Florida Paranormal: 5 of the Most Haunted Places in the Sunshine State

Updated on March 28, 2015
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has had paranormal experiences her entire life. These experiences have fueled her passion to write about all things supernatural.

Paranormal Activity in Florida?

Most people that have had the privilege of visiting the state of Florida visit for vacationing purposes. The beaches in Florida are some of the top most beautiful in the entire world and with good reason. But there is a darker side to Florida that most tourists and snowbirds do not even realize...a dark side that lurks in the most unexpected places. Take a brief and bewitching tour with me through five of Florida's most haunted places, and we will learn about the Sunshine State's ghostly secrets along our way. We'll learn that Florida is indeed a haunted place.


1. May-Stringer House

The May-Stringer House is now a museum in Brooksville, Florida, full of antiques from the 1800's and early 1900s and also home to a collection of War collectibles. By day, the museum welcomes visitors to a tour through its historic halls and rooms, but by night only the adults are welcome to participate in the tour. This is because 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 paranormally active spots. This house is truly the number one place for Florida paranormal activity.

Believed to have been erected circa 1856, John May moved into the home with his daughters and wife, Marena. They lived happily together for a short period in time within the May House, when John May passed away in 1858. His beloved wife, Marena, ended up marrying a man named Frank Saxon, eight years after her first husband passed. Marena gave birth to a beautiful little girl shortly thereafter, but sadly she passed during the painful childbirthing process...most likely due to Puerperal fever (childbed fever). The little girl was named Jessie May Saxon and the story gets even more depressing from here...three years after Jessie was born, she died too. The causes are said to be unknown and both Jessie and her mother's graves have not been pinpointed, though there is a cemetery on the premises and gravestones throughout. After the Mays and Stringers, a few doctors resided in the home, using it as a part of their business. Different families have lived in its haunted yet pristinely Victorian walls and gingerbread wooden frames, and it is known that more than just members of the May and Saxon family passed here.

Today, the house-turned-museum is documented to be haunted...and extensively haunted at that. There are pictures all over the internet taken of different places in the house with strange streaks of light and blackness that can't be explained by professionals. There was one particular picture that really creeped me out...a picture of the outside of the house at night...with at least twenty orbs surrounding the mansion, from the foundation in the ground to the tip of the roof. People who have been on the night tour say that they have caught dozens of EVPs on tape and have experienced the sound of a little girl's ghost crying in the dark attic. It is thought by many to be the sad little voice of Jessie May...desperately wanting to have her family back. One person even claims to have seen her peering down to him from the attic window.

But amongst the friendly ghosts at the haunted May-Stringer House, there is also a darker spirit called "Mr. Nasty." He tends to give people the chills and shakes when in their presence. Fortunately, he has not been violent or too terrifying. The main focus of the paranormal events that have taken place in this mansion have Jessie May's three-year-old touch all over them. Toys will be in disarray when the employees come to open the museum (although they know the toys were in an orderly fashion the night before), with no sign that anyone had broken in to tamper with things. One time in particular, Jessie May's hauntingly white porcelain doll was moved from the play 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 all of the time and ask that the museum visitors do not even touch the antique doll...for Jessie May's sake.

To add to the mystery and sadness behind Jessie May's haunting, it is said that if you visit the ghost-filled museum you will find a picture of a sleeping Jessie May on the mantle. But don't be fooled...she is not sleeping in this old photograph...she is lying in her child-size coffin. Creepy, right? It is something that the people used to do back in those days, and it sure adds to the hair-raising vibe of the haunted May-Stringer House. Other pictures can be found in the house, including one of Jessie May's father, Frank Saxon. I wonder if their eyes follow you when you walk by?

As for the EVPs, I read that one particular person caught a little girl on tape asking for her mommy...and another EVP of a little girl's voice asking for "more cake please". Do you think that Jessie May's ghost is still stuck in the house, eternally bound to looking for her missing mother? Just remember, it's not just sweet little Jessie May occupying this antique home...there are other ghosts known to haunt the property...including other older owners of the home. 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. I'm sure it will be well worth the visit...and I guarantee you will have a frighteningly good (or just plain terrifying) time!

Actual photo of the fire of 1908 in Ybor City.
Actual photo of the fire of 1908 in Ybor City.

2. Ybor City

Haunted Ybor City is a part of the sunny city of Tampa, Florida. It is a part that has a thick and rich hispanic history, as well as a dark, ubiquitous history that seems to hang heavily in the air. It is a smaller part of the city that has been established since the 1800's and started out as a cigar manufacturing town. At its peak of success, it was considered the largest cigar manufacturing city in the world, with the ability to produce millions in a day. Unfortunately, with Cuban and Italian immigrants who lacked hygienic resources and skills, diseases and illnesses ran rampant in many of the manufacturing facilities.

In the early 1900s, a tuberculosis epidemic hit this quaint part of town and claimed many of the workers' lives, as well as their family's lives. If that wasn't hard enough on the immigrants and residents of Ybor City, they then had to deal with two large fires that wiped out a couple blocks worth of buildings and manufacturing plants on two separate occasions. The papers claim that no one was killed in these fires, but how were they to be sure?

Now if you visit haunted Ybor City, there are shops and nightclubs lining the brick streets...but there is still a feeling of stepping back in time...feelings of something lurking behind every corner. Many shop owners and employees throughout the area have claimed to have seen and experienced different ghosts within their buildings, including one little boy's ghost who seems to play tricks on the employees by moving objects around and running throughout the aisles of clothing, when the store has been shut down. Another tale of the haunted Cuban Club tells us of a lady ghost in a misty dress who has been seen walking down the staircase on many occasions; pianos playing by themselves, and disembodied voices talking into the night when no one is in the old building.

A law firm located in Ybor City also claims to be haunted. Further investigation into the history of the old haunted building shows us that the law firm was first a bar and was the scene of a heinous fight when the bar had first opened. A man was killed in the fight, trauma to the head...now he can be heard talking in Spanish and walking around in the law firm's building at night. The lawyers and employees have said that the paranormal activity died down after their remodeling had been completed, however.

If you get the chance to travel to haunted Tampa, Florida and you are intrigued by places with a rich history, give Ybor City a try...but watch out! You may run into an angry cigar plant worker that died over a hundred years ago!

To read a more detailed account of Ybor's haunted history, click here: http://hubpages.com/hub/The-Hauntings-of-Ybor-City.

3. Riverwalk Museum

At Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Riverwalk Hotel has been made into a museum in recent years; however, it is one of the oldest hotel buildings in Fort Lauderdale today, being established in the early 1900s. There is talk amongst the employees and locals that the museum is in fact haunted. And, like many older established buildings in Florida, it is not haunted by just one ghost or entity, it is haunted by a quite a few ghosts.

A ghostly little girl, between the ages of five and seven, can supposedly be seen looking through the second floor's window at different times of the day. Passersby have caught a spine-tingling glimpse of her, only to find out that the museum is closed and no one should be inside at that moment. The ghost of a man, who appears to be in his twenties or thirties, will look through the window of the first floor and has even scared some people away by pressing his nose and hands to the glass once the helpless and unsuspecting person peers inside. The ghost of a man in his late forties has been said to pace the first floor at night; he has been seen wearing a brown duster and it appears that he is from a different time period. Cold spots and creepy feelings in each room of the haunted museum have been reported by different people throughout the years.

St. John's River
St. John's River | Source

4. Round Cypress Head

There is a particular gaggle of cypress trees, if you will, known as the Round Cypress Head of St. John's River in Seminole County, Florida. It is not easy to reach and would take a boat and some heavy boots to get there; however, many say that the paranormal occurrences that they have witnessed in this spot of the wooded river is a story worth the trip.

Some say that a demon lives amongst the centuries-old trees in Round Cypress Head. This legend has been around for ages, dating back to the time of prohibition...the boot-legging era. This demon is said to be a shape-shifter, able to metamorphose into a bobtailed wild cat at will. Many young hunters and fishermen were warned to never visit the haunted Round Cypress Head, because if they did this demon would consume them...some believe this demon was possibly a witch and the bobtailed cat was actually her familiar. Paranormal investigators, specifically the investigators who wrote the book Weird Florida, traveled to this haunted cypress forest by boat down the St. John's River. What did they find? An extremely dark and dank area of cypress woods, with roots sticking up from the ground and barely any light seeping through the canopy of thick cypress branches...a perfect place for a demon or witch to haunt. Though they did not find this demon or have any particularly terrifying paranormal experiences, they confirmed that there were some broken bottles and jars, possibly from the moonshining days. A theory is that this demon or witch of Round Cypress Head was made up by bootleggers, in an attempt to keep their stash safe from the authorities or from any young'uns who might steal it.

Still yet, locals claim that certain fisherman have gone missing on the St. John's River, and many fishermen and hunters have said time and again that those woods are definitely haunted. Moaning noises, bending trees, and horrible smells accompany the legends of the haunted Round Cypress Head...maybe there is a logical explanation to these occurrences...maybe not. We may never know.

What death lurks at the bottom of Lake Okeechobee?
What death lurks at the bottom of Lake Okeechobee? | Source

5. Lake Okeechobee

Lake Okeechobee is the second largest body of fresh-water in the United States, as it stretches over seven hundred and thirty five square miles of Florida land. Old American beauty undulates from the Lake in every direction, but there are some darker secrets that the lake holds...literally. Separate reports of ghost phenomena and sightings in and around Lake Okeechobee occur every year...from my research, there has been five reports already this year. Other than ghosts, there have been tales circulating the haunted lake about ancient monsters and dinosaurs...which have all been rejected by modern science. However, the ghostly hauntings are impossible for any scholars or educated men to deny...there have just been too many.

Back in the early 1900s, a scary sight could be seen on the southern most part of Lake Okeechobee, between Kreamer Island and Observation Island. What was that terrifying sight? Massive amounts of skeletons...just lying in the bed of the lake...resting in a watery grave. The skeletons are unable to be seen today, but when random fishermen in the early 20th century came across these bodies, they were definitely frightened. Stories are told by locals of fishermen "catchin' skulls" on their days fishing the mysterious and haunted lake. Theories are that the skeletons are those of the Seminoles, due to their struggles with war or disease, while others believe that it could be the skeletons of ancient people...ancient tribes that resided in Florida before the Seminoles' reign in the 1700's. Whatever the case, I can guarantee that this could be aiding in the paranormal phenomenon taking place in a constant manner around the lake's lands.

Let us also not forget that a massive hurricane in 1928 hit the lake and killed thousands of people, all of which were buried at one gravesite...the historical marker pictured to the right. In addition to the Natives' potential watery burial grounds, there has been a large amount of death surrounding the lake throughout the centuries...it is no wonder the area is so haunted!

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Nicole Canfield


    Submit a Comment

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 4 years ago from Summerland

      Fort DeSoto Park is a campground, but it usually has to be reserved months ahead of time. But I would check it out if I were you.

    • profile image

      Shelby 4 years ago

      I need a place where me and my friends can camp in Halloween! A place that is creepy,but we can also stay the night there. These are just places to visit.but we would like a campground...any ideas?

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from Summerland

      Awesome! Glad to hear it.

    • Zfuentes4 profile image

      Z. Fuentes 5 years ago from Florida

      I just moved to Florida in late January. I'm exited to read that two of the listed places are relatively close to me: #3 is the closest, and the #5 would be the second closest. I will have to visit these places! Thanks for the excellent Hub!

    • kizmit21 profile image

      kizmit21 5 years ago

      Great information!! I never tire of learning about paranormal activity. It's sad to admit, but the paranormal is usually more interesting than current life situations reported on the news, or talked about around the water coolers at work.

    • bwhite062007 profile image

      Brianna W 5 years ago from East Coast

      Love it! Such an interesting read. And me being a paranormal junkie, there are some places listed here that I have never heard of which makes it all the more fascinating! Thanks and voted up.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Oh, yes. I've written hubs on the Sunshine Skyway as well as Tampa Theater. ;) Thanks for reading & cheers!

    • gryphin423 profile image

      gryphin423 6 years ago from Florida

      Great hub, I live in St Petersburg and a friend of mine is a paranormal investigator. Tampa Theater is supposed to be haunted and supposedly the Sunshine Skyway has some ghosts from various unfortunate suicides. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your hub, thanks!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      briansview - I know there's some ghosts in Clearwater...maybe I'll do a hub about that next! Yes, check out the place in Brooksville and Ybor too. Ybor is extremely haunted...there's a lot of history there that most people don't realize. And yes, I already know about St. Augustine...I was saving that hub for when I actually get to visit St. Augustine. :) Thanks so much!

    • briansview13905 profile image

      briansview13905 6 years ago

      I've been searching through New Age sections at bookstores for information like this for a long time. I'm so glad to see there is finally a Hub about it. I live in Clearwater, FL and wondering if there are any known spirits around here. But thanks so much for the info. I'll definitely check out the tour of the haunted house in Brooksville & a few of the spots in Ybor. By the way, your Hub earned you a Vote Up from me, an Interesting, an Awesome and a Useful. Keep up the great work! Oh incidentally, you might want to read up a little bit about St. Augustine, one of the oldest and most haunted cities in the US.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      angelriding - Great, let me know which one you visit!

      cresentmoon - Go for it! I write a lot about paranormal things because I've always been so interested in it. I've had so many experiences with it too that I've just come to really love learning about the paranormal and writing about it. There are a ton of paranormal topics out there to write about so do it. :) Thanks for reading.

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      The first one is absolutely beautiful. Wonderful hub and I was just thinking about the idea to write hubs about haunted places myself. Then I saw that you already did. LOL. Might still work on a couple of different places that you haven't done yet. Loved it, voted up.

    • angelriding profile image

      angelriding 6 years ago from lancashire, england, uk

      wow...we visit florida a lot and never new this! fab we will look these places up next visit x

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      St. Cyprian - Are you really a Saint? :) Thanks for commenting. I have yet to visit Saint Augustine but can't wait to do so! I hear many haunting stories about St. Augustine. I'd love to see the pictures.

    • profile image

      St.Cyprian 6 years ago

      Excellent article! I had a really interesting experience in St. Augustine once, as I'm sure many people do. But, this one was caught on tape with night vision and you can see on the film there are all of these orbs flying around me setting of my EMF detector! And, the whole while - what you can't see - was what seemed like a crowd of people behind me and ghosties trying to talk to me in two different languages. I'm bi-lingual. It was really wild. Got some great stuff on camera there.

      Love your pics! I almost feel like I was there all over again!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      Jenn2014 - Thanks so much! Ohhhh, let me know if you happen to see any skulls pop out your next trip! :) Thanks for stopping by, love.

    • Jenn2014 profile image

      Jenn2014 7 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      Very cool stories! I live in Florida and never really heard much about this stuff! I even pass lake Okeechobee on my way home to see my family, so again, very cool!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      Busch Gardens? Disney World? Sea World? I wonder if these places are haunted, too! :) Thanks for commenting, MasonicTraveler! I can't wait to read your hubs!

    • MasonicTraveler profile image

      MasonicTraveler 7 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Sounds like some fun places to visit, I liked my last trip to Florida's amusement parks - next time I hit the haunted houses

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      Kitty: I am so happy you loved the pictures. You had to see my face when I saw what I took pictures of.

      My pool is facing the mountains. I took the pictures by the jacuzzi and the deep end of the pool but you do not focus. You turn your lens up, never put your eye to view and snap snap snap!!!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      Ewww...not me! LOL. Too funny. Have a good one and thanks for helping me laugh today, myi4u!

    • myi4u profile image

      myi4u 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      haha... if I had to poop while on the tour, I would rather poop in my pants than using the toilets! I will take the advice of having a roll of toilet paper!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      LeeLee - I do love them. Very wonderful pictures. What is that orb in the dark? Are those the woods outside of your home? Very beautiful place indeed...full of secrets it seems...

      Good call on the roomie, I'm not positive that that happened but that seems about right. Very likely!

      myi4u - I'm sure you have enough courage...it just takes having someone with you and a roll of toilet paper...in case you poop your pants. :)

    • myi4u profile image

      myi4u 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Creepy.... I like to watch ghost movies and going into ghost houses but I wonder if I have enough courage to go to those ghostly night tour .... nice hub!

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      You are think are going to love them I will be waiting to see what you think!



      OH that roomie... After you left, then the other one she did not care for left and then the next one which left her in the house alone. Then others she wanted moved in...

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      I haven't even gotten to look at them yet...supposed to be working! I'll look at them at home tonight, thanks so much!

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      Skeptical you? Never. Did you like the photos that my daughter Sydney sent you? They were sent at your YAHOO address

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      i see what you mean about the woman in the may-stringer house, but the faces in clouds? well, i see those all of the time and that i believe has something to do with pareidolia.

      as for the woman behind the car, i don't see a black dress, i see an attachment to the car that looks like a black dress, though it does seem like someone is standing on the second story balcony.

      lake okeechobee - yes, many people have died there.

      not to be skeptical, but i have a realist side to me, as well. :) great observations though. i may just not be as talented with seeing as you are.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      Okay let's try this again: 7:41 AM

      As you know I study the pictures first then comment leave then come back and read the hub...

      May Stringer House

      Look at 2nd photo

      Window upstairs by the tree ( Female )

      Headstones are FABULOUS!

      Ybor City ( You felt Vibes )

      Look at the clouds. There is a top layer of white a middle layer of black and white and a bottom layer of white. Look at the black and white layer. Look in the center. See the face?

      Now the 2nd Photo:

      Look at the clouds aka smoke

      Look by the top of the trees


      4th Photo: Look behind the car going up. See the woman in the black dress? Also look at the second story balcony

      Lake Okeechobee

      2nd Photo: Look at the clouds

      Alot of people have died here

      I actually used a magnifying glass LOL....

      Let me know what you found



    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      hi, susan! thanks so much...glad you enjoyed...yes, there is something definitely enchanting about ybor city...haunting yet beautiful.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Such an interesting hub. I was in Ybor city and loved the place. Up and awesome!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      florida is an amazing place...there's so much to the state that you would never know exists. i think i might take a haunted tour of st. augustine this halloween (i didn't mention this in this hub but maybe another)...anyway, there are a lot of mysterious and paranormally active places in florida to be discovered!

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 7 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      WOW! I never saw any of that on my Florida vacation. I plan to go back though, I will keep this in mind for sure, thanks again. Check out my hub on places I'v been, I have most of what I did see while there. Good idea's for hubs!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Great read! I really enjoyed it! It just makes me upset to think that little children are lost after death and still reside in the place in which they died. Maybe one day they will find there way, either that or someone will cross them over into the light. Thanks for the great read!

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      hi zakmoonbeam! glad you enjoyed it. thanks for the good rating too! :)

    • Zakmoonbeam profile image

      Michael Murchie 7 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Lots of info to read through, loved it ! Rated up

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 7 years ago from Summerland

      no, thank you! have a great day!

    • dukeny21 profile image

      dukeny21 7 years ago

      Very interesting! Thanks.


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