Availability: this activity often sells out. Book your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
The Ghost Hunt takes you on an interactive nighttime walk among the many paranormal hotspots in Old Town Key West, one of America’s most haunted locations.Highlights
- Take the tour created by David L. Sloan, original Key West ghost hunter.
- Experience a 90-minute walk through Old Town to multiple haunted locations.
- Visit sites featured on The Discovery Channel, History Channel, and Travel Channel.
- Enjoy dynamic guides, small groups, and high-tech ghost hunting equipment.
- Join the fun any night, with departure from downtown Key West
Key West boasts a long and intense history packed into a small area. For millennia, the machinations, magic, and misery of human adventure, triumph, and tragedy have swirled and clung in the confined space of this tiny island, making eerie events and strange characters simply part and parcel of the Key West experience. Weird things happen here - just search “Robert the Doll” on YouTube to see one of the more prominent examples. If the creepy tale of local painter Robert Eugene Otto and the cursed doll that was his lifetime companion raises the hairs on the back of your neck, you may have what it takes to hunt up a personal encounter with one of the island’s many renowned apparitions.
The original explorer of Key West’s paranormal dimension, David L. Sloan, calls Key West a “ghost mine”. Said to be one of the most haunted places in America, Key West features 4 ghostly citizens for every living person. Theories about the cause of high levels of other-worldly activity on the island include the action of ghost-trapping effects caused by the limestone bedrock of the island or some property of the waters surrounding it. While these are both highly speculative ideas, there are some factual aspects of Key West history that can readily explain the thickly-haunted nature of the place.
For one thing, Key West really is built on an ancient Native American burial ground. The original name given to the island by early Spanish explorers was Cayo Hueso, literally “Bone Island” or “Bone Cay”. Whether cemetery or battlefield, the island was reported to be strewn with human bones, possibly from the Calusa people whose ancestors had lived in what is now Southeast Florida for thousands of years. Later, as the European presence in the Keys grew, the waters around Key West began to claim lives as hurricanes and the many shallow reefs and sandbars exacted their toll on shipping. The ongoing stream of shallow-water shipwrecks attracted salvagers and scavengers, and profits from wrecking, an industry founded in human tragedy, were a major component of Key West’s economy until the end of the 19th century.
Piracy bloodied the local waters with mayhem and murder for a good portion of Key West’s history, but the slavers of the British Triangle Trade were even more efficient ghost-generators than the pirates. The local segments of that global slave trade route saw countless victims of the cruel voyage tossed over the rail dead or sent to the bottom in chains, trapped in slave ships sunk by the difficult weather of the Florida Straits. In the final years of the slave trade, many kidnapped Africans were rescued from ships and brought to Key West, and almost 300 are still here, buried in the African Cemetery at Higgs Beach. The effects of slavery in the Caribbean shaped Key West’s human past, and 400 years of Afro-Caribbean magic and mysticism, Santeria and voodoo, also left marks on the places and people of the island. Throughout more recent history, hurricanes, epidemics, and a general atmosphere of risk-taking and rowdiness have kept the island’s dark side well-populated with restless spirits.
In short, Key West and its environs have been gathering ghosts for a long time. Don’t miss your chance to encounter some of this ghostly history in person on a walking tour of locations like the Key West Firehouse Museum, where the shade of a young Bahamian girl plays in the engine room at night and follows visitors on their tours among the artifacts. Stroll along Eaton Street, the most haunted street in Key West. Look for the restless sea captain often sighted in the graveyard behind St. Paul’s Church, visit Club Chameleon, a former church and theater haunted by playful children’s spirits, stop at The Old Town Manor, where a doctor’s ghost keeps his otherworldly practice, and see The Artist House, where Robert Otto lived with Robert The Doll.
Many visitors experience strange phenomena while visiting the haunted side of the city, but even hardened sceptics will enjoy the little-known history of the island that is presented on the tour. Each ghost hunt tour is limited to 20 guests, and all ghost-hunting equipment is included. Your tour also includes a free Ghost Hunt Society membership and exclusive access to a collection of haunted artifacts. Come along and experience the real nightlife of Old Town – book your Key West Ghost Hunt now.