St. Augustine is the oldest city in the entire country, so it only makes sense that a place with so much history is so notorious for paranormal activity. There are enough haunted places here to write a book about, but we’re focusing on the most terrifying, bone-chilling stories that will keep you awake at night. Here they are—get ready to sleep with one eye open tonight:
1. The hauntings of Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos, or "The Old Fort" was build in 1672, making it the only currently standing 17th-century fort in North America. It has seen many bloody battles, so it's no surprise that it's supposedly a hub for paranormal activity. Locals have reported several phenomena, including a watchtower light that turns on by itself, orbs floating about in the sky above the fort, strange sensations in the dungeon like goosebumps, cold winds, and physical sickness, and even sightings of a uniformed soldier.
2. The tragedy of the St. Augustine lighthouse
This lighthouse is arguably the most haunted place in the entire city. Many lives have been lost in and around it for various reasons, but one story breaks the hearts and chills the bones of all who hear about it. In the summer of 1873, when the lighthouse was being constructed, five children (presumably those of the workers) were riding around on a cart that was used to bring in supplies. They accidentally rode it into the water and drowned due to not knowing how to swim. Today, if you visit the lighthouse, you might see the children playing on their favorite swingset or looking out from the high windows of the tower.
3. The bootlegger of Casablanca Inn
During the early 20th-century, bootleggers used to bring alcohol on shore and spend the night in the inn with it in their possession. Law enforcement was cracking down heavily on these outlaws, so they had to become increasingly more sneaky with their smuggling--which was a difficult task indeed. The old woman who owned the inn was going through financial hardship, so she decided to aid the bootleggers to make more money. She notified them when it wasn't safe to come on shore by waving a lantern in an upstairs window. Locals say that if you walk past the inn at night, you'll see the very same lantern shining as bright as can be--only now, there's nobody holding it.
4. The burial ground below the Spanish Military Hospital
Hospitals in general are sad, scary places that are associated with paranormal activity due to all the sickness and death, so you can imagine how haunted the hospitals in the oldest city in America must be. The Spanish Military hospital was built in the late 18th-century and reconstructed about 50 years later. When workers knocked down the walls, nothing could've prepared them for what they found; piles of bones arranged in ritualistic patterns indicative of the ancient Timucuan Indian tribe. This finding, combined with all the war-torn, troubled souls who passed away in the hospital, provide a perfect explanation for what the staff members called an "evil" and "frightening" presence watching over them all day long.
5. The ghostly prisoners of the old jail
The "Old Jail" was home to thousands of prisoners during its 60 years of operation. The living conditions were some of the worst imaginable. The inmates were not allowed baths, their beds were constructed from Spanish moss (which often got infested with bugs), and there was no air conditioning, making summers and winters practically unbearable. Many lost their lives here due to sickness and execution. The prison is open to the public for tours, so if you're brave enough, you can experience firsthand what many tourists have reported: a sweet smell, resembling that of molasses, hanging in the air, barking dogs believed to be the spectral hounds of a sheriff who used to guard the cells, the eerie sound of tunes being hummed and footsteps followed by the distinct clinking and dragging of chains on the ground.
Did you know these bone-chilling stories? Are you brave enough to explore any of these places for yourself?