MOST Haunted Places in Florida: Ybor City, Lake Okeechobee and More!
Most people that visit Florida come here for vacation. The beaches in Florida are some of the most beautiful in the world. But there is a darker side to Florida most people don’t know…a dark side that lurks in unexpected places. Take a hair-raising tour with me to seven of the most haunted places in Florida.
1. May-Stringer House
The May-Stringer House is a museum in Brooksville, Florida, full of antiques and home to a collection of war collectibles. By day, the museum is open to visitors of all ages, but by night only the adults are welcome to participate in the tour. The night-time tour is a haunted tour, filled with stories of the haunted house’s mournful past, ending with a bone-chilling view of one of the house’s most haunted spots. This house is possibly the most haunted place in Florida.
A Sad Past
Built circa 1856, John May moved into the May-Stringer home with his daughters and wife, Marena. They lived happily together for a short time until John May died in 1858. Marena remarried a man named Frank Saxon, eight years after John May’s death. Marena gave birth to a beautiful little girl but sadly Marena passed away in labor. The little girl was named Jessie May Saxon and three years after she was born, she died of unknown causes. There is a haunting cemetery on the premises, though neither Marena’s nor Jesse’s graves have been located. After the May family moved out, the Stringer family moved in. Following the Stringer family, different families have lived in the May-Stringer House.
Today the May-Stringer House is very much haunted. There are pictures taken in different places in the house showing inexplicable streaks of light and black spots. Among the harmless ghosts, there is a dark spirit called “Mr. Nasty.” His presence gives people the chills and tremors. The most active ghost in the May-Stringer House is the child’s ghost. Toys are in disarray the next morning with no sign that anyone had broken in to tamper with things. Once, Jessie May’s white porcelain doll moved from the crib in the attic to the bed. The next morning, the whole room was torn apart, as if a poltergeist had ransacked Jessie’s belongings. Now the employees keep the haunted doll in the crib and ask the museum visitors not to touch it.
Haunted Photos and EVPs
There is a picture of sleeping Jessie May on the mantle. But don’t be fooled, she’s not sleeping…she’s lying in her coffin. Photographs of Jessie May’s father are also found throughout the house. Dozens of EVPs of a little girl’s voice in the attic have been recorded. As for the EVPs, one person caught a little girl on tape asking for her mommy and “more cake please”. Do yourself a favor if you live in haunted Florida – this Halloween, take a trip to Brooksville and pay the $20.00 to do the haunted tour at night. The May-Stringer House is one of the most historic and most haunted places in Florida.
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2. Ybor City
Haunted Ybor City is an historic part of Tampa, Florida. It is a smaller part of the city established in the 1800’s, and started out as a cigar manufacturing town. At its peak of success, it was the largest cigar manufacturing city in the world producing millions of cigars daily. Unfortunately, the city lacked hygienic resources so sickness spread quickly in the cigar warehouses. In the early 1900’s, a tuberculosis epidemic hit Ybor City and claimed many lives. If that wasn’t hard enough, two large fires broke out and wiped out a couple blocks of buildings. The papers say no one was killed in the fires, but how are we sure?
Haunted Ybor Today
Many shop owners in Ybor have ghostly experiences. One little boy ghost plays tricks on employees by moving objects around and running down the aisles after closing time. There is a lady ghost in a misty dress who has been seen walking down the Cuban Club’s staircase; pianos play by themselves, and disembodied voices talk throughout the night at the Cuban Club. A law firm claims to be haunted. Further investigation into the history of the building shows it was first a bar and was the scene of a deadly fight. The man who was killed talks in Spanish and walks around the law firm at night. Many more places in Ybor have a similar tale, making it one of the most haunted places in Florida.
3. Riverwalk Museum
In Fort Lauderdale, the Riverwalk Hotel was recently converted into a museum. Locals know this place as the Stranahan House. Built in the early 1900’s, locals believe the museum is haunted. And, like many older buildings in Florida, it’s haunted by multiple restless spirits. A ghost girl between the ages of five and seven, looks through the second floor window at different times of the day. Passersby have caught a spine-tingling glimpse of her, only to find out the museum is closed.The ghost of a man, in his twenties or thirties, looks through the first floor window. The ghost of a man in his late forties paces the first floor at night; he wears a brown duster and looks like he’s from another time period. Cold spots and the feeling of being watched make the Riverwalk Museum one of the most haunted places in Florida.
4. Round Cypress Head
On the St. John’s River in Florida, there is a particular gaggle of cypress trees known as Round Cypress Head. It’s not easy to reach by boat; however, many say the paranormal at this spot is worth the boat ride. A prohibition-age urban legend has it a demon lives among the centuries-old trees on Round Cypress Head. This demon is a shape-shifter and transforms into a wild cat. Others say a witch lives on Round Cypress Head and the wild cat is her familiar. Paranormal investigators from the book Weird Florida, investigated Round Cypress Head and came across no real evidence. Locals claim fisherman have gone missing on the St. John’s River, and they stick to the story of Round Cypress Head being cursed. Moaning noises, bending trees, and horrible smells make Round Cypress Head one of the most haunted places in Florida.
5. Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee is the second largest body of fresh-water in the US stretching over seven hundred square miles. While it is a beautiful place, it has a dark history and is one of the most haunted places in Florida. Reports of ghost sightings at Lake Okeechobee occur every year. In the early 1900’s, the locals saw a massive grave of skeletons exposed when the lake’s water ran low. Stories are told by locals of fishermen “catchin’ skulls” on the lake. A massive hurricane hit the lake and killed thousands of people in 1928, all of whom were buried in one spot. Today there’s a marker at the massive grave. Other deaths have occurred on Lake Okeechobee, no doubt contributing to its haunted history.
6. Devil’s Den
The Devil’s Den is a prehistoric spring and diving hole located in Williston, Florida. Stories revolving around the beautiful yet eerie hole in the ground have circulated the state for centuries. Perhaps the most noteable is why it’s called the Devil’s Den. On winter mornings, when Florida actually gets cold, you can see steam rising from the hole. When early Florida settlers found the springs, they named it the Devil’s Den because it appeared to be putting off smoke. There are legends the cave is haunted because of the animal and human remains found in the cave.
7. The Haunted Dead Zone on I-4 Florida Highway
There’s a quarter-mile stretch of highway on I-4 between Orlando and Daytona, Florida that’s said to be incredibly haunted. The reason behind this haunted Florida location is three-fold: bodies of four settlers that were paved over to make way for the highway AND intense hurricane activity in the area. Apparently a nearby Catholic colony was destroyed by a yellow fever epidemic in the early nineteen-hundreds, which could add to the paranormal activity. There have been hundreds of automobile accidents right within this tiny section of I-4. Some of the folks who’ve had accidents on the Dead Zone claim to see figures on the road which causes them to swerve and crash. Some also say they see strange lights that dart back and forth or spiral, similar to the will-o-the-wisps of Scottish myth. Even more claim their vehicles malfunction unexpectedly or brakes give out.
8. Safety Harbor Philippe Park
What a beautiful piece of land to visit! Philippe Park in Safety Harbor, Florida is a park that many Floridians love. A vast expanse of old trees covered in Spanish moss, a beautiful view of the water, and an ancient Native American mound grace the park’s property. But why is such a gorgeous, peaceful place SO haunted? Perhaps the story starts five hundred years ago when the indigenous tribe, the Tocobaga, who lived in the area were “visited” by Spanish explorers. The Spanish tried converting the natives but most ended up being slaughtered by the tribe’s warriors.
Not to mention, there’s an old legend of a great shaman who was able to control a POWERFUL elemental that once ravaged the land. There have been a few destructive hurricanes to pass over the park (before it was a park), as well as later land-owners who lived and died on the property. When I visited the park, I could feel a presence at the top of the Native mound. It didn’t feel sad or malevolent, but it was quite palpable. When I tried to communicate with a pendulum, I was told the spirits there were Native and protective of the land. And that they are angry at the Spanish still.