Every year leading up to Halloween people are looking for spooky fun. Whether it's a campfire ghost story or a seriously scary haunting, Northwest Florida has some impressive haunted places to offer. From the expected vintage homes to the unexpected administration building, here are the top ten eerie places to explore in the Florida Panhandle.
1. Martin House - Panama City, Florida
Infamous among locals for being the haunted location for the murder of an entire family, Martin House is now owned by Rock-Tenn paper mill and the lower level is used occasionally for meetings. The beautiful white turn of the century farmhouse exterior hides a malevolent haunting said to result from the murder-suicide of an entire family.
After hanging a servant, the man of the house was later driven by the whispered rumors of the community to hang his wife and children, and then himself in the same tree. The hauntings appear to be visual, auditory, and even physical. People hear thumping and screaming in the upstairs level and see white apparitions with dark eyes. One boy reported being thrown out a window by a ghost with black eyes. This stop on the scare fest is not for the faint of heart.
2. El Potosino (Formerly Confetti's Nightclub) - Panama City, Florida
When the unassuming bar and grill was Confetti’s Nightclub patrons reported items moving on their own as if they had been thrown, toilets flushing themselves, loud violent noises, and other antics that appeared to be poltergeist activity. A few have even claimed to have seen a nebulous apparition hanging around. It sounds like the ghosts may have just wanted to get in on the fun.
3. Holiday Inn - Panama City, Florida
Even the Holiday Inn in Panama City provides its fair share of thrills and chills. Those staying in the upper floors have experienced strange occurrences like alarms buzzing and televisions and lights flashing on and off. These events always seem to occur around 4 a.m. Indeed it seems the night owl never checked out. A specter dressed in t-shirt and shorts with sunglasses around his neck had been sighted wandering the halls. Perhaps he’s having too much fun to move on.
4. Black Creek Cemetery – Freeport, Florida
Don’t visit cemeteries at night, especially the old ones, unless you’re looking for a classic fright. The story centers on a brother and a sister who cut through the cemetery in the early 1900s, only to be mauled and killed by a large bear in the nearby church’s bell tower.
Locals reported hearing the children and the bear roaring on the stroke of midnight until the church was rebuilt and the bell tower was relocated out of state. The peace lasted for many years until a Freeport resident visited after dark and saw the apparition of a young girl, or so she thought, until she woke up.
5. Euchee Valley Presbyterian Cemetery - Ponce de Leon, Florida
The site of one of Florida’s oldest organized Presbyterian churches, the cemetery contains the remains of many original settlers. Perhaps one of them is the malign male ghost that appears after dark and chases anyone who has the courage to visit the cemetery after the sun goes down.
6. Wait's Mansion Bed and Breakfast – Bonifay, Florida
Built in the 1920s this appealing bed and breakfast surrounded by lovely iron scrollwork fencing is said to be haunted by an ambiguous spirit who may be angelic or malevolent, according to a local teen. Other experiences include cold spots, unexplained noises, and peculiar lights. Currently the bed and breakfast is listed for sale; buy it if you dare!
7. Walton County Emergency Operations Center - DeFuniak Springs, Florida
In the 1920s a child named Sallie May is said to have died violently on the spot that would later become the EOC, and it seems she never left. She keeps the 911 night staff on their toes but does not appear malevolent. They have heard her giggling and seen things move on their own when she plays tricks on them. A few have reported seeing her in the ladies room, which was located on what is reported to be the site of her murder.
8. The Little Big Store - DeFuniak Springs, Florida
A visit to this vintage general store is a step back in time with classic treats and a trick or two. Reports say it may be haunted by the ghost of a former owner. Disembodied footsteps wander the aisles and items are knocked from shelves by unseen hands.
9. Hotel DeFuniak - DeFuniak Springs, Florida
One night in Room #008 of this 1920’s era bed and breakfast hotel, where the paranormal experiences occur, is likely to provide you with a wealth of ghost stories to share with friends and family. It’s called the “Aviary Room” and boasts a pair of ghostly young children and a lamp that moves around. Guests have also reported having eerie feelings.
10. Sun Bright Manor - DeFuniak Springs, Florida
DeFuniak Springs appears to be some sort of hot spot for paranormal places. This stately Victorian-era mansion, now a boarding house, is home to a variety of spooky occurrences. Doors open and close on their own and people report feeling odd and hearing strange noises. One resident appears to have remained in spirit form as many report seeing a woman with long black hair in a white gown in an upstairs window. It’s no wonder no one owns this property for long.
If you’re looking for a haunted holiday trip you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Florida Panhandle, and the surrounding areas in Northwest Florida like Destin, the small beach towns along the Scenic 30A and Panama City Beach. Take a tour of these ten scary locations and you’re sure to come home with your own repertoire of campfire ghost stories.
Tim Shepard, Broker/Owner
Destin Real Estate, LLC
Cell: (850) 259-4133
Toll Free: (866) 678-SOLD
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