Everyone knows the haunted reputation of St. Augustine – the floating orbs, ghostly tales and roving paranormal enthusiasts are seemingly everywhere.
But for some visitors, a brief encounter with the wandering soul of a person who once walked these now ancient streets can be both unexpected and unforgettable – even in broad daylight.
Sometimes it is fleeting – a pallid face peering for only a heartbeat from the window of a long-abandoned building. Or sometimes the unexplained remains in place, inviting further study – did that gargoyle on the rooftop shift his position? It certainly seems so – but that would be…crazy?
Sometimes the interaction with the spirit world is more sensed that seen – like the presence that can only be your husband following close behind you in the Peña-Peck House, but when you turn to ask about his sudden interest in history you realize you are alone. Don’t be alarmed. You’re in St. Augustine.
The City Gate
Elizabeth was a teenager when she died of yellow fever. Unable to afford a burial site in town, her father took her over to Anastasia Island and buried here there. Elizabeth is determined to return home – over the years, she has been seen standing just outside the City Gates at 3 a.m. where she warns visitors to stay away due to the yellow fever epidemic.
Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille
St. Augustine’s numerous ghosts and spirits are not all anonymous – some are well known (possible useful information if you meet them). Catalina de Porras was only 10 in 1763 when she and the rest of St. Augustine’s population sailed away to Cuba leaving their city to the arriving British. Catalina never forgot her family’s home at 46 Avenida Menendez (the current site of Harry’s Seafood restaurant).
When Spain regained Florida 21 years later, she returned to reclaim her family home as her own. She died a few years later, but apparently never left the building. Her spirit is most frequently encountered in the women’s rest room on the second floor or drifting through the walls in a white gown.
"Ghost Hunters returns to the St. Augustine Lighthouse, site of some of the most compelling paranormal evidence ever captured in Ghost Hunters history." A&E TV (Sept. 2019)
St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
Eliza and Mary Pittee (and an unnamed friend) met a tragic end in 1873 when they were playing at the construction site for the St. Augustine Lighthouse. They climbed into a hopper car that carried supplies from the water to the site on a narrow-gauge rail line. Releasing the brake, the car raced down the tracks until it reached the end and flipped over into the water. Trapped inside, the girls drowned.
Over the years, there have been numerous late-night sightings of girls dressed in 19th century clothing playing in the woods. Their laughter is sometimes heard on the Lighthouse’s nature trail and the wet footprints of three girls sometimes mysteriously appear in the Keeper’s House.