Miami’s Most Haunted Locations

Illustration by Joshua Rodriguez PantherNOW

By: Thomas Marin // Contributing Writer

As any city that is almost a couple of centuries old, Miami is not without physical structures that have been witness to human misery. 

The sensations these places can produce in visitors can be lurid, in the worst and best sense. Prepare yourself for a creepy experience if you ever go to these haunted places in our city! 

 The front of the Biltmore Hotel. Photo by Thomas Marin PantherNOW

The Biltmore Hotel  

A historic hotel built in 1926 by George Merrick (planner and founder of the city of Coral Gables), the Biltmore Hotel is one of the oldest and most haunted places in the state. 

It has a long record of tragic events and paranormal activity. Just three years after its inauguration, notorious New York mobster Thomas Walsh was killed on the 13th floor in 1929. 

It is said he still inhabits the floor, turning the hall lights on and off, and even haunting the elevator, taking guests to the 13th floor against their will. 

The building was turned into an army hospital from 1942 to 1968 when it became vacant until its restoration in 1987. It was during this period that the hotel gained its haunted reputation in the neighborhood since it became a popular spot for urban exploration.

Most explorers and local kids are said to have seen the ghosts of officers and even bloody limbs. The ghost stories haven’t stopped since the reopening. 

For decades, guests have complained about signal and electrical problems, loud band music, and detonations that come out of nowhere. 

One of the entrances of the Miami City Cemetery. Photo by Thomas Marin PantherNOW

Miami City Cemetery 

The oldest and only municipal cemetery in Miami-Dade County, the City Cemetery had its first recorded burial in 1897. 

This graveyard is the final resting place of more than 9000 people, including numerous confederate and union veterans, soldiers from the Spanish-American War, pioneer families such as the Burdines and the Peacocks, and Julia Tuttle, founder of Miami. 

The site is said to have been used as a burial ground by natives and slaves way before the first record funeral. More recently, it has been rumored that locals often use the grounds to conduct santeria ceremonies. 

The most famous grave belongs to pioneer philanthropist Carrie B. Miller, who died in 1926. Her body was molded in a solid concrete block, so when it turned to dust, her body shape could remain. 

There is an annual cemetery tour offered during Halloween by the History Miami Museum association, which takes a detailed look over the legends that supposedly roam the tombs of the cemetery. 

Front of the Colony Theater in Lincoln Road. Photo by Thomas Marin PantherNOW

Colony Theatre 

Found in the emblematic Lincoln Road, the Colony Theatre was constructed by Paramount Pictures in 1935. Once an Art Deco movie house, the theatre currently hosts music, dance, and theater performances, managed by the Miami New Drama Theater Company. 

According to past and current staff, this location has a diverse set of ghostly entities. Visitors and actors have reported hearing strange footsteps on the second floor, the lobby, and the backstage area.

The sound reportedly belongs to an invisible spirit of a passionate actor that refuses to leave the premises even after death. 

Another notable spirit is described as a woman dressed in 1930s clothing. Usually believed to be a performer because of her garments, it is said she was an old patron that worked in the theater when Paramount was the owner. 

However, the most famous ghost in the Colony is the specter of a white toy poodle, a rather friendly presence. Apparently, its favorite activity is to run around the halls chasing visitors.  

Parts of the Coral Castle.  Photo by Christina Rutz

Coral Castle 

The most eerie-looking haunted location in the county, Coral Castle’s conception and construction are a fascinating subject that continues to be a source of interest and debate among locals and mystery enthusiasts. 

Built by Latvian émigré Edward Leedskalnin, a self-taught engineer that specialized in magnetism, he dedicated the structure to his ex-bride-to-be Agnes Skuvst, who broke off their engagement before he came to America in 1912. 

After 10 years in the country, Leedskalnin came to Florida after being diagnosed with tuberculosis in search of a warmer climate. The castle’s construction took more than 28 years and was finalized in 1951 when Leedskalnin passed away. 

Yet, strangely, he managed to build the whole castle by himself. Working alone and during the night, without modern equipment, he managed to mine, transport, and sculpt more than 2 million lbs. of oolite (a sedimentary rock). The methods he used were apparently never revealed to the public, but it is known he dedicated his work to Agnes. 

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