St. Augustine, Florida
Before I get into the details of this post, I first need to mention that I have some of the best people in my life possible. This year is truly showing the value of the people I decide to keep close to me, and it’s still only January! First, I get surprised with Dom Perignon for the New Year and now I’m surprised with a trip to St. Augustine to go on a ghost tour and to stay in a haunted hotel. My friend Shiran thoughtfully looked over my bucket list and figured out things to do from it while I stayed with her. So again, thank you very much for this gracious opportunity, not only to accomplish a goal of mine, but to experience it with such a great person and friend.
St. Augustine Florida is considered the nation’s oldest city and was founded by the Spanish in 1564. It is known by archaeologists as being the pinpoint for the present day Mission of Nombre de Dios and the Fountain of Youth stand near the city gates and the Castillo de San Marcos. Along with this rich history in the oldest city in America, it is also considered one of the most haunted places in America. If you know me, you know I’ll never pass up on a good ghost story!
Shiran booked us a ghost walking tour that took us around the city to various places. She has done a tour before and the previous one took her to completely different spots than the one we chose to do. Just goes to show how many haunted attractions are in this area. We walked around the town and stopped in front of the Ponce de Leon hotel, the Casablanca Inn (where we actually stayed that night), a bar, where the bathroom upstairs was haunted, a graveyard, and various walkways where soldiers would roam the cobblestone streets.
One of the first places we learned about was the Ponce de Leon Hotel where the wife of the owner now haunts the place. She is known for destroying women’s makeup and cutting up their clothing. Perhaps in a jealous act against her husband.
We also learned about a soldier who roams the streets asking if people are doing ok and need any assistance. People often see him in full military dress and have actual conversations with him. Really makes you wonder if some of your stranger encounters were real or not!
The tour also led us to the Casablanca Inn, right outside the room we were staying in. I’ll save that story for my post about that stay. You can read that post HERE: Stay in a Haunted Hotel.
The tour led us to a local bar in town where the bathroom upstairs is haunted. People feel sensations and often feel their pant leg being tugged. I kind of wish we had gone upstairs to the room, but we didn’t have a lot of time to explore.
The tour ended with a stop at the Huguenot Cemetery. I took a lot of pictures in this location and was very impressed with the orbs in the photos. The area is known most widely for the ghost of this man called the Judge. He is hunched over with a top hat and walks around looking at the graves. People see him so often that the local police department keeps a file on him from all the 911 calls of people saying someone is looking at graves and may be robbing them. While we did not see him, our guide explained that she does have group experiences with him often showing up.
The Castillo de San Marcos, a large fort in the city, is known for being the most haunted in the city. We visited this fort after our tour concluded and ventured off on our own. Encompassed in darkness except for a few lights illuminating some of the building, it definitely left a very eerie vibe.
Some encounters experienced at this location is seeing a light from the watch tower, seeing soldiers wander around when the sun is beginning to set, feeling strange sensations around the dungeon, and getting orbs in pictures. We walked around for a few and I can’t say that I felt anything. However, the area did creep me out to say the least.
I was sad to see I didn’t get as many orbs in photos as I would have liked to, especially considering other tours I’ve done. However, the area is very rich in the stories and definitely makes you wonder what you may feel, experience, or even talk to while there. Is it real? Perhaps not!
*Thank you Shiran and Omar for going on this adventure with me
HOW TO DO THIS: Set a trip to St. Augustine. There are various tour groups to use. In fact, set up a few. You may get around to all the haunted areas in the city since there are so many.
WOULD I DO THIS AGAIN: Absolutely!! It was a very pretty area as well, so not just a vacation for the hauntings.