These spine-tingling, haunted places are very real and very scary.
‘Tis the season of ghosts and goblins, tricks or treats, a time when we all crave a good scare. In Central Florida, we’re surrounded by high-voltage haunted offerings by Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, to name a few.
For the haunted house aficionados who crave an authentic experience, Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine has consulted a panel of psychics and mediums to provide our readers with a list of authentic Orlando ghostly locations. Here is our list of the top 10 haunted places in Central Florida.
1. Wall Street and Court Avenue
The corner of Wall Street and Court Avenue may seem quaint to the casual passersby. But ask the former employees of the Kit Kat Club, one of the previous occupants of this location, and they’ll tell you there’s more than meets the eye. They have stories of bottles flying off shelves, of restrooms filled with ghostly apparitions. There’s even talk of a female spirit clad in black by the rear staircase who tended to block the entrance. Then again, it makes sense when you learn that a jailhouse once sat on this very spot.
2. The Angebilt Hotel
Around the corner from Wall Street and Court Avenue sits the Angebilt Hotel, one of the tallest buildings in Orlando when it first opened in 1920. Once, the Angebilt Hotel was the most luxurious hotel in downtown Orlando, but it experienced a decline in the 1970s and served briefly as a courthouse. While they use the upper floors primarily as office and restaurant space today, the underground tunnels beneath the Angebilt (yes, there are underground tunnels) are teeming with paranormal activity.
3. Super 8 on International Drive
What is it about hotels that attract spirits and all things paranormal? One only considers International Drive haunted if you go to a theme park or zombie-thon. Even though Super 8 lacks the historic grandeur of the swanky Angebilt Hotel, the spirits don’t seem to care. Rumor has it that room 206 has a mind and soul of its own. What happened between those four walls is anybody’s guess, but guests have witnessed a human indentation on the bed under the sheets and the feel of an icy cold body slipping next to them in the dark. And if you like your temperatures on the cool side, the room is freezing even when the air conditioning isn’t running. Perhaps the spirits wish to conserve on the electric bill.
4. Interstate 4: The Dead Zone
Moving back to downtown Orlando from theme-park land, we are now on number four of our list: I-4. You’re not alone if you travel on I-4 in Sanford and see strange lights or hear questionable noises. In the 1870s, a group of German immigrants called this area home. After surviving many hardships, including the infamous Yellow Fever outbreak of 1887, the immigrants buried the dead and then left the area for greener pastures.
Years later, the Interstate 4 developers agreed to move the graves of the German immigrants but did not follow through with their end of the bargain. Today, we see ghostly apparitions, truckers hear strange voices on their CB radios, and this section of I-4 is notorious for deadly car accidents.
5. Enzian Theater
You might notice that some of the most notable haunted locations are hotels, cemeteries, and theaters. The Enzian Theater in Maitland is a fabulous location for fine cinema in an eclectic, cozy setting. While there, you might run into a ghost or two. If this location tops your ghostly bucket list, buy your tickets for a moonless night and stick around until 1 a.m., where you may encounter a disembodied head emitting a blood-curdling scream, disappearing into the kitchen. How theatrical.
6. Church Street Station
A visit to Church Street Station today means trendy dining. Looks can deceive, as Church Street Station has worn many hats over the years. Let’s just say that a lot has happened in this location since it opened in the 1800s, and some of this activity has stuck around for a haunting or two.
Most people know that from 1970 to 1980, this was the iconic location of Rosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium. But before those heady days, it started as the Orlando Railroad Depot & Strand Hotel, which was once a brothel. A woman from the 1800s might surprise you as she peers at you from the bathroom mirror, a wandering priest might catch your attention, or invisible hands might grab you from under the table. Patrons at Hamburger Mary’s, which was once a hardware store, is the home of a young girl circa 1800s who has a propensity for tapping on windows and waving at guests.
7. Orange County Regional History Center
Calling all history buffs, The Orange County Regional History Center is a fabulous destination. For ghost hunters, it makes our top ten list of haunted spots. It makes sense when you learn that this was once an Orlando courthouse and that they tried the infamous serial killer Ted Bundy in these halls. While our panel of psychics has questioned the Ted Bundy sightings, they say several other spirits roam these corridors, move random objects and even let out a terrifying scream or two.
8. Sunland Mental Hospital
Sunland Mental Hospital, initially constructed as a tuberculosis hospital and later transformed into the Sunland Training Center for Retarded Children, is one of the most tragic locations on our list. Throughout history, allegations of neglect, abuse and health code violations existed. Visitors today may hear screaming children, suicide victims hanging from beams in the corridors and playground equipment that moves in the moonlight. The spirit activity is authentic, but our expert advises to steer clear.
9. Greenwood Cemetery
Cemeteries are a given when creating a list of haunted locations. What makes Greenwood Cemetery notable is its association with number eight on our list, Sunland Mental Hospital. Many of the children from Sunland, along with other unidentified children, are buried in what the cemetery calls “Baby Land.” There are reports of children’s laughter and even sounds from a music box can be heard in the still of the night.
10. The Devil’s Chair in Cassadaga
If haunted were a town, it would be called Cassadaga. Cassadaga is a town famous haven for spiritualists and mediums worldwide, with tourists flocking to their village for a reading or healing. Many spiritualists who call Cassadaga home are buried in the local cemetery, also home to the “Devil’s Chair.” Legend has it that if you sit in the large, brick chair at midnight, the Devil will communicate with you. Oddly enough, Lucifer enjoys a cold brew, and if you leave an unopened can on the chair, it will be empty the next morning. There is no word on whether Beelzebub prefers Bud Light or Sam Adams.