St. Augustine is the oldest town in America. It might also be the most haunted.
The city of St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and has remained inhabited ever since. It’s the oldest European settlement in America (although, of course, indigenous people lived there long before that).
Florida remained a Spanish colony for two hundred years. It was given briefly to the British but returned twenty years later. Perhaps the heat, alligators, and mosquitoes were too much for them. It joined the United States as a territory in 1819, and for all that time, St. Augustine was the capital city.
But that’s just the bare-bones history you’ll find in books. The real story of St. Augustine is steeped in mystery–and, too often, tragedy. Take a ghost tour–there are plenty to choose from–and you’ll hear about doomed lovers and pirate attacks, lost children and murdered women.
As I said, there are many ghost hunting tours on offer in St. Augustine. It’s a relatively small city, with flat streets and lots of historically–and supernaturally–interesting places all crammed together. That makes the place uniquely suited to walking tours of haunted hotspots. Here are just a few that are quite popular with tourists and ghost hunters.
The Old Jail
It makes sense than a jail might be haunted by restless spirits. If you’re a believer in ghosts, then you’ve heard the popular theory that spirits are formed from intense emotions. Jails promise anger, despair, and fear. Not pleasant emotions, but strong ones.
Keep the place running for a century or two, and it’s no wonder that visitors the old jail report hearing moaning and rattling chains. A few have also heard heavy, spectral footsteps walking along the corridors.
Castillo de San Marcos
The fort is worth seeing, even without the ghosts. Castillo de San Marcos was built by the Spaniards in the late 17th century and is the oldest masonry fort in the country.
At night, however, the fort is a favorite spot for ghost hunters. In addition to the many battles at the fort, the place was also used as a military prison. The most famous ghost is said to be Delores Marti, the wife of a Spanish colonel stationed at the fort in the late 18th century. According to the legend, Col. Marti believed his wife was having an affair with one of his officers.
Both Delores and her alleged lover mysterious disappeared–but sadly, they might not have escaped to freedom. Visitors report seeing a ghostly woman in white walking the grounds of Castillo de San Marcos.
Who doesn’t love a haunted graveyard? The Huguenot Cemetery, founded in 1821, appears to be more supernaturally active than most. Visitors report seeing strange lights and humanoid figures moving amongst the shadows there.
It’s also a fascinating historical site and worth visiting both in the daytime and at night.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse
No trip to St. Augustine would be complete without a tour of the old lighthouse. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s one of the most active hauntings in the city.
The lighthouse is said to be home to the spirit of a former keeper who fell to his death while repainting the outside. Another tale claims that visitors can hear voices of three girls who died in accident during the construction of the tower.