“The creative element in the mind of man . . . emerges in as mysterious a fashion as those elementary particles which leap into momentary existence in great cyclotrons, only to vanish again like infinitesimal ghosts.” –Loren Eiseley
St Augustine Florida is America’s oldest city and some say the most haunted as well. Furthermore, the most haunted of streets may very well be Marine Street. Starting with the St. Francis Barracks and National Cemetery, the Barracks was built between 1864 and 1867 and is still in use by the Florida National Guard. The Saint Augustine National Cemetery is rumored to be very haunted. It all started when Major Francis Langhorne Dade and his soldier’s remains were sent to St. Augustine, Florida for burial after a bloody massacre. Many soldiers are buried here alongside the historic barracks. Over the years people have captured numerous orbs and specters on film as well as EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena).
Directly across the street from the cemetery is the old union hospital. The Union Military Hospital was largely used to house wounded Confederate troops as they returned home from the Civil War.
In the early 1900s, the U.S. military sold the building to a local boat builder and his family. He moved the building across the street to its present location on the bayfront. During that time, there was a railway from the hospital out to the deep waters in the Matanzas Bay. The spacious waterfront accommodations have housed many generals, officers and families over the years and is now the home of the Villas on the Bay which was renovated in 1996, creating a unique option for short term and long term bay front rentals in St. Augustine’s historic downtown area.
Over the years numerous people have claimed to have seen a man walking back and forth in the backyard smoking a pipe. But once he is approached he always seems to disappear. He is thought to be a confederate soldier waiting for his boat to carry him home. Another possible explanation for his presence is that the St. Augustine Lighthouse is directly across the bay from the backyard and as a result of this some people speculate that the apparition could be the ghost of the former lighthouse keeper. The St. Augustine Lighthouse has also been reported to be extremely haunted.
The pipe smoking man has also been seen on the 2nd floor hallway outside the room, Villa Flores. Paranormal investigators obtained extremely high EMF readings of 10 milliGAUSS (mG) in the dining room of the Rio Bonita and the hallway outside the Eagles Nest. One possible explanation for the extreme amount of ghost activity is that it could be because of its proximity to the cemetery and the “Murder House”. High EMF readings were detected at the end of the boat dock as well.
People have also reported seeing a ghostly shadow in the shape of a woman wearing a dress. Some speculate that this could be the spirit of 56-year-old Athalia Ponsell Lindsley, the former mayor of St. Augustine’s wife who was decapitated with a machete 3 houses down in 1974. A politician who despised Athalia was tried and acquitted, and police never looked for another suspect. The house is now referred to as the “Murder House” of St. Augustine. The A&E Network released “The Socialite & the Politician” in 2000 as a made for television movie.
If you have any ghost stories about the St. Francis Barracks, The Villas on the Bay, The National Cemetery, the St. Augustine Lighthouse or the Murder House, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.