If you're headed to Florida to hit the beaches and amusement parks, there's another thrill that might be of interest to you. Not only are the Keys one of the best travel destinations, they're also insanely haunted, and if you're brave enough, you can add some spine-tingling thrills to your tropical trip!
Captain Tony's Saloon is a popular place to grab a drink, thanks to the fact that celebs like Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote, Shel Silverstein, Tennessee Williams and Jimmy Buffet, have all been known to frequent the bar. What the tourist guide books often fail to note is the fact that the dive bar used to be a morgue. In fact, there are still bodies buried underneath the bar stools.
Captain Tony's expanded throughout the twentieth century. Besides building around Key West's hanging tree, owners expanded the saloon to include a billiards room, building over and around a well containing holy water.
In the 1980s, while taking up the old plywood flooring, the bones from between eight and fifteen bodies were discovered. A skeletal reminder of the find hangs behind the bar today. Also unearthed was the grave marker of a young woman named Elvira, which is now exposed in the cement next to a pool table.
Over the years many have witnessed the ghost of Captain Geiger, who was the original owner of Audubon House and Gardens. Often he is spotted around the balconies of the house or walking in the gardens. Many people believe Geiger has decided to stick around to keep an eye on his fortune, which is said to be buried somewhere on the property.
Visitors often described feeling sad when they viewed a particular painting in the house's main room; it got so bad that the painting was relocated. It hasn't stopped visitors from hearing the sounds of disembodied voices and footsteps walking through the house during their visit, though.
You might not know it, but William Curry, Florida's first millionaire, built the Hard Rock Cafe as a gift to his son. Unfortunately Robert committed suicide shortly after loosing his family fortune, and has been spotted long after his death by various guests walking the halls.
According to legend, the Crowne Plaza was the sight of some pretty salacious activity in its day. There are countless rumors that the hotel has been the scene of quite a few suicides and deaths, including an employee who fell five stories down a faulty elevator shaft to his death. Over the years many guests staying at the hotel have reported seeing the ghost of a young man who makes the same journey to the elevator before falling to the ground and disappearing. More often than not, the mysterious ghost is heard in the dead of night screaming from the elevator.
Built by famed cigar maker Francisco Marrero, the Marrero Guest Mansion, a bed and breakfast, is 100% haunted. It is said to have been built for his one true love, Enriquetta, who died after giving birth to eight children. She reportedly still haunts the mansion, particularly room #18, where many have heard disembodied voices.
It's suggested that if you really want to have a paranormal experience, do your best to get a room on the third floor of the Ocean Key Resort, which faces Duval Street. Guests have reported cold spots that roam around the floor both night and day. Once nighttime sets in, be prepared to hear the sounds of mysterious voices and footsteps, and to possibly even witness unexplainable lights in your room. Guests have even reported seeing things mysteriously moving around in their room.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach might not have seen any bloodshed from battles, but this landmark was still the sight of many deaths from disease. Throughout history, yellow fever and diphtheria took the lives of thousands of people in the area, which is part of the reason that today, countless visitors report having experienced paranormal activity at the park. Often times guests report seeing ghostly soldiers standing at attention, or hearing the unexplainable sounds of gunshots and cannons.
Over the years, countless guests have reported seeing the spirit of Ernest Hemingway at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum after hours, pacing back and forth on the famous second story veranda. The museum is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a tuxedo cat who sneaks off back to the cat cemetery before the sun comes up. And, there are rumors of a smoking female ghost, who has been spotted near the brick entranceway. Neighbors have even discovered cigarette butts after the woman disappears into thin air.
Often times, guests to the Chelsea House Hotel report witnessing the apparition of a man who many think was murdered by his wife. One room, #018, is often filled with the smell of pipe smoke that disappears completely after a few moments. If you're interested in having a paranormal experience of your own, make sure to book that room, which is said to be the most haunted in the hotel.
The Amsterdam Curry Mansion Inn is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who is often spotted standing on the main staircases. Keep your eyes peeled for the mysterious figure!
What's a ghost adventure without a cemetery? Look no further, because the Key West Cemetery is riddled with stories and reports from witnesses who claim to have had run-ins from the other side. Guests have reported seeing apparitions of sprits that watch approaching guests from behind the bars of the fence before disappearing. The ghost of a man named Captain Cosgrove is also supposed to haunt the cemetery, appearing on the grounds and nearby homes. The most popular ghost, though, is that of a little girl who is said to steal chocolates from the guests of nearby resorts.
If you’ve ever seen a Child’s Play movie, then you might already know that Fort East Martello Museum's doll, Robert, was the inspiration behind the infamous character Chucky, minus the red hair and freckles, of course. In 1906, Robert the doll was gifted to Key West painter Robert Eugene Otto (when he was just a child) by a Bahamian servant, who was also a practitioner of voodoo and black magic. Often Otto’s parents would catch him whispering to the doll, and Otto claimed the doll would speak back.
Neighbors to the Otto family claimed to see the doll running from one window to the next at night, stopping to gaze through the curtains at them. Even the Otto family reported seeing and hearing the pitter-patter of Robert’s creepy feet running through the house at night.
When Eugene died in 1974, Robert was left behind in the house, and was kept by the new family to move in. It didn’t take long before Robert overstayed his welcome... by threatening the family’s 10 year old daughter in the dead of night. That very day he was shipped off; he was donated to the museum where he’s continued to terrorize the staff and visiting guests.
Things got so bad at one point that Robert’s case was moved away from the other displays because he kept knocking them over. According to eyewitnesses, Robert is also a fan of giggling, knocking over objects, and changing expressions, which he is known to do quite often. Today you can visit Robert at Fort East Martello Museum... if you’re brave enough.
Just a warning: Robert hates when you take his picture and has a history of causing unexplainable technical problems, so be prepared.
So there you have it ghost hunters! If you're headed to the Florida Keys and you're looking to get into some paranormal adventures, here's your go-to guide to getting spooky!