The city of St. Augustine, Florida, is the oldest city in the U.S. It was founded by Don Pedro de Aviles of Spain in 1585.
For years people have come to see the beautiful architecture and scenery, the pristine beaches, and to delve into the history of the city. There are so many haunted locations in St. Augustine that it is a treasure trove for those who enjoy exploring haunted locations. There have been many books written about the location, and many popular TV ghost investigator shows investigate there.
The Old Jail
Built in 1891 by Henry Flagler, it was constructed to not look like a jail but a hotel with bars across the windows. it is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the city and a true treasure to go to if you are a ghost hunter.
The jail was a maximum security area that held the most dangerous criminals of their time. Inhumane conditions and hangings in the gallows have created an environment where tourists and locals have all sorts of personal paranormal experiences. The Old Jail is currently listed on the Florida and National Register of Haunted Places, as well.
Some of the things you can look forward to experiencing are the sweet smell of molasses that cannot be eliminated despite repeated cleanings. The Sheriff at the time, Charles Joseph Perry, took his job very seriously. He kept a large amount of dogs behind the jail, and it is said that many still hear the barking of ghostly dogs on a regular basis. Within the jail people have heard the ghostly humming of songs from the era such as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”. Footsteps can be heard along with distinct sounds of chains being drug or being moved in a motion with the steps, and the sounds of shouts and wails can be heard even though during these occurrences there are no alive persons present.
Castillo de San Marcos
Built in the 17th century, Castillo de San Marcos is the largest masonry structure of its kind in the USA. The fort has survived more than 3oo years, weathering storms, invasions and battles. Many have reported sightings of a Spanish soldier in the watchtower looking out to sea, but one would be hard-pressed to find a place in the fort where some form of paranormal activity has not been experienced, some of which have been recorded via photographs and with video cameras.
The odor of perfume can be detected in various locations inside the fort. It is reported that it belongs to the ghost of Senora Delores Mari, who was having a love affair with Captain Manuel Bela. When her husband, Colonel Garcia Mari discovered it, he chained them both inside the gun powder room and sealed them up alive. Their skeletal bodies were reported to have been found when a cannon fell through the roof into the secret room that had been sealed up.
In the room where the Seminole Indians were held during the Second Seminole War, you will capture all kinds of orbs of light. Faces can be seen in some of the orbs and high readings will be detected on your EMF detectors.
A night watchman has repeatedly observed a young woman in white who walks through the area only to disappear behind trees.
Activity includes people feeling queasy in certain areas, while others report feeling cold hands touching them or walking through cold spots. Appearances of mist shapes, orbs and see-through shapes of people have been caught on film and observed by the naked eye. Some people will put their ears to the walls of the Castillo and swear they can hear the sounds of battle.
I have clairsentience (I can feel the presence of spirits), and I personally experienced a lot at this location. I could feel the heavy presence of many spirits in the room where the Seminole Indians were held, and I experienced the odor of perfume at many areas inside the fort. (I should also mention that this is odd as I have almost zero sense of smell.)
In the gun powder room (the room where Senora Mari and her lover were discovered then sealed up in) I got very cold and experienced goosebumps, even though it was a hot and humid day outside. It was a very eerie location. Some areas I could see what appeared to be ghostly figures move out of the corner of my eye, when no one but myself was there.
Spanish Military Hospital
When entering this building you may feel a sad but heavy presence surrounding you. When the hospital was rebuilt in 1821 it was discovered that the building was over a Timucuan burial ground. These were Native Americans who had lived in the area before colonization.
Thousands of human bones were discovered. Reports of moans, screams, cries and ghostly figures are reported there. A feeling of “evil” and heaviness seems to roam the areas in the hospital. People have reported to have been pushed by unseen hands. Ghostly conversations in murmured voices have been heard as well as reports of an impression of someone lying in a hospital bed, only to be discovered gone later. Objects seem to move on their own and misty apparitions have been seen by many.
Huguenot Cemetery is just across from the Old City Gate. The cemetery opened in 1821 to those of other faiths as the nearby Tolomato cemetery was for Catholics only.
Many different ghosts have been reported there, both in the daylight and at night. One is a young female who is believed to be named “Elizabeth”. Some say she is possibly the daughter of one of the Spanish era guards at the City Gate while others believe she is a 13 or 14 year old girl who died of yellow fever during the epidemic in 1821. She either died at the City Gate or her body was left at the entrance of the cemetery.
Another specter reported is Judge John B. Stickney, who is said to search the cemetery for the gold and items stolen from his tomb by thieves. He is seen sitting by a tree or walking around. According to claims he appears to be friendly but doesn’t appear to be too happy.
People have reported to be touched or catch glimpses of shadows. Orbs have been captured on film.
St. Augustine Lighthouse
The original lighthouse was built by Spanish settlers in the 1600’s. Due to harsh weather conditions and erosion, a new one was constructed in 1874, which has been featured on the popular TV show Ghost Hunters (or T.A.P.S.). They captured evidence, much of which can be observed on YouTube.
It has an unusually high level of paranormal activity, energy and sightings within the lighthouse and on its grounds. There has been a long history of deaths surrounding the lighthouse which causes some to wonder if it isn’t cursed.
The original light keeper, Joseph Andreu, fell 60 feet to his death while painting the structure on December 5, 1859.
Then there are reports of three ghostly children, two of whom are reported to be the children of Hezekiah H. Pittee (superintendent of the lighthouse construction from 1871 to 1874). On July 10, 1873, during construction of the tower, the children (against what their father told them) were playing on a supply cart that ran on tracks. When the cart fell off the tracks into water and trapped the children the two oldest, Eliza and Mary, drowned. There are reports that a third child, a 10 year old African American child was also there and had drowned. Her death was never recorded during the time.
Some of the paranormal activity captured, seen or sensed are apparitions on the steps inside, voices on the staircase, the smell of cigar smoke to a figure of a man seen in the basement, a ghostly hand coming through a door, furniture moving about by itself. People have reported being grabbed and popular photograph of a lone female ghostly figure have been captured on the walk area outside the top of the lighthouse.
The Dark of the Moon Paranormal Tour is available for daylight or nighttime tours. It is recommended that you bring your own flashlight, otherwise you are given only a glow stick to use.
The Lighthouse property also holds a Maritime Museum. The museum keeps maritime history of the area alive with information of maritime archaeological sites around St. Augustine, including a number of historic ship wrecks.
For more information please see their website or phone 904-829-0745.