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Q&A: Any Advice for Best South Florida Haunted Places? – Part 1

Two people have asked me recently, “I’ll be heading to south Florida soon. Know of any good haunted places?”

{Smiles. Cracks knuckles. Sets to searching about.}

I love when people ask me questions like this. It gives me something specific to look into.

Monica was the first to inquire. She’s headed to the Treasure Coast region between Palm Beach and Vero Beach. Jim was the next to ask. His Florida request involved haunted places in the Cocoa Beach area or Tampa.

I dug out two of my favorite books, Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida by Joyce Elson Moore and Haunting Sunshine by Jack Powell, before I hit sites on HJ’s Find Haunted Places page. 

I’ll tackle Monica’s Vero Beach/Palm Beach inquiry first. In Part 2, I’ll take a look at Tampa and Cocoa Beach’s haunts for Jim. 

Monica was already aware of one Palm Beach’s haunts: the Flagler Museum. I don’t know if there’s still a railroad car on the grounds at Whitehall Mansion (Flagler’s former estate now turned into a museum), but I found a video on YouTube of a sort of investigation of it. (If you consider waving an EMF meter around and filming it investigating.)

Still, it turned up questionable EMF readings, as there was not supposed to be any electricity in the car. Perhaps she noticed a railroad car on her last visit. If not, maybe she’d want to go looking for it again? See if she could scare up any ghosts?

Or, when she’s in the Vero Beach area, she might want to look for Waldo’s Mountain. In Moore’s Haunt Hunter’s Guide to Florida she wrote about the eccentric Waldo Sexton who, in essence, built a burial mound for himself. It was situated on A1A, where a restaurant called Ruddy Ducks (4445 North A1A, Vero Beach, FL) now stands.  

Waldo used to be more active. At the time Moore’s book was written (1998), the owners at that time tried to appease Waldo by remembering him. (They spoke to him and made sure to always acknowledge that even though his mountain still wasn’t exactly there, his memory still is.)

They still have some weird things happen, like fresh batteries instantly draining and what not, but not like the previous owners. For them, pictures fell off the wall, glasses broke for no reason, and Waldo’s apparition was even once claimed to be seen.

Might make for a neat place to stop and have a fish lunch or dinner. Just be sure to say hi to Waldo if you go, Monica!

Another place she might want to check out is Jupiter, Florida. It’s about 30 minutes north of Palm Beach and about an hour south of Vero Beach. There she’ll find Jonathan Dickinson State Park. I happen to know Monica loves the outdoors. Among the activities she’ll find to do there are hiking, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, bicycling, camping, and boat tours. Oh, and she might find the ghost of Trapper Nelson.  

Vince “Trapper” Nelson lived on property in what is now the state park. He lived off the land but was also noted as being a bit of an eccentric as well as a lady’s man. No one is quite sure how he died. The rumor is he killed himself with his own shotgun. (Thought to be suicide, not an accident.)

People have reported sounds of someone “tramping through the woods” when no one’s there, as well as voices near Trapper’s old cabin. (Which is still standing and has been restored.) Some even claim to have seen his apparition on the dock.

However, it might not be Trapper Nelson. Some also believe the ghosts of Seminole Indians who once inhabited the area also might be haunting the land.

Also reported to have strange, possibly paranormal activity, in Jupiter is the  Jupiter Lighthouse, which can be found in the Jupiter Lighthouse Park on the bank of the Loxahatchee River. It was built on an Indian Shell Mound. Anything once Indian inhabited always seems to have a good chance of exhbiting some activity.

Speaking of, the type of activity reported there includes cold spots, being touched by unseen hands, and hearing weird noises.

If graving interests Monica at all, she might want to venture into West Palm Beach and check out Our Lady Queen of Peace Cemetery. A strange mist/fog has been reported. It is described as forming suddenly and dissipating just as fast, yet it moves as if taking shape and is very dense. It is also accompanied by “noticeable temperature changes.” That sounds like a perfectly creepy cemetery atmosphere to me.

Hope this helps Monica, and anyone else venturing to this region of South Florida, find some haunts to jaunt to.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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2 thoughts on “Q&A: Any Advice for Best South Florida Haunted Places? – Part 1

  1. I’m posting this comment on behalf of Lewis Powell ( Apparently my blog decided to be a pill and give him trouble with the captcha code. Argh! (The growl is directed at my blog, not Lewis.)

    What a marvelous article! South Florida has a wealth of published resources that I would highly recommend. Both Elson-Moore’s and Powell’s books are excellent. Greg Jenkins has a three volume series, Florida’s Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore, that covers locations throughout the state. Clerisy Press of Cincinnati has recently started a series called Ghosthunting America. Each book covers haunts across an entire state and Florida has been covered by Dave Lapham. Numerous books exist about the area that I don’t have yet in my library. A good Amazon search can produce a number of books.

    If your friend is interested in heading a bit inland, she might want to check out Florida Southern College in Lakeland. A portion of the campus was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the campus remains as the largest collection of his designs in the world. It’s also haunted, and legend holds that one of the spirits may be Wright. A dean of the college, Bruce Alexander, wrote a book on the folklore, The Folklore of Florida Southern College. There is a visitor’s center on the campus and regular tours are given of the college’s treasured Wright buildings.

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