If you’re like me, vacation planning usually involves researching at least one ghost tour wherever I happen to be taking the family on that particular trip. The great news for horror fans is that there is certainly no shortage of tours out there in virtually every destination you’d want to visit. I thought it might be fun to include an overview of some haunts for top vacation destinations from time to time, so with any luck this article will be the first of many “haunted destination” entries.
But where should we start?
Well, I’m a Floridian, so I thought we’d start with the southern-most point of the continental United States and work our way up. So without further ado, I present to you our first haunted destination, and one of my favorite vacation spots on the planet: Key West, Florida.
The Florida Keys make for an awesome road trip. Crystal clear waters are full of some of the best snorkeling, diving, fishing and watersports on the planet. The local cuisine is something you’ll talk about for years to come. But we’re not talking about the conventional vacation activities in this article, are we? We’re talking about ghosts, and for the best locations you’ll need to head all the way down to Key West. What follows are 5 of the best spots to experience reported hauntings, and the good news is that because Key West is so small you should have no problem hitting these places in one day.
1. Captain Tony’s Saloon
428 Greene Street
Captain Tony’s Saloon is a requirement for anyone visiting Key West. You can sip a rum-runner in the same joint that hosted famous celebrities the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Shel Silverstein, Jimmy Buffet and Truman Capote. However, the bar boasts a morbid history that you probably won’t find in your guidebook.
It used to be a morgue.
It’s even reported that there are still some bodies buried right underneath the bar. The saloon underwent some renovations in the 1980s and the remains of between 8 and 15 bodies were found beneath the old flooring. A reminder of the event is hanging above the bar to this day, and if you look you’ll even find an old grave marker for a woman named “Elvira” exposed in the concrete right next to one of the pool tables.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks…
2. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
907 Whitehead Street
There’s a veranda that goes all the way around the second floor of the Hemingway Home, and for years folks have reported seeing the spirit of the famous author pacing that veranda. The site is also home to some reported inhuman haunts, as there’s a fairly large pet cemetery on the property, where many of Key West’s famed six-toed cats are laid to rest. It’s reported that a ghost cat prowls the property. Some witnesses have also reported seeing the ghost of a smoking woman near the entrance of the property.
3. Key West Cemetery
701 Passover Lane
Old Cemeteries are usually a given when it comes to stories about run-ins with ghosts, and the Key West Cemetery is no exception. Many people have reported seeing apparitions peering at guests from behind the fence of the cemetery as they approach. The ghost of a man named Captain Cosgrove is frequently reported, but the most popular apparition is that of a little girl who has a sweet tooth. Guests of nearby resorts have reported having chocolates stolen from them by the ghost of a young girl.
4. Ocean Key Resort
Zero Duval Street
The Ocean Key Resort is at the very end of Duval Street, and it might just be your best bet if you’re looking to experience something paranormal during your vacation to Key West. The third floor boasts the most reports. Many guests have reported cold spots roaming around the hallway, as well as the mysterious sounds of voices and footsteps late at night. Some guests have even reported unexplainable lights and objects moving on their own in their rooms.
5. Fort East Martello Museum
3501 S. Roosevelt Blvd.
The Fort East Martello Museum is home to one of the most infamous haunted dolls in the world. Robert the Doll was gifted to a Key West painter named Robert Eugene Otto when he was child. As a boy, Robert Otto would whisper to the doll, and he would tell his family that the doll whispered back to him. Neighbors of the Ottos said they could see the doll running from one window to the next at night.
Robert Eugene Otto died in 1974, but his doll stayed in his house. A new family moved into the home and it wasn’t long before the family’s young daughter reported that she was being terrorized by the doll. The family donated the doll to the Fort East Martello Museum, and that’s where Robert the Doll resides to this day. Employees of the museum have reported that Robert the Doll has been heard giggling, knocking over other displays and changing expressions.
If the story of Robert the Doll seems like it would make a great horror movie you’re right, but someone already beat you to it. Robert the Doll was the inspiration for Child’s Play and Chucky.
Well there you have it, a sneak-peak at 5 of the best haunted locations in Key West. Nothing goes better with conch fritters and beer than a side of ghosts. In the meantime, check back here on horrorfuel.com frequently for more haunted vacation destinations!
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