The natural beauty of St Augustine, Florida, has been a draw for visitors and residents alike since its founding many centuries ago. The city's rich history is also one that includes many fascinating ghost tales. If you're traveling in the area and want to experience a story or two for yourself, here are six places in St Augustine that feature famous ghost stories that will have your imagination running wild!
The Saint Augustine Lighthouse is one of the oldest working lighthouses in America and has been a popular attraction for those who want to see incredible views from the top of this 219-step tower. However, besides the gorgeous views and museum, there have been many different tales of spirits wandering around this historic landmark. One very popular story includes the Pittee sisters, who were daughters of the man who was overseeing the construction of the lighthouse. To keep themselves entertained while their father worked, they would ride a construction cart down a hill to the water. However, one day in 1873, they were flipped into the water, trapping and killing both daughters along with an unidentified friend.
Since that incident, footsteps can be heard around the lighthouse or even sightings of the small girls. While there have been other incidents at the Saint Augustine Lighthouse, the Pittee sisters are known to be the most active residents haunting the area. You might even find them joining your tour and playing games of hide and seek with your group. One woman even reported that she found her shoelace tied to the staircase as she took her first step to climb the tower. The haunted nature of this area is why the Saint Augustine Lighthouse offers various nighttime ghost tours, allowing you to hear the hauntings and history, investigate each space with readers, or climb the lighthouse at night to experience the story for yourself!
The Castillo De San Marcos, also known as the Saint Augustine Fort, has been around since the 17th century. It's also the largest structure of its kind in the United States. Comprised of coquina, which means small shells in Spanish, the Castillo De San Marcos became one of the strongest structures, forming a rock similar to limestone. Over 300 years' worth of storms, battles, invasions, and more have been endured on this site, with many people dying in and around the fort.
Due to this, you might be able to see a number of ghosts wandering around the area. One very famous spirit is that of Governor Gonzalo Méndez de Canzo, who was killed by an arrow during a battle between Spain and England. He died from his wounds inside this fort, which meant he wasn't buried until much later when it had been besieged again. Since then, you can hear the sounds of arrows being fired along with other loud noises coming from within its walls or even feel yourself being watched while walking past one specific room! It's also common to see lights shining from a fixture with no electricity, the feeling of cold hands, or glowing orbs. You can either experience it during the day by visiting the inside of the fort, or you can walk around the perimeter of the fort at nighttime.
Saint Augustine's Old Jail is considered one of the most haunted spots in the ancient city. The building was initially constructed in 1891 by Henry Flagler and was used until 1953 as Saint John's County jail. Some of the most dangerous prisoners were held in this location, along with a death row cell. A total of eight men were hung on the jail compound from the gallows. Along with this, there were many other unusual deaths that occurred at the compound.
It's believed that the death of many people at the jail resulted in a higher than usual amount of paranormal activity. Guests have reported seeing and feeling spirits inside the prison, as well as hearing sounds of prisoners screaming for help. Many people have claimed to see a man in a black hat who is always hanging around one specific cell, which was once used for death row inmates. In addition to seeing him, you might also smell cigar smoke or feel cold spots while walking through certain areas of this site! You can join one of their ghost tours at nighttime, which allows visitors to investigate paranormal activity within the old jail using various techniques and equipment to see supernatural evidence.
The Huguenot Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Saint Augustine, located right across from the Old City Gates. This cemetery initially opened in 1821 and welcomed those who needed a final resting place but were not Catholic. This was a necessary addition to Saint Augustine because the Tolomato cemetery next door was for Catholics only. It was believed that more than 436 bodies were buried in this cemetery, with most of these victims dying due to the yellow fever epidemic that was spreading at that time. With this, it's natural that many ghosts haunt its grounds, with visitors reporting sightings of supernatural figures during the day and night.
However, the most famous ghost of all time is Judge John B Stickney. He was very well-loved by the community and his neighbors because he consistently offered free services and legal advice to help others. However, when he died of yellow fever in 1882, he was buried in this cemetery until his children relocated him up north. While removing his body, thieves stole the gold teeth from the judge's mouth, along with other valuables. This is believed to be the reason why he became so unhappy and why he's stayed in the cemetery. The judge can be seen roaming around the grounds or sitting in a tree along with several other spirits who haunt the graveyard as well.
The Spanish Military Hospital was initially remodeled and purchased in the early 1760s and was turned into a military hospital. Only military personnel worked at this hospital, and only injured military members were treated at this location. In 1821, the water lines that ran through the building had to be changed, which meant that the hospital needed to be rebuilt.
However, when reconstruction began, workers found thousands of human bones that were buried underneath the hospital. When they further investigated what and where those bones were formed, they realized that the military hospital had been built on a Timucuan burial ground. The Timucuans were the Indians that were native to the Saint Augustine area in earlier years.
It's believed that those who had been silenced underneath the Spanish military hospital still haunt the grounds today. Many describe that they feel a cold, sad feeling when entering the building. You can hear cries, screams, and moans along with sightings of patients in beds or patients walking around on the hospital grounds. While most ghost hunters will visit this location during a nighttime tour, you can still see and feel the haunted location during the daytime.
The Casablanca Inn is a staple in Saint Augustine, offering beautiful views of the Matanzas Bay and is often the most decorated building for the annual "Nights of Lights" competition in Saint Augustine. But, while most visitors come to stay at the inn or have drinks at the Tini Martini bar, they might not know the spooky history of this building and why an elderly lady haunts it.
The story behind the famous building actually starts with a previous owner and operator of the Casablanca Inn. She began working with some sketchy people when she was facing financial problems with her business. Her job was to be a lookout and wave a lantern in the window that faced the ocean if she saw any investigators approaching. In exchange for her work, she was paid with alcohol to serve her guests and cash to float her business.
After she passed, many people still see that light shimmering in the window. Others report sounds of children laughing, footsteps on wooden floors, and even seeing a figure that represents an elderly lady floating around the inn. The best way to experience the haunting at the Casablanca Inn is to either book a room for the evening, take a nighttime ghost tour, or grab a drink at the bar.
St Augustine is not only known for its natural beauty but also as the home to some of the most haunted places in America. These famous landmarks are still visited today and continue to be popular tourist destinations because people want to experience more than just what they can see with their natural eyes.
If you're looking for a unique way to experience any of the six haunted locations we've listed above, check out our Haunted Scavenger Hunt at the 13 keys. Our haunted hunts are fun for all ages and provide an easy way to learn all about the mysterious history and ghosts of Saint Augustine.