Florida Ghost Stories
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During their ownership, the hotel and bar became a notable hangout for local characters and celebrities alike. Hurricane Easy lambasted Cedar Key in , blowing the roof off the hotel. Major remodeling was required to make the building usable again. Loyal Gibbs died in Bessie continued to operate it until she retired due to health reasons in Bessie died two years later in a house fire at her small cottage home in Cedar Key. New owners continued to upgrade and improve the old building. In the Island Hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the restaurant became nationally famous.
Her actions so infuriated the local patrons of the King Neptune Lounge, that they buried her in effigy outside the town hall. Hotel staff and local patrons insist that the hotel is really haunted. It is said that there are at least 13 bona fide spirits occupying the old hotel. There is the story of the small black boy, about nine years old who died before the end of the Civil War.
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The way the story goes--this small boy was hired by the manager of the general store and post office to sweep-up and help around the property. Apparently the manager spotted the little boy putting something in his pocket and thinking he had witnessed the boy pilfering something, chased him out the back door. The boy was never seen or heard from again. About a year later, while cleaning out the basement water cistern, a five-foot deep 2, gallon cement tank, in preparation for liming lime was painted in cistern tanks to help keep the water from souring , the workers discovered the skeletal remains of a child.
It is said the boy climbed into the cistern to hide from the manager, where he drowned. The basement is accessible through a trap door in the very back of the hotel. It is dark some say as dark as the inside of a black cat and eerie, with uneven floors and low beam supports.
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Down in that basement it is said that the ghost of that scared little boy hides There is the story of the Southern Army private soldier who stands guard on the second floor. No one seems to know the reason or the whole story, but sightings of this apparition out-number all of the others. It seems that every morning just as the sun begins to rise guests can see what appears to be a soldier in a Southern Army uniform standing guard at attention just inside the doors leading to the balcony.
The vision lasts just a few seconds but has been seen by dozens of guests over the years.
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The ghost of Simon Feinberg. The ghost who visits guests staying in rooms 27 and This spirit is said to be that of a murdered prostitute.
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This shy ghost is quite friendly. She simply sits on the bed in the middle of the night and kisses guests on the cheek, then disappears in a smoky haze. More Sightings There are sightings of more recently departed people. Bessie Gibbs, who lived here for over 26 years, is said to move around the hotel rearranging furniture, pictures and closing doors. It seems her favorite trick is to lock a guest out of his room as he steps out for a moment.
Guests have also seen a ghostly apparition walk through their room and through the walls in the middle of the night. They always describe a spirit resembling Bessie Gibbs. Bessie was a character in life, ever full of stories, jokes and playfulness. Her ghostly apparition continues just the way she was.
The idea was to conjure up the spirit of Bessie Gibbs.
There is evidence that, in addition to those ghosts listed above, two Native American Indians, a fisherman and an unidentified tall, thin man are also making the hotel their post-earthly form home. According to legend, Clark Woodruff, owner of the estate, was having an affair with Chloe, a house servant. Eventually, Woodruff tired of Chloe, and Chloe, fearing she would be sent back to the fields to work, began eavesdropping on family conversations to see if they spoke of her.
Woodruff caught her and cut off her ear as punishment; to hide the scar, she always wore a green scarf. During her time living at the White House, Dolley built a beautiful rose garden. Years later, when Mrs. Woodrow Wilson occupied the White House, she requested the rose garden be replaced.
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Now that sounds like a realistic story about a Southern woman. Legend has it that in the mid s, young Julia Legare was visiting Edisto Island. She fell ill with diphtheria, and fell into a deep coma. When her brother passed away 15 years later, her family opened the crypt and found her body pressed against the door, trying to escape — thought for dead, she had been alive all along.
Some locals swear that the scratches on the inside of the crypt were made by Julia, desperately trying to escape being buried alive. The spooky story begins in , after a man was found lying strangled on his bed. Although the deceased man, William Wise, was known to be slightly shady, his death still caused quite a stir in the community. Investigators convicted two of his servants, Alice Riley and Richard White. Although the two attempted to flee, they were eventually caught and sentenced to death.
A short while later, her son died. Legend has it that she haunts pregnant women and mothers with infants, searching for her lost baby.
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