their targets were the sugar plantations that were a major source of revenue for locals. One of the plantations destroyed during the raids was the Cruger-dePeyster plantation and sugar factory just west of present day New Smyrna. Henry Cruger and William dePeyster acquired the land in 1830 and set out to establish a large commercial sugar factory. The two borrowed heavily to purchase machinery, equipment and slaves to work the press and fields. PHENOMENA: Natives of the Seminole tribe are said to run through the woods in the early morning hours and it’s said that “shadow people” appear around sunset. TRIVIA: The ruins were built reportedly on the site of a chapel built by Christopher Columbus VINOY HOTEL (ST. PETERSBURG) BACKGROUND: Built in 1925 by Aymer Vinoy Laughner. Construction began on February 5 and took 10 months to complete. The hotel was a seasonal hotel, open from around December to March. Rates were $20.00 a night, the highest in the area at that time. Celebrities ranging from Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge and James Stewart are known to have stayed there. During World War II the hotel was taken over by the U.S. Army and used for a training school. After the war, the hotel was sold to Charles Alberding for $700,000. The hotel continued to prosper for the next couple of decades but fell out of favor and into decline and disrepair by the end of the 1960s. In 1974, the Vinoy closed and most of its contents were sold at auction. The hotel sat vacant until the early 1990s when it was bought by a partnership between Renaissance Hotels and Resorts and the Vinoy Development Corporation. A $93 million renovation was undertaken, and in two years the Vinoy was reopened. PHENOMENA: Some of the hotel’s most prominent clientèle belong to pro sports teams who stay there on road trips. In 2003, Florida Marlins’ pitcher Scott Williamson noticed a faint light from the hotel’s pool area when he turned off the lights in his room. He had the feeling that he was being watched and when he tried to sleep, he felt pressure on his back that felt as if somebody was sitting on him. He also saw a ghostly man in a coat standing near the curtains. The strength coordinator of the Pittsburgh Pirates described seeing a transparent male figure near the desk in his room and several individuals have noticed a man dressed in a formal suit walking the halls of the hotel before disappearing into thin air. John Frascatore, a reliever for the Toronto Blue Jays, checked in the hotel with his wife. At first objecting because of the hotel’s haunted reputation, she eventually agreed to stay. While her husband was at batting practice she called him claiming she and the children just witnessed the water turning on and off by itself and the toilet flushing continuously of its own accord. Toronto pitchers Joey Hamilton and Billy Koch claimed that they’d been spooked the previous night when the lights in their rooms kept flickering. Several teammates voiced similar complaints, including hitting coach Cito Gaston, whose hotel room door, which he’d locked and chained shut, kept opening in the middle of the night and then slamming shut. Manager Jim Fregosi reported that his door, too, had slammed. Other guests have reported flickering lights in their rooms at night as well as noises which cannot be explained. They have heard footsteps in the halls when no one is there, feet shuffling and the sound of chains being rattled. RETURN TO PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE