The Most Haunted Places in All of Florida
By JENNIFER AGRESSUpdated On 10/21/2019 at 10:03AM EST
Florida is a veritable peninsula of nightmares. Just read the headlines: “Florida man sits on gun, shoots self in penis.” “Naked Florida man runs through woman’s home, tries on clothing.” “Florida politician says aliens took her on a spaceship; now she’s running for Congress.” (We have the receipts of headlines past to prove it).
And those are just the Floridians who live in the realm of the living. There are wild spirits here, too. Just in time for Halloween, we’ve rounded up Florida’s most haunted spots — all of which you can visit yourself… if you’re up for it. We promise every place will bring you a ghost or two… and probably a couple of weird locals with even more bizarre stories to tell. This is the Sunshine State after all.
Non-believers always want proof of paranormal activity, and The Plaza Resort & Spa has it. In August 2013, security cameras captured late-night footage of a shape-shifting ghost roaming the hotel’s Veranda Bar & Grille. But that’s not the first or only spook-story at the hotel. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1909, and current staff will testify that they’ve seen the ghosts of victims caught in the blaze, including a little girl who now spends her nights messing with the elevators and raiding the restaurant kitchen.
St. Augustine’s fanciest hotel is also its most haunted. In fact, this five-star, Mediterranean-revival haunt is a hotbed of spectral activity. Children are heard running along the fourth floor, but no one is there. The radio in the Ponce de Leon Suite randomly comes on, but no one is there. Guests of Room 411 wake up to people staring at them, but no one is there.
But it’s the three-story Flagler Suite, high in the tower, that’s most haunted. Maids have seen a child’s handprint appear on the first floor bathroom mirror, and after knocking, one heard a man say, “We’ve been expecting you,” from an empty bedroom. Its spookiest claim to fame, however, is the male ghost staring out of the top tower window. He’s believed to be the ghost of one of two people: either Franklin Smith, the architect who built the hotel, or Henry Flagler, the man who purchased it.
Gambling in Miami is rarely a good idea. And I think gangster Thomas “Fatty” Walsh — who was fatally shot over a gambling dispute at The Biltmore Hotel in 1929 — might agree. While hotel staff hoped he’d be over it by now, it turns out he isn’t. As legend has it, ol’ Fatty still hangs around, mysteriously shaking glasses at the bar, chasing good-looking women, appearing in bathroom mirrors, opening doors and staying particularly close to the 13th floor, where he was killed.
Charles Deering’s former home is a 444-acre archaeological preserve built on Indian burial grounds… so no wonder it’s home to Miami’s largest concentration of spirits. Ghost hunters have recorded a total of 60 voices in the mansion, on one night alone. Now, investigators from PRISM (Paranormal Research & Investigative Studies) lead regular ghost tours and use pendulums, dowsing rods and EMF meters to show believers exactly what’s lurking in the dark.
The fashion brand wasn’t always based at its famed Worth Avenue location. Pre-2010, it was a few blocks down… but employees were driven out by a poltergeist. The playful ghost was known for calling out employee names, flickering lights, opening doors and moving things around. Multiple paranormal researchers were brought in, and a number of exorcisms were performed to try to get rid of the phantom. But nothing worked. Gucci’s solution? Dropping hundos of thousands in cash to move to a new space.