Monday, December 27, 2010

Haunted Florida

A selection of 10 haunted places from around Florida.

Boston House
239 South Indian River Drive
Fort Pierce
Boston House, 2009. Photo by Sebas Torrente, courtesy of
Wikipedia.

Originally named Cresthaven, construction on Boston House was completed in 1909. The home, built at the cost of $6000, was built by William T. Jones with the settlement from a railroad accident in which he was involved. After Jones lost the house during the Great Depression, it became a bed and breakfast and acquired the name Boston House after nearby Boston Avenue. It was during this time that a tragedy occurred to a visiting family. Aleacon Perkins, his son Timmy went fishing while his wife stayed behind. Authorities were alerted when they didn’t return and Mr. Perkins’ body washed ashore the following day. Timmy’s body was never found. A female spirit in the house has been identified as Mrs. Perkins, still mourning the loss of her husband and son. Other spirits in the house may include Native Americans who once lived in the area.

Coral Castle
28655 South Dixie Highway
Miami
The Coral Castle, 2005. Photo by Christina Rutz, courtesy of
Wikipedia.

Edward Leedskalnin, a small Latvian immigrant weighing less than a hundred pounds, singlehandedly built Coral Castle using humongous coral blocks he quarried, carved and moved himself in the dark of night. When visitors would ask how he did it, he would only answer, “It’s not difficult if you know how.” This has given rise to numerous theories of how this massive complex was constructed including the help of aliens. The mystery of this site includes not only includes the construction, but ghosts as well. Sensitives visiting the site have reported energy vortices and photographs have captured shadowy figures.

Deering Estate
16701 Southwest 72nd Avenue
Miami
The Richmond Cottage (left) and the Stone House (right) on
the Deering Estate, 2008. Photo by RossF18, courtesy of
Wikipedia.

Building on a Native American burial ground is never a good idea. Charles Deering, son of the founder of the Deering Harvester Company (later International Harvester), purchased this 444-acre estate as a winter home. The estate was acquired by the State of Florida and Miami-Dade County in 1985 which has preserved it as a cultural and educational facility featuring tours of the historic homes and natural areas. The Deering Estate also features ghost tours of the estate that the League of Paranormal Investigators (LPI) dubbed, “ground-zero for lost spirits.” LPI has documented at least two full-bodied apparitions as well as numerous EVPs, some of which may be related to the Natives Americans buried throughout the property.
Hotel Blanche
212 North Marion Street
Lake City
Old postcard of the Hotel Blanche, no date.

For decades, travelers heading down Highway 441 from Georgia to Florida would stop at the luxurious Hotel Blanche in Lake City, among them, gangster Al Capone on his way to Miami. As the hotel’s clientele dwindled towards the middle part of the 20th century, the hotel began to deteriorate. The ground floors have remained occupied with businesses and the second floor has occasionally been used for office space and meetings, but the third floor has not been in use for some time. As are many hotels, the Blanche is inhabited by a number of spirits that produce a variety of phenomena including disembodied footsteps and voices, the sounds of children playing and doors opening and closing by themselves. At this time, the Hotel Blanche hopefully is about to experience a renaissance as the City of Lake City is about to restore it.

Miami International Airport
2100 Northwest 42nd Avenue
Miami
Miami International Airport, 2007. Photo by Jason Walsh,
courtesy of Wikipedia.

It’s not unheard of that an airport could be haunted. An airport may be the last place that a plane may board before an accident or perhaps a destination that is not reached. Either way, an airport may attract spirits. Miami International was the destination for Eastern Airlines Flight 401 on December 29, 1972. As the plane flew over the Everglades on its approach to the airport, it crashed killing 77 including both pilots. While the plane never arrived, legend speaks of the form of the plane’s captain, Robert Loft, being seen in the airport near where the ticket counters for Eastern Airlines once stood and disappearing into the old Eastern concourse.

In the annals of paranormal phenomena, this plane crash is the focus of many stories. Stories abound of the appearance of the captain and 2nd Officer Don Repo on planes that utilized parts recovered from the crash site. After these stories began to surface, Eastern Airlines reportedly removed all these parts from service. Additionally, during the recovery efforts for victims, many working in the swamps late at night heard whimpering and sobbing and saw phantom faces in the black water.

Old Christ Church
Adams Street
Pensacola
Old Christ Church, 2008. Photo by Ebyabe, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The Historic Pensacola Village consists of a collection of historic and haunted buildings important to the early history of Pensacola including the 1832 Old Christ Church. The churchyard of the church once held the remains of three of its vicars, but during renovations, their graves were obscured. Their remains were recovered recently during archaeological excavations and during their reburial service, one young man witnessed the three vicars walking among the guests.

Old Hamilton County Jail
501 Northeast First Avenue
Jasper
Old Hamilton County Jail, 2007. Photo by Ebyabe, courtesy of
Wikipedia.

Built in 1893 and in use until the latter part of the 20th century, the Old Hamilton County Jail may certainly acquired spirits. Some sources even indicate that hangings may have taken place inside the building which now serves as the Hamilton County Historical Museum. A recent investigation by Northeast Florida Paranormal Investigations included some personal experiences by members of the investigation team including one hearing running footsteps.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Lightkeeper’s House
81 Lighthouse Avenue
St. Augustine
St. Augustine Lighthouse, 2007. Photo by
Joe Zander, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Perhaps one of the most famous of Southern hauntings and certainly the most famous haunted lighthouse in the U.S., the St. Augustine Lighthouse has provided guidance since 1874. A number of spirits may reside within the precincts of the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage. During an investigation by The Atlantic Paranormal Society televised in a 2006 episode of Ghost Hunters, the team encountered a shadow figure that they chased up and down the steps of the lighthouse even catching, on video, the image of a figure peering over the railing.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Highway 41, Over Tampa Bay
St. Petersburg
Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Photo by the US Department
of Interior.

With such a sunny name, it’s hard to imagine that this bridge has seen more than its share of tragedy. The original bridge, constructed in 1954, was partially destroyed in 1980 when the freighter Summit Venture collided with a support causing part of the bridge to give way and sending some 35 people to their deaths including 26 people aboard a Greyhound bus. Additionally, the bridge had become a mecca for the suicidal and a number of people had jumped from the bridge to their deaths. Among the spirits seen on or around the bridge are a young woman poised to jump, another young woman (perhaps the same as the jumper) who is the focus of a series of vanishing hitchhiker stories and the Greyhound bus, seen on the fishing pier next the bridge which was part of the original bridge, as it continues its drive towards eternity.

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
6400 North Ocean Shore Boulevard
Palm Coast
One of the majestic oaks at Washington Oaks Gardens State
Park, 2008. Photo by Averette, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Settled initially by Native Americans and then by the Spanish in the late 18th century, the land that is now Washington Oaks Gardens State Park became the site of a plantation in 1818. The daughter of the plantation owner married a relative of George Washington and later the gardens, sans the plantation house that burned, were renamed Washington Oaks. Strange lights have been seen in the vicinity of the plantation home and some poltergeist activity has been experienced in the park’s visitor’s center.

Sources
Arteaga, Allison. “Paranormal investigators help North
     Florida.” The Gainesville Sun. 16 October 2010.
Boston House. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     27 December 2010.
Brown, Alan. Stories from the Haunted South. Jackson, MS:
     University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
Charles Deering. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     27 December 2010.
Charles Deering Estate. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
     Accessed 27 December 2010.
Cohen, Howard. “Ghost Busters.” The Miami Herald. 20
     September 2009.
Coral Castle. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Accessed
     27 December 2010.
Eastern Airlines Flight 401. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
     Accessed 27 December 2010.
Episode 219. “St. Augustine Lighthouse.” Ghost Hunters.
     Aired 3 May 2006.
Heller, Jean. “Horrific accident created an unforgettable
     scene.” St. Petersburg Times. 7 May 2000.
History.” Friends of Washington Oaks Gardens State Park.
     Accessed 27 December 2010.
Hotel Blanche. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
     Accessed 27 December 2010.
Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted
     Folklore, Vol. 1. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2008.
Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted
     Folklore, Vol. 2. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2005.
Jenkins, Greg. Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted
     Folklore, Vol. 3. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2007.
Lapham, Dave. Ghosthunting Florida. Cincinnati, OH:
     Clerisy Press, 2010.
Malone, Kenny. “Miami’s Deering Estate: A real haunted
     house?” NPR. 28 October 2009.
“Miami-Dade Estate deemed ‘severely haunted.’”
     The Miami Herald. 22 October 2009.
Moore, Joyce Elson. Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida.
     Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, 2008.
Northeastern Florida Paranormal Investigators. Investigation
     Report for Old Hamilton County Jail. September 2010.
     Encyclopedia. Accessed 27 December 2010.
Pen. “The Haunted Skyway Bridge in Florida.” Associated
     Content. Accessed 27 December 2010.
St. Lucie Historical Society. Cresthaven. Accessed 27 December
     2010.
St. Lucie Historical Society. Ghost Stories. Accessed 27
     December 2010.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.
     Accessed 27 December 2010.

4 comments:

  1. Another amazing post. The Coral Castle is positively beautiful. I've never seen anything like it and the first story is so tragic that it has to be haunted. Thanks for the great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for posting the bit about the Skyway Bridge. I've been over that bridge many of times and never knew about the tragedy or the old bridge. I had always wondered what that old bridge was doing out there...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love Florida's Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore by Dr. Grggory Jenkins. I think its one of the best books of Florida ghosts. The story about Myrtle Hill Cemetery and the Sunland Hospital are my favs. He has a new book out called Chronicles of the Strange and Uncanny, and it looks really good too!

    Thanks again, this is a great website!

    Kim

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, here's something for you regarding your post about Miami International Airport and the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401. I haven't seen the ghost of the Captain of Flight 401 and neither has my sister who has worked at MIA for many, many years. BUT... something very odd did happen to me last year, and it didn't take place at Miami International Airport, but at a hospital. Here's my brief story:

    Last year I spent quite a bit of time at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Florida, which is a suburb of Miami. My parents were very ill and both were hospitalized there. The hospital has a mall on the ground level, called the PalMed Mall. The mall has numerous restaurants and I would visit them daily, along with my siblings, in order to get something to eat.

    To get to the lower level where the restaurants are located, you have walk through a very long, and often lonely, hallway that leads to an elevator that will take you down to the ground level. One day, I was alone in this hallway and I felt something off, something disquieting, creepy, a little scary--I can't quite describe it, but it's like that feeling that makes you get goosebumps. I felt short of breath and really nervous. I actually ran for the elevator at the end of the hallway, got on, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I got out at the mall level and hooked up with my siblings and one of our friends. I had lunch with them and then our group headed back upstairs. When all of us walked through the creepy hallway on the way back to the hospital's lobby, I noticed that there were framed pictures on the hallway's wall. Since I had plenty of company--and now, lots of courage--I slowed down to look at the pictures. You won't believe it! The photos showed an older Palmetto General Hospital and below the pics were comments informing the viewer that the victims of the Eastern Airlines crash of Flight 401 were all brought to this hospital, and that a temporary morgue was set up for them here.

    Could this be the reason that I felt the strange, scary energy in this hallway???????????? I will never forget this.

    It’s not unheard of that an airport could be haunted. An airport may be the last place that a plane may board before an accident or perhaps a destination that is not reached. Either way, an airport may attract spirits. Miami International was the destination for Eastern Airlines Flight 401 on December 29, 1972. As the plane flew over the Everglades on its approach to the airport, it crashed killing 77 including both pilots. While the plane never arrived, legend speaks of the form of the plane’s captain, Robert Loft, being seen in the airport near where the ticket counters for Eastern Airlines once stood and disappearing into the old Eastern concourse.


    In the annals of paranormal phenomena, this plane crash is the focus of many stories. Stories abound of the appearance of the captain and 2nd Officer Don Repo on planes that utilized parts recovered from the crash site. After these stories began to surface, Eastern Airlines reportedly removed all these parts from service. Additionally, during the recovery efforts for victims, many working in the swamps late at night heard whimpering and sobbing and saw phantom faces in the black water.

    ReplyDelete