Halloween is upon us, and with that comes all things spooky, unsettling, and haunting. It is now completely acceptable to explore the dark side of things. Gainesville is surprisingly wealthy in ghostly, paranormal activity, and not just the ghosts of students’ failed hopes and dreams. From cemeteries to old school buildings, there is enough haunting to go around. Wednesday Adams, eat your heart out. Here are 8 super haunted places in Gainesville you need to visit!
1. Sweetwater Branch Inn
The Sweetwater Branch Inn is an 1885 Victorian inn just around the corner from UF campus on University Avenue. Guests have reported strange noises in the attic, a “heavy feeling” on their chest while sleeping, doors opening and closing, and even ghostly faces appearing on third floor windows. Although it seems quaint and historic, you may leave this inn, but it might not leave you.
2. Norman Hall at the University of Florida
Norman Hall within the College of Education was built in 1932 and was originally known as the P.K. Yonge Laboratory School. There is a rumor that several children died in an elevator accident and that their presence still remains. People have reported hearing children’s laughing spirits and running feet late at night on the third floor. If you’re a UF student, you have to check out the closest of all haunted places in Gainesville!
3. Purple Porpoise/Gator City Grille
What we know as the Gator City Grille was once the Purple Porpoise until 2002. It is reported as one of the most haunted places in Gainesville! The brutal murder of a female student occurred in the 1960s in the upstairs bathroom. It is believed that the bathroom and connecting hallway still hold the spirit of the victim. Various women have stated they’ve seen the female’s ghost, and some even reported being “attacked” by an unseen force.
4. Grady House Bed And Breakfast
The Grady House Bed and Breakfast has been known to host the spirit of a lady in an old-fashioned nightgown. People have reported seeing her walk the halls with a scent of flowers, lilacs, or orange blossoms following close behind. She is known to move chess pieces on a board in the hallway, always in the same position with one lying atop another—a mystery no one has been able to quite figure out.
5. Wayside Antiques
Just south of downtown Gainesville there is the old Wayside Antiques store. Employees here have reported hearing voices when opening and closing the store, even calling out their names specifically. Many customers have seen a young girl “in period clothing” playing around a dresser in the upstairs showroom. Some do not even enter this room due to a cold, heavy feeling once near the room.
6. Ma Barker’s House
About an hour from UF campus in Ocklawaha, there is the Ma Barker’s house. The ownership has changed hands numerous times due to the haunting. Ma Barker was the mother of many criminals who ran the Barker gang, once making her Public Enemy #1. There was a shootout between the FBI and the Barker’s with more than 2,000 bullets, which led to Ma Barker’s death. People have complained of deep yelling near the back of the house, uncomfortable chills, and a heavy, looming presence throughout the home. The Ma Barker’s House has been known to host an unusual amount of paranormal activity from these events.
7. Seven Sister’s Inn, Ocala
Historic inns seem to always host ghostly activity, but the Seven Sister’s Inn in Ocala has more than its fair share. Multiple spirits have been both seen and heard here, even spotted going through walls and doors. There are also reports of a ghost stealing guests’ shoes. This is an operating inn, meaning you can come, explore, and even stay the night here to experience the paranormal for yourself.
8. Hippodrome Theatre
The historic theatre just a few minutes from UF campus was originally the county courthouse. A man went on trial for a murder he didn’t commit, and his wife, who had the evidence to free him, rushed to the town. When she arrived, she found out he had been hanged just moments before. This woman, in her white dress, went insane and now haunts the old courthouse, searching for her lost lover. This theatre definitely has the craziest story out of all the haunted places in Gainesville!