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Key West Ghosts Make Key West
One Of The Most Haunted Places

Interactions with Key West ghosts are about as ordinary an occurrence as a paranormal experience can get.

You'll also quickly discover that Florida Keys history plays a big part in what to expect when it comes to the many ghosts of Key West.

The original name of the island is Cayo Hueso. Translated, it means Bone Key or Isle of Bones.

Appropriately named, over the centuries inhabitants of Key West Florida have suffered numerous disasters.

Hurricanes and tropical storms were responsible for many brutal deaths.

However, the most insidious scourge was disease. Tuberculosis, yellow fever and diphtheria were just some of the dreaded illnesses responsible for killing thousands of people.

It's not just Key West that has ghosts. Other regions of the Florida Keys are pestered with supernatural phenomenon such as the Carysfort Lighthouse off Key Largo. However, since the population on the other islands was sparse in comparison, the ill affects of disease and disasters were minimal, compared to the devastation felt in Key West.

Bone Island's dense land mass, combined with numerous disasters and a burgeoning population, are the reasons why Key West Florida is considered to be one of the United States most ghostly locations.

Of course, when the island was "young", the area was plagued with another problem. Seedy characters such as pirates and slavers plied the waters, and in their wake they left a sordid trail of death which added to the number of Key West ghosts.

Another contributing factor to the Key West ghost population is that when the island was first being settled, justice was quick and often indiscriminate. Often, people accused of a crime were immediately prosecuted without judge or jury. They were simply carted off to the hanging tree, now located inside Captain Tony's Saloon, and dealt the swift blow of justice.

Unfortunately, in some cases, justice drug on. Whether the person's will to live was greater than the hangman's skill we'll never know, but there were incidents where the prosecuted hung for hours before dying.

There's even an instance where a woman was hung and didn't die, so she was taken down, and rehung. This time she died, but only after hanging alive for 3 weeks before succumbing to the noose.

Captain Tonys Key West Bar Hanging Tree


Popular Key West Bar Captain Tony's Is Home To Hanging Tree


Whether the early inhabitants of Key West died a peaceful death, or a horrible and untimely one, this fact is certain. Bone Island is full of dead bodies, and inhabited by many Key West ghosts.

There doesn't seem to be many places in Key West Florida not touched by some sort of ghostly apparition or tale. Churches, theaters, private residences, guesthouses, rental homes, bars and restaurants all have a common theme - they're home to the different ghosts of Key West.



Real Key West Haunted Ghost Photos
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and KeyDecision


Considered one of the most haunted places in the United States, it's small wonder that ghost hunting and Key West haunted tours are hugely popular. The combination of a turbulent past, and a highly concentrated land mass, has resulted in an almost limitless supply of some of the most haunted true stories.

The 'other worldly' residents are't shy either about making their presence known, whether by day or night. Residents and tourists alike have reported seeing Key West ghostly apparitions, some shadowy, others in full body form. A number of sightings revolve around the late Ernest Hemingway who has appeared in full visage waving to guests from his Key West home's upper storey.

Orbs are another phenomenon that are routinely spotted, and are seen either motionless or gliding and bobbing through the air. Commonly considered to be ghosts, orbs are oval to roundish images of light, and this ghostly Key West phenomenon is highly documented in numerous photos and videos.

Surprisingly, ghostly images aren't always seen with the naked eye, but when pictures and videos are later viewed, orbs and shadowy figures are often present.

Knowing that Key West is one of the most ghostly places in the United States, it stands to reason that you need to be prepared. If you keep a keen eye open, you may spot an unexplainable shadow or orb of light. You may experience the unmistakable feeling of being watched, or even touched by one of the many Key West ghosts.

Captain Tonys Key West Bar Has Grave In Floor


Key West Cemetery Is One Of The Popular Reportedly Haunted Attractions


You may hear whispers, giggles and noises that have no obvious source. You may smell unusual perfumes, and odors. You may even feel unexplainable cold or heat.

Of course there are all sorts of other ghostly encounters you're likely to experience during your stay in haunted Key West. You may find that personal belongings go "temporarily" missing. You may hear footsteps outside your room. Someone or some-thing may sit on the edge of your bed, even cover you up. Lights may go on and off for no reason, and you may even encounter a variety of electronic malfunctions with personal devices.

Of course this is just some of the charm of living with Key West ghosts. Firmly established, they retain their residence and continue their ghostly routines. With the exception of a few unsavory characters such as the sea captain at St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery, or the infamous Robert the Doll, there should be little reason to fear any encounter with local Key West ghosts.

The key to living side by side with those from the past and another dimension, is to avoid making them unhappy. If you mind your business, and don't disturb what is theirs, they will typically not bother you - much.

When you consider how convoluted Florida Keys and Key West history is, it becomes easy to understand why it's especially believed that the tiny island of Key West Florida is rife with supernatural sightings.

The numerous disasters that plagued the area and famous personages are enough to have caused their fair share of ghosts.

Even Henry Flager was not exempt from disaster. A strong determined man, against all odds he successfully brought the railroad to Key West, connecting her with the rest of the world.

Tormented by accidents, he was also dealt a brutal hand on the many occasions when mother nature struck. Most notably was the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane which killed many of his workers as well as residents and those on vacation to the Florida Keys.

It's hard not to wonder how many of these lost souls are now haunting the upper regions of the Florida Keys.




The Ghosts Of Key West

Two of the most ghostly Key West places have one thing in common - Robert the Doll. The beautiful Artist House where Robert the Doll began his life with Robert "Gene" Otto, and now the East Martello Tower where he currently resides.

Robert the Doll is one of Key West's most sinister forces, so much so that I've included a separate page devoted to the Artist House and to him.

You'll also find an interesting video at this link to the East Martello Tower page. It discusses Robert the Doll, the East Martello Tower, and the other ghosts that inhabit the old Fort.

Audubon House And Gardens
205 Whitehead Street


At the beautiful Audubon House museum, repeated sightings have been reported of two Key West ghosts. Captain Geiger, a well known wrecker, and that of a young girl, possibly Hannah, who died here.

Captain Geiger has been witnessed on the balcony of his home looking out to sea, and he's also been seen on the grounds, perhaps guarding his buried fortune. A presence is also felt in the gallery, and footsteps are frequently heard on the stairs.

One of the most unsettling events on this property focuses on the portrait of Hannah, commissioned shortly after her death by her parents. The portrait possesses a certain sadness that many visitors to the museum found disturbing. So upsetting was the portrait, that eventually the oilogram was relocated to a more isolated corner of what was the Children's Room.

After the picture had been relocated, one of the manager's reported hearing the unmistakable sound of children talking and laughing.





Banyan Resort & Guesthouse
323 Whitehead Street


This beautiful Key West resort is a complex of 8 different historic buildings that create a serene, tropical Key West vacation getaway. It's also reportedly haunted by another of the prominent Key West ghosts, Captain Phillip Cosgrove. The Captain was the owner of one of the resort's buildings, the Cosgrove House.

He and his wife Myrtle loved their Key West home, and Myrtle had a passion for gardening. They successfully turned their property into an outstanding, shady garden area and it's here that Captain Cosgrove is reported to have been seen.

Another unusual incident that routinely plagues the Banyan Resort Key West is chocolate theft. Tasty wrapped treats, gently placed on pillows for waiting guests have been stolen on multiple occasions. These thefts occur even though the rooms are locked, and no one has gained admittance to them. Apparently Key West ghosts also have a sweet tooth.





Captain Tony's Saloon
428 Greene Street


One of the more popular bars in Key West is also the original location of Sloppy Joes Key West bar. This historic building has perhaps one of the greatest reasons for housing many of the Key West ghosts.

Not only did it once serve as the city morgue, a grave was found in the floor with multiple bodies encased inside. You'll still be able to see the grave site in the floor of the billiards room.

Captain Tonys Key West Bar Has Grave In Floor


Grave In Floor At Key West Bar Captain Tony's Saloon


Even more unusual is the hanging tree, which grows through the roof of this popular Key West bar. It was on these very branches that 75 people, including pirates were hung by their necks until dead.

The Key West ghosts that are commonly seen here are the Lady in Gray who was a woman accused of killing her husband. Hung on the saloon's tree, she's routinely seen wandering the premises in her gray nightdress.

The ladies restroom is also one of the most ghostly places in Tony's Saloon. Doors are locked, odd noises are heard, and weird, unsettling sensations are often experienced.




Captain Tony's Saloon And The Hanging Tree
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and KeyDecision





Chelsea House
709 Truman Avenue


The beautiful, gay friendly Chelsea House Pool & Gardens Inn is another location haunted by Key West ghosts. Reports claim that the ghost of a man, murdered by his wife, haunts the halls of this inn. They say that the cigar he was smoking at the time of his death, still permeates the room after his ghostly image disappears.

If you're planning a Key West vacation and are hoping to experience the 'other worldly' side of Key West, ask for Room 18. This is where the greatest number of occurrences have been cited.





Club Chameleon
524 Eaton Street


Situated across the street from the towering white St Paul's Episcopal Church, this building is the site of a horrible tragedy.

In 1832, when the jealous minister of the Baptist Church caught his wife with the church deacon, he angrily boarded up the building and set it on fire.

Unbeknownst to him, the building also contained 14 children who were attending choir practice. They, the deacon, and the minister's wife, all endured a horrible, burning death.

Legend reports that from that day forward, every seven years any new structure built on the property has burned to the ground.

Knowing the history of the Club, makes it one of the saddest places to visit on your ghost tour of Key West. It's also one of the places where orb sightings are most common.

Another eerie feature of the Club, is that people have reported tapping on the glass, only to hear tapping back from Key West ghosts trapped inside. Other incidents involve holding hands flat against the window glass only to feel it get suddenly and inexplicably hot. Others have reported the smell of burning flesh, and the feeling of great uneasiness.





Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel
430 Duval Street


The historic and lavish Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel Key West is also haunted by a number of Key West ghosts. The scene of numerous suicides and unfortunate accidents have resulted in this iconic landmark being one of the mostly ghostly places in Key West.

One of the suicides is related to an attorney who jumped from the top floor of the building in 1992. His figure is still routinely seen pacing back and forth on the top deck of the building.

One of the Key West ghosts inhabiting the hotel is that of a young man who met a tragic death one New Year' Eve. Working on the 5th floor, he pushed the elevator button. When the doors opened, he stepped back into the elevator with his cart load of dishes, only to plummet to his death.

Crowne Plaza La Concha Key West Hotel May Be Haunted


Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel May Be Haunted


The elevator had stopped one floor higher, on the 6th floor, leaving an empty elevator shaft for him to fall into. The tragedy of this young fellows gruesome demise lives on, as guests at this popular Key West hotel often report hearing a horrific scream followed by a loud crash.

In 2006 another suicide occurred when a distraught fellow quickly downed a glass of chardonnay, then jumped from the 7th floor. Guests of the Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel have reported on different occasions suddenly having their glasses of chardonnay violently and inexplicably ripped from their hands by yet another of the disgruntled Key West ghosts.

Another quirk of the La Concha hotel is the gift shop which is purported to be haunted. Often people in the shop have reported being tapped on the shoulder, only to find no one behind them.





Eaton Lodge / Old Town Manor
511 Eaton St


This beautiful Key West Florida home, is now a popular pet friendly Key West bed and breakfast. When you stay here, you'll find it very hard to leave, which is perhaps why previous owners have decided to stay on.

There are two Key West ghosts in particularly who are routinely seen on the premises. One is believed to be the apparition of Dr. Warren who used to pace the halls as he pondered his various patients ailments.

The other is believed to be his wife, Genevieve who is responsible for creating the beautiful grounds that surround you when you stay here on your Key West vacation.

Other members of the Warren family also seem unwilling to leave. There have been incidents of 2 small girls sighted. Also guests have heard the sound of a typewriter hard at work. Lights have been known to be turned on and off, and various items will disappear, only to reappear later.

This is certainly one of the more interesting haunted Key West places to visit. The spirits appear to be friendly, and there's definitely no lack of paranormal activity at the Old Town Manor bed and breakfast once known as Eaton Lodge.





Fort Zachary Taylor
South end of Key West off Southard Street


It's not uncommon for military places to be haunted. The bloodshed of battle and other horrendous events often make room for ghostly encounters. Fort Zachary Taylor however was never attacked, but that doesn't mean the Fort escaped the severe taint of numerous deaths.

Yellow fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and other dreaded diseases ravaged the people that lived and worked within it's walls, with thousands of people eventually dying over the years.

This massive toll, in such a concentrated area, has resulted in countless reported ghostly incidents by guests and workers at the old Key West Fort. Sighted Key West ghosts include soldiers mustering on the grounds, and people have reported hearing gunfire and whistles.

Parade Grounds Fort Zachary Taylor With Key West Cruise Ship In Background


Reported That Fort Zachary Taylor Parade Grounds Are Haunted


Even spookier are the haunted stories that revolve around the noon hour which is the time of day when hangings would occur. Unearthly screams from bodiless voices desperately begging for their lives have been reported, along with the audible sound of the hangman's trap door snapping open.

Unusual within the thick walls of the Fort are also unaccountable cold spots occurring in areas of the Fort where drafts are highly unlikely.





Hard Rock Cafe
313 Duval Street


This large home was built by William Curry for his son, and his new bride. The wealthy millionaire spared no expense in the construction of the home for his son Robert.



Key West Ghosts at Hard Rock Cafe
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and KeyDecision


Unfortunately, Robert had been fragile most of his life and when his father died, he managed to eventually squander his Father's immense wealth. Desperate and utterly broke, the feeble son committed suicide in the bathroom located on the second floor of the mansion.

Guests and employees of the Hard Rock Cafe on Duval St have all reported ghostly encounters with one of the Key West ghosts widely believed to be that of Robert Curry.





Ernest Hemingway House
907 Whitehead Street


One of the more intriguing Key West museums, the Ernest Hemingway home is also believed to be haunted by the great writer himself. Often visitors have reported hearing the sound of Hemingway's typewriter hard at work.

People have also seen Ernest Hemingway standing in full body form, waving to them from the upper balcony. Even the neighbors routinely report that he waves to them from the various second storey windows. His second wife Pauline has also been seen at the house, usually at the top of the elaborate staircase.

Ernest Hemingway Photos Adorn Walls At Key West Home


Photo Gallery At Ernest Hemingway Home Key West FL


Obviously one of the more gregarious Key West ghosts, "Papa" seems quite content to be back "home" in Key West. He also doesn't confine himself to his home's compound. People have reported seeing him at Sloppy Joes Key West bar, carrying on a conversation with patrons, while others have witnessed him walking out the door.





Key West Cemetery
701 Passover Lane


It goes without saying that a place as haunted as Key West FL, should also have one of the most haunted cemeteries. With over 100,000 people interred within it's 19 acres, it's understandable that reports of ghostly sightings have occurred.

Many of those who lie within, died horrific and fateful deaths. The hangman's noose, disease, natural disasters, all are recipes for spirits not fully laid to rest.

The amount of paranormal activity at this cemetery can be quite extensive, and they're certainly not confined to the witching hours. Daytime encounters with Key West ghosts are common at this popular Key West attraction.



Ghosts of Key West Cemetery
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and Scott Henderson


One of the most often seen Key West ghosts is that of a Bahamian woman, who takes offense when anyone visiting the cemetery shows disrespect. Reports include being scolded by her, and those guilty of any reprisal find her cold stare to be most unsettling.

Voices, shadows, orbs, cold sensations, and other ghostly encounters are some of the experiences you can expect when you visit Key West's city of the dead.





Marrero's Guest Mansion
410 Fleming Street


This beautiful gay friendly Key West bed and breakfast is not only the perfect place to stay, it provides the perfect example of what not to do.

The old saying "Words speak louder than actions" is doubly reinforced in this haunted mansion by revealing that words affect not only this life, but the afterlife as well.

Enriquetta, the second wife of Francisco Marrero endured a grave injustice when her husband died on a business trip to Cuba. 8 months later, his first wife, whom he never divorced, arrived on Enriquetta's doorstep claiming ownership of everything Enriquetta had.

The first wife prevailed in her suit, and Enriquetta lost her beloved home, possessions and wealth. She and her 8 children were forced onto the streets where all soon died of various diseases.

However before leaving, she swore an oath in front of those gathered and before God, declaring the home to be rightfully hers, and that she would always remain with it in spirit.

Guests staying at the luxury Marrero's Guest Mansion Key West bed and breakfast, have reported seeing a ghostly figure, most often in Room 18. Other guests staying in Rooms 17 and 23 and have reported hearing the sounds of crying babies from other Key West ghosts.

Enriquetta's pledge is one to ponder, as we wonder what words we may have uttered that could haunt us in our afterlife.





Key West Heritage House aka Porter House/Robert Frost Cottage
429 Caroline Street


This U.S. National Register of Historic Places mansion has been in the Porter family for generations.

Historic Porter House and Robert Frost Cottage


Key West Heritage House / Porter House And Robert Frost Cottage


Located across the street from what was once the city morgue, this private residence is one of the most ghostly places in Key West known for capturing orbs on film.





Key West Lighthouse
938 Whitehead Street


When the lighthouse keeper died, his wife Barbara continued the laborious job of maintaining the light and keeping the lens clean during the night. Even after a hurricane damaged the lighthouse and killed all of her children, she faithfully continued her mission of maintaining the light to help protect shipping.

Barbara is perhaps the most dedicated of the Key West ghosts. It's said that you can hear her footsteps and even see her climbing the steep staircase to the top of the Key West lighthouse as she diligently attends to her important duties.





St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery
401 Duval Street


This beautiful Key West church is not the original church built on these grounds. In fact, the church has been rebuilt several times due to fire and hurricanes. However, the small church cemetery on the grounds has always stayed in the same place, only the church has rotated positions.

As with most cemeteries, ghostly stories abound, and the resting place at this Key West church is no exception. Of the different Key West ghosts spotted, visitors often report a man dressed in 19th century clothing. Ghostly children have been seen huddled around an angel's statue.

St Pauls Episcopal Key West Church


Beautiful Stained Glass Adorns Inside Of St. Paul's Episcopal Church


However one of the more vicious Key West ghosts is also here. A sea captain who fought pirates, has not only made himself visible to people, he's attacked visitors to the cemetery.



Hauntings of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Club Chameleon
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and KeyDecision





Other Key West Ghoulish Tales


Not all the ghoulish stories involve Key West ghosts either. Some are simply horrible tales that also happen to be true. One such gruesome story involves the Dean Lopez Funeral Home and a gentleman by the name of Carl Tanzer.

Often adding the title of "Count", Tanzer went by a number of names. However, what makes him infamous is his undying love for someone who was unwilling to reciprocate. When his "true love" died, he eventually raided her grave, took her home and as her body decomposed, he fashioned a new one for her.



Dean Lopez Funeral Home
Video Courtesy of Courtesy of YouTube and Key Decision


Without question, this is perhaps one of the most ghoulish tales you'll hear. It's also just another page in the book that makes up the unusual happenings that are an integral part of Key West history.

Key West ghosts and haunted stories are numerous. Some no doubt are fiction, but many are documented. The question you must ask yourself is whether you're prepared to come face to face with a ghostly apparition. If you do, what will you say, what will you do?

On your next Key West vacation, prepare to become a believer, in yes - Key West ghosts.





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