From doomed pirates to mischievous soldiers to spectral nuns, St. Augustine’s Ghosts: The History behind the Hauntings features famous spirits from St. Augustine’s legendary paranormal past. Set in the city’s iconic cemeteries, courtyards, and houses, these stories recount the most mysterious encounters and sightings that have been passed down for generations among residents of St. Augustine. Many of the sites are along St. George Street, one of the oldest streets in the United States.
Here you will find a priest’s exorcism of evil spirits at the request of a man who became the city’s mayor; the head of a Seminole warrior rising like the moon above the Castillo de San Marcos; restless ghosts lurking in hallways; eerie lights inside a mausoleum; a bishop’s exploding casket; and a lighthouse keeper whose voice can still be heard in the wind.
Today, visitors flock to the beachside city to enjoy spooky ghost tours and stay in haunted bed-and-breakfast inns. The stories they hear capture the rich history of the city and those who have inhabited it. St. Augustine’s ghosts have deep roots in Spanish lore dating back to the founding of the city in 1565 and in the culture of immigrants from the Mediterranean island of Minorca who were brought to Florida as indentured servants in 1768. With each ghostly tale, Karen Harvey invites you to explore the quaint brick streets of the nation’s oldest city for yourself. Who knows what you might discover?
Karen Harvey, former arts and entertainment editor for the St. Augustine Record, is a historical interpreter and tour guide specializing in the history of St. Augustine. She is the author of several books on the area, including St. Augustine and St. Johns County: A Pictorial History and St. Augustine Enters the Twenty-First Century.