Some of the Most Haunted Places in Florida: Tampa Bay, Fort Desoto, St. Augustine, and More

An old shot of historic Ybor City in Tampa, FL. A place with many ghosts and terrifying tales...
An old shot of historic Ybor City in Tampa, FL. A place with many ghosts and terrifying tales... | Source

Florida...Not Just the Sunshine State

When you visit Florida, you probably come to enjoy a vacation on one of it's warm, sandy beaches. Perhaps you visit the Gulf of Mexico on Florida's West Coast or perhaps you prefer the Atlantic coast better. Disney World, SeaWorld, LegoLand, and the Keys are all attractions that the state of Florida has to offer. Let's not forget the Bucs and Dolphins football!

But when the sun dips down over the ocean and when the moon takes its journey into the night sky, those sandy beaches and flatlands don't look as friendly and inviting as they do during the day. In fact, those same beaches and streets are filled with things that go bump in the night. Ghosts, goblins, and spooks of all kinds make their way out from hiding. Florida is definitely a haunted state...make no mistake about that.

Ghosts in The Keys

We'll begin by learning about ghosts in Florida residing in the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are a series of islands and are the southernmost point of the state of Florida. You have to travel over a series of bridges to reach each island.

In Key West, the most famous of the Keys, the ghosts of Florida make themselves known in almost every old cemetery there. The cemetery located behind St. Paul's Church has a ghost that is known to be a terrifying being, and has actually physically attacked folks on occasion. At the Hemingway House, Ernest Hemingway himself has been seen peering through the windows and greeting visitors.

On Marathon Key, you can find a ghost at almost any place in the town and in the wild. Businesses, homes, and beaches all have their own distinct set of Florida ghosts.

Why are the Keys so haunted? They have a long history of Native American tribes taking residence and using resources there. Not to mention Ponce De Leon landing in the Keys while looking for the fountain of youth. Did we mention there were pirates here that were ran off by a US Navy Fleet in the 1800s?

You just never know what kinds of wily ghosts you'll find in the Florida Keys...

Native and Soldiers' ghosts walk up and down the beach at Fort DeSoto.
Native and Soldiers' ghosts walk up and down the beach at Fort DeSoto. | Source
This tree is a gateway to another realm in Fort DeSoto.
This tree is a gateway to another realm in Fort DeSoto. | Source

Fort DeSoto Ghosts

Fort DeSoto is the gorgeous southern-most point of Pinellas County, Florida. Today it is a nature conservancy and also a state park that allows tourists and locals a chance to camp on the beach. You can go kayaking, fishing, or take a trip over to Egmont Key (which is also very haunted). The ghosts of Florida just might gather here for a vacation of their own!

Pirate ghosts are said to haunt this area, dating back to the times of the Spanish Explorers who first came to Florida in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It is also theorized that the Native American tribes such as the Tocobaga and Calusa also haunt the beaches of Fort DeSoto.

A local legend is that a man in a blue t-shirt haunts the shores of Fort DeSoto beach...looking for a lover. He is said to flirt with the ladies and then disappear into thin air!

My feelings on Fort DeSoto is that there could very well be a vortex of energy flowing there. Just look at the twisted tree to the right. I took this picture myself, and as I took the picture I felt as though there were spirits emanating from the tree itself...like the tree is a doorway to another world...could Fort DeSoto be a gateway to another dimension?

The Great Fire in Ybor City, Tampa.
The Great Fire in Ybor City, Tampa.
A Fire in Ybor City, Tampa.
A Fire in Ybor City, Tampa.

Tampa Bay Ghosts and Goblins

Living in Tampa Bay is a great experience. Between the close beaches, the bay, and the sports teams, there is a lot to do. But at night, certain places in Tampa turn into very spooky spots. The city of Tampa itself dates back to the late 1700s and early 1800s, but the area of Tampa Bay has been inhabited much longer than this. It has been inhabited by various Native American tribes for centuries, including the Tocobaga and Calusa tribes.

Between yellow fever epidemics, run-ins with ravenous wild-life, and battles, Tampa has a long history of tension and tragedy. So it is no wonder that it is one of the most haunted places in the state of Florida. Ghosts abound in historic Tampa.

In Ybor City, now considered a historic part of Tampa, nightclubs, bars, shops, and restaurants line the old brick-covered streets. Here there are tales and legends of a brutal murderer's ghost from the 1800s, ghostly children who play in the aisles of clothing boutiques, and other spectres that roam the streets every night...once the world's biggest cigar-producing town, Ybor City is full of history as well as ghosts. Two large fires have broken out in Ybor over a century ago, of which some people have been rumored to have died. Also yellow fever epidemics have swept the community here in the early 1900s. Are the ghosts here the souls of the people from the fires or the epidemics?

Over the bridge and on the other side of the Bay, much more history abounds. Between the ghosts of pirates, natives, and early farmers/settlers, there are many spooky stories to hear in Pinellas County, FL. For instance, in St. Pete Beach is a hotel known as the Don Cesar Hotel. It is supposedly haunted by the owner and his long-lost love. They are known to stroll the beach and the halls of the hotel. In Clearwater, a ghost known as the white lady haunts the beaches. It is thought that she was a bride who still searches for her long-lost husband. They were supposed to be married and he died in war that very day.

Let's not forget the ghosts that haunt the waters under and the structure of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Hundreds of people have committed suicide by plunging to their deaths from this bridge, and a couple decades ago a boat hit the bridge causing it to collapse, sending a couple dozen people to their deaths. These ghosts are sure to haunt the waters beneath this bridge...and probably the bridge itself. There is a heavy air when crossing that bridge, even though the view is gorgeous. There are even tales that the Native Americans believed these waters were cursed.

Ghosts of Florida take up residence in the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
Ghosts of Florida take up residence in the St. Augustine Lighthouse. | Source

St. Augustine

St. Augustine is one of the most haunted places in Florida and probably in the country. St. Augustine is considered the very first settled city in the entire United States, being established by the Spanish over a hundred years before even Jamestown was settled by the English. This can be credited to the Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon.

St. Augustine has seen quite a bit of bloodshed in its time as an established city. English pirates have burned the city on more than one occasion, and let's not forget the bloody battles between the ever-invading English and the Spanish colonists. The old fort is considered to be one of the most haunted spots in the old city. You are most likely to find the majority of the ghosts of Florida in St. Augustine.

Visitors and tourists find that many of their pictures and videos capture ghosts or ghostly presences. Orbs are pictured constantly, and cold spots can be felt all over the city of St. Augustine...which is odd because it is generally a humid, hot place. Soldiers' ghosts have been seen all over the city, particularly at Twilight hours.

The lighthouse in particular is said to be extremely haunted. Children drowned in the making of the lighthouse, which is said to contribute to disembodied voices of children in the area on occasion. Shadow people have also been recorded numerous times while in the Lighthouse.

Even a legend of a vampire has circulated the city of St. Augustine for decades. It is indeed one of the most haunted places in Florida, and holds some of the most well-known ghosts of Florida.

Written and copyright © KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Burying Ground in Haunted St. Augustine.
Burying Ground in Haunted St. Augustine. | Source

Ghosts in Florida on a Map

show route and directions
A markerfort desoto, florida -
Fort Desoto County Park, St. Petersburg, FL 33715, USA
[get directions]

B markerSaint Augustine, FL -
St. Augustine, FL, USA
[get directions]

C markerKey West -
Key West, FL 33040, USA
[get directions]

D markerTampa, FL -
Tampa, FL, USA
[get directions]

© 2013 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 10 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks so much, Rachael!


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago

This was a nice little trip down memory lane for me. I lived in Tampa, Florida for a short time in the 1990's before moving to California. I've heard some of the Key West stories before, but not the background on them. I enjoyed reading about St Augustine too. I just loved this hub! Voted up and shared.

Rachael


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 3 years ago

I live right near Ft. Desoto and sometimes we camp there overnight. It's so peaceful there, no sign of ghosts so far! But I know soooo many people who have had bad haunting experiences in Ybor City, which is across the bay from us. Great hub, great reporting on FL ghost activity.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 3 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, d. william. Blessings to you!


d.william profile image

d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

Fun article and well written. Great job. You make the legends of ghostly apparitions seem almost real. While i don't particularly believe in such things, i do believe that energies from some intense tragic events may linger for centuries. It is like an imprint on a negative when we take a picture. But, your version is more interesting. voted up, awesome and interesting


EricDockett profile image

EricDockett 3 years ago from USA

Glad you mentioned Key West, one of my favorite towns. I've been to the Hemingway House, but never did spot his ghost. It's still a very cool place, with a definite presence. Especially the upper writing room. It really feels like he's still there.


ESPeck1919 profile image

ESPeck1919 3 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

Wow. This is very interesting. I wouldn't be surprised at all if there was an energetic vortex in some of those areas at all. Great hub!


phoenix2327 profile image

phoenix2327 3 years ago from United Kingdom

I enjoy reading about ghosts and spirits and this hub was most enjoyable.

The twisted tree is in intriguing. It definitely would catch my eye and I would feel compelled to investigate it further.

I understand what you mean about Fort DeSoto being a gateway. I think we have something similar here. The site of Peterborough Cathedral has an otherworldly feel to it. Whenever I pass through the archway from the town centre, I feel different. I suddenly feel calm and it's so quiet. It's as if the busy streets and marketplace just don't exists anymore. The Cathedral itself is a wondrous place and feels...alive. Since this site has been a place of worships since the time of the Viking invasions, it has more than it's fair share of ghosts and spirits. One in particular seems destined to relive the time of this death as people have told of seeing a what they believe to be a monk running towards the back of the church and then disappearing. It's believed he may have been running away from maurauding Vikings when was cut down.

It's a lovely place to escape to and it's a wrench for me to have to leave it to join the real world.


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

Kittythedreamer,

Thanks for the story. I personally believe that ghosts are everywhere lurking waiting and watching. Voted up.


W1totalk profile image

W1totalk 3 years ago

For some reason, I thought this would be a historical only lesson of Florida's past. It is but there are also actual ghost in the article. Great read.

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    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,893 Followers
    430 Articles

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



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