Florida is full of history -- good and bad -- with the bad being arguably some of the most interesting around this time of the year. If you are anything like me, you think that one of the (best) and creepiest parts about Halloween is reading about haunted places and finding out what kinds of things go bump in the night - well, Florida is full of it! Here are my top 5 haunted places in Florida that will totally put you in the mood for the spooky season.
1. Versace Mansion - Miami
The iconic mansion once owned by the prominent Versace family is now considered to be one of the state's top haunted locations. Some people say that on full moons they can see ghosts of dead models outside of this mansion -- it's also been rumored that the big man himself, Gianni Versace, who was murdered in front of it in 1997, is said to still roam the grounds. And I mean, after spending that much money on a place, I totally don't blame him. Oh, did I mention it's been turned into a hotel?
2. St. Augustine Lighthouse - St. Augustine
As the state's oldest city, St. Augustine has no shortage of ghostly tales, including the St. Augustine Lighthouse located just south of Jacksonville on Anastasia Island. Home to one of the most haunted places in Florida, the lighthouse has been rumored to be home to restless spirits of past owners, groundskeepers and guests for more than 100 years! They currently offer nighttime and ghost tours that will walk you through all the spookiest legends -- if you think you're brave enough. Sorry, but the heights are enough to do me in!
3. Ybor City - Tampa
Ybor City was recently ranked one of the nations "most haunted" destinations, and with such a dark history, we can believe it. Not too long ago was Ybor regarded as one of the state's poorest towns -- murder and violent crime was rampant here until recently. Due to its bloody past, the Tampa neighborhood is now a hodgepodge of supposedly haunted locations that include inns, bars, restaurants and homes. As you may imagine, ghost tours are a popular pastime here, taking visitors through some of the most notably haunted spots and gruesome stories.
4. Fort East Martello Museum - Key West
What may be perhaps my favorite ghostly legend of all, the Keys' Fort East Martello Museum is home to the infamously mischievous haunted Robert the Doll. He didn't always call the museum home, however. Local painter and author Robert Eugene Otto owned the doll since childhood, often claiming that Robert the Doll was responsible for causing mischief that he (human Robert) got in trouble for. Even after Robert Otto's death, it is said that Robert the Doll is still just as lively as ever, moving around in his display case and mysteriously breaking the cameras of tourist's who try to take a picture of him.
5. Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp - Cassadaga
There is an entire community of spiritualists in Florida that devote all of their energy to connecting with those who have passed to the other side. Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp has been around since the late 1800s, and it has the vibes to match. You can come here for psychic readings, night tours, history tours and so much more. Who knows who you might run into here...again.
Oh, and one more thing -- while you're on the hunt for terrors, don't forget to check out what spooks Universal Orlando will be bringing to Halloween Horror Nights this year.