Florida Urban Legends: Share Your Stories!

The staff of the State Archives of Florida are excited to introduce our Oral Tradition and Urban Legends project, highlighting the cultural significance of urban legends and the oral tradition. This two-part project will consist of a radio feature on the subject of the oral tradition in Florida, as well as the establishment of a new collection of oral histories contributed by Floridians.

Postcard advertising the mysterious Spook Hill attraction in Lake Wales, Florida.

First, listen to our radio feature below about Oral Tradition and Urban Legends in which State Folklorist Amanda Griffis and Sound Archivist Ross Brand discuss oral tradition in Florida and best practices for recording and preserving your own stories for future generations.

Oral Tradition and Urban Legends Radio Feature

Many myths surround the Phillips Mausoleum in Tallahassee.

After listening, record your own tales and share them with us! The State Archives of Florida is developing a new collection of urban legends, ghost stories and other Florida lore, and we need your stories. Does your community whisper tales of haunted cemeteries, vengeful spirits or other creepy happenings? Have you had your own experience with a local ghost or strange place? We want to hear Florida-specific urban legends and other tales from across Florida straight from the experience and perspectives of Floridians. Record the ghost stories, Florida folktales and urban legends that you remember from your childhood, or interview family or members of your community to capture their own tall tales.

Recordings can be uploaded and shared on social media under the hashtag #TalesFromFla. If you would like to submit your recording to be included in our new collection of urban legends oral histories and perhaps even be featured on our official Facebook page, you can email your recording to TalesFromFla@gmail.com. The submission deadline is November 30, 2019.

The Old Jail attraction in St. Augustine is often reputed to be haunted.

The Oral Tradition and Urban Legends project is just one of the ways that we will be celebrating American Archives Month 2019 this October as we explore “Tales from the Archives.” This year, we will be highlighting some of the darker, spookier records we have in our holdings to illustrate how archives can be used to examine the past and explore historical narratives. For more information on our upcoming events, check out the American Archives Month web page.

16 thoughts on “Florida Urban Legends: Share Your Stories!

  1. I am looking for history of house I spent most of my child hood in. It has been torn down but I would like to know more about it. The address is 2970 Thomas St. Jacksonville, Fl.

    Please help,
    Carolyn Young

    • Hello Carolyn! Thank you for your inquiry. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any historical images of the home. However, I searched through the city directories within the State Library of Florida and found a few entries for the address 2970 Thomas Street. In 1960, the home was occupied by Mrs. Della O. Pippin, widow of Noah E. Pippin. In 1965, the home was occupied by Hiram J. Danforth, a carpenter, and his wife, Irma F. Danforth. In 1970, the home was listed as vacant. If there is a particular time period that you are interested in (say, 1945-1955), please let us know, and we can continue the research from there.

      Kind Regards,

      Isabella Folmar

  2. Legend to add: My grandmother was the last to own the historic Plumb House, now former home to Clearwater’s Historical Society. In this home, numerous Plumb children were born and raised. When my grandfather was clearing out the home, he offered me a table and my roommate at the time offered to refinish it. One afternoon while working on the table (alone in the home), my roommate kept hearing children’s voices. When she reported this to me, I was rather dismissive but then I shared it with my grandmother and she said without hesitation, “I’ve heard them too.” I suppose it could be said that my grandmother would be subject since she was raised there – perhaps collective memory – but she was not a person prone to exaggeration and never reported any other supernatural occurrence, so I’m inclined to believe it wasn’t collective memory.

  3. Chickee #9, Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation.
    In November of 2018, I was invited by the Seminole Tribe
    to display Ancient Native American artifacts at their
    annual Seminole Cultural and Art Fair.
    I arrived at Big Cypress on Friday night the day before
    The event and checked in to the camp ground where I had
    reserved a chickee for two nights.
    When I arrived I was immediately drawn to a pair of Wolf’s
    at the facility. I began taking pictures of them. To my
    surprise they were all blurry. Having seen this before,
    I immediately suspected possible paranormal activity.
    Later that afternoon I was visiting a giant Alligator named
    Trump. I was approached by the manager of the facility. I
    informed her of my suspicions and she said that there had been
    instances of paranormal activity now and then.
    Friday night passed and I slept soundly and comfortably.
    Saturday was a wonderful day of Seminole culture and art.
    As night fell I settled in for a nice evening in my chickee.
    All was uneventful until about 3am Sunday morning.
    Sleeping soundly on my left side I was violently struck on my right
    should blade. My first reaction was that a large predatory animal
    had attacked me. As I tried to scream for help I made no
    sound. I could not speak. Thinking I was fighting for my life I fought back as hard as I could. What ever had me was no animal.
    I realized I had somehow provocted a angry spirit. I tried
    several times to strike it with my elbow with no effect as
    The entity slammed me face first into the bed over and over again.
    One last swing and it let me go.
    I quickly got to my feet and examined the chickee interior.
    Everything was secure. So what ever it was didn’t come through
    the door or window. I cleaned up the mess remade my cot and
    and fell back to sleep.
    The next day I reported the incident to management. To my surprise
    others have had simular experiences in chickee #9.
    This is my story. Beware of chickee #9.

  4. There’s an apartment complex in Venice that used to be called Villa Capri in the 80s, now it’s called Venetian at Capri Isle. Lots of residents would tell stories about the apartment complex being haunted. When I was a child one night I had a radio controlled car that went nuts and started driving around the small two bedroom apartment my mother and I lived in. We were both screaming. I also used to see shapes in the closet. Doors would close on their own. Very creepy stuff happened there all the time.

  5. In the late 1960’s I attended Our Lady of Good Council Camp in Floral City, Florida. The camp is still in operation. The camp’ bogeyman was named “Hatchet Harry” and he was the (never seen but often-cited) killer who roamed the area waiting for an opportunity to slay the campers with his hatchet. The proof of his existence was his house, which became the camp infirmary. Hatchet Harry’s house had two wings joined by a central hallway which, if viewed from above, formed an “H”. That was all it took to convince a cabin full of seven year olds.

  6. Not a “haunted house” story or anything like that, just a regular! I was living with my grandma in Orlando in the ’80s and our house was really close to a (somewhat) well-known for some time house that was rebuilt(completely demolished) by its new owners after people that tried to save it failed due to lack of money. I have since moved from that place, almost 20 years ago. And recently had a chance to pay a visit and check out what has happened to it. I was very disappointed to find out that it all looks pretty abandoned and my old house building is gone and there’s a rehab(!) now. They thought I’m one of their clients and tried to talk and all that, gave me their contact info. I’ve ran away from them and never came back! It was quite some time ago and now their website isn’t even working: https://floridarehabexperts.com so I don’t know if they are still there or someone else bought it. You can read an article about this house that I’m talking about on Wiki: “The George R. Newell House in Orlando, Florida was built in 1885 by George R. Newell, a Baltimore attorney, for his bride, Susie Gibson” Here it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_R._Newell_House_(Orlando,_Florida)

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