Jacksonville is the largest city in the state of Florida and over the years it has not only increased in terms of population, but it has also achieved a greater stature. The city has an abundance of interesting history which has given rise to more than a few ghost stories and tall tales!
Join us as we explore ten of the most haunted places in Jacksonville FL.
10 - Florida Theatre
The Florida Theatre in downtown Jacksonville has played host to some impressive acts over the years and has seen its share of controversy too. On one occasion Elvis was almost banned from performing! The theatre is also known to be one of the most haunted places in Jacksonville FL. There have been reports of an older gentleman who apparently roams the balcony. It is said that he is simply keeping a watchful eye over the theatre because it brought him so much joy in his lifetime. He has even been known to give a friendly wave to those who spot him sitting in his usual seat E2, section 500! There have been several paranormal investigations in the building which have captured a range of activity including EVP recordings and some on camera apparitions and anomalies.
9 - TacoLu Baja Mexicana
TacoLu Baja Mexicana is a popular Jacksonville restaurant which is housed inside a two storey log cabin that is almost 100 years old. It seems like it is not just popular with the living, but also with the dead as well because bartenders and waiting staff have been claiming that this place is haunted for years now! The general consensus here is that the culprit is the ghost of Mrs Alpha Paynter. Mrs Paynter operated a boarding house from the cabin for many years and she is actually buried on the grounds. Staff say that her apparition usually appears next to the fireplace in the main dining room, but she has also made appearances in other spots around the restaurant as well. She has been seen by so many people and with such frequency that the property is now officially listed on the National Directory of Haunted Places.
8 - Ginger’s Place
Ginger’s Place is one of the oldest bars on Jacksonville Beach. It was owned and operated by Ginger Payson right up until her death in 2003 and it has now been passed on to her family. It is these family members who first noticed the paranormal activity in the property not long after Ginger had passed away. Customers and employees alike have experienced someone or something brushing against their legs and they have also seen shadows or dark silhouettes walking in and out of the back room when there is nobody in that area. There is also a sign that is always falling to the floor as though it has been pushed over and sometimes staff say money appears on the bar as if from nowhere! It is believed that Ginger is not the first spirit to inhabit the property. There is also said to be the spirit of an old man who died while using the jukebox and the spirits of some shrimpers who lived in the property, but died at sea. The owners are keen to make it known that the spirits of Ginger’s Place are totally harmless, but they urge visitors to raise a glass to Ginger when they visit, just as a mark of respect!
7 - Everbank Field
EverBank Field is the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and apparently also a nasty curse! Visitors to the field often comment on a strange eerie feeling in the area which is apparently haunted by some type of malevolent spirit who has been blamed for all manner of strange occurrences including the team mascot Jaxson de Ville catching fire during a game in 2008. Others say that the ground is cursed and say they feel a sense of foreboding and sometimes even deja vu when they visit!
6 - Evergreen Cemetery
Evergreen Cemetery is actually the oldest cemetery in Jacksonville which is still fully operational. The first burial took place in 1881 and the cemetery now has 70,000 graves across 170 acres. Some of the remains were actually relocated to Evergreen Cemetery from the Old City Cemetery. In the early days of the cemetery there was actually a train depot for visitors coming to pay their respects as well as holding vaults to house the bodies awaiting burial. The cemetery has been said to be haunted by several different spirits including ‘the lady in violet’, a man wearing old fashioned clothing and a female apparition who is often seen near the ‘ugly angel’ tombstone.
5 - El Modelo Block
The El Modelo Block at 501 West Bay Street is one of only a few buildings in downtown Jacksonville which survived the Great Fire of 1901. In the beginning, the property housed Gabriel Hidalgo Gato’s El Modelo Cigar manufacturing Company, but following Gato’s death the property had a stint as The Plaza Hotel and then several bars. However, it was a pretty seedy part of town so bar fights were the norm! In 1907 a Spanish-American war veteran entered one of the bars in the building and was immediately shot in the chest with a shotgun! Nobody knows why. Hw may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but whatever the reason for his death, it has left its mark on the property. This poor man is thought to be the ghost who is now haunting the El Modelo Block to this day.
4 - San Marco Theatre
The San Marco Theatre is a beautiful art deco style movie house in Jacksonville. It is also one of the most haunted places in Jacksonville FL! Apparently, the San Marco Theatre is haunted by the ghost of a former manager who died on the premises. The manager died in his office one night during his shift and his apparition has been seen in that room by a number of different people over the years. Perhaps he feels somehow obligated to stick around and finish his shift?
3 - The Riverside House
The Riverside House (a former hotel) was originally known as Rochester House when it was built as a resort hotel in the 1860s. One of the hotel’s most famous guests was probably Mary Todd Lincoln who came to Jacksonville towards the end of 1874 while grieving the death of her husband and three sons.She became convinced that her remaining son was seriously ill and rushed to his side. It was soon after this that she was admitted to an Illinois Asylum. The hotel was moved from its original location on Riverside Avenue to its current location in 1911, but many say that the ghosts of former guests came right along with the property when it was moved! The staff say that there is the spirit of the wife of a confederate blockade runner haunting the property. A young blonde woman in a long black dress is often seen around the property and phantom footsteps are often heard on the third floor of the building.
2 - Old St Luke’s Hospital
Old St Luke’s Hospital now serves as an office for the Arthritis Foundation, but when it was built back in 1878 it was originally built as a hospital for the treatment of tuberculosis.As you might imagine, the building has seen its fair share of tragedy – TB is horrific disease. Some say that at one stage the building may also have been used as a coffin factory which only adds to the creep factor! No wonder this is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Jacksonville, FL. Witnesses claim to have seen the ghosts of former patients and even some spectral nurses walking around in the building.
1 - The Devil’s School
Public School No. 4, nicknamed ‘The Devil’s School’, sits just off of Interstate 10 and is a haven for graffiti artists, homeless bums and some say devil worshippers! There are so many tales floating around about this abandoned school that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction at times. Some of the most popular stories also happen to be among the most outlandish. For example, there are tales of a maniacal custodian who went on a killing spree and a principal with cannibalistic tendencies! It is also claimed that there was a furnace explosion which killed several students. Most of this is urban legend of course, but there is evidence of several unexplained fires over the years and those who have visited what is left of the old building say that it is a very creepy place indeed. Visitors have seen odd shadows and heard disembodied voices.
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