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Caution: Do not read in the dark. Ghost stories, by necessity, involve death. 

 

An overhead shot of firefighters working on a fire at the Putnam Hotel in 2018.

Putnam Hotel, DeLand

The long history of the Hotel Putnam — originally a wooden structure known as the DeLand Grove House, circa 1880 — guarantees that if any place is haunted, it’d probably be this one.

Even more than that, its nearly 100-year history as a hotel (complete with several fires) is ripe for all manner of spooks and kooks. 

Its latest possible haunting began in 1982, when a 19-year-old man pushed his pregnant 22-year-old girlfriend off a third-floor fire escape, killing her and the unborn child instantly. 

STETSON UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES PHOTO CIRCA 1960

Hulley Tower, Stetson University, DeLand (demolished)

Legend has it, long ago, a young Stetson University student by the name of Suzanna Brown threw herself off of Hulley Tower — a 116-foot-tall bell tower demolished in 2005 — after her affair with a married professor was exposed. 

Up until the tower was finally taken down, there were reports of seeing a ghostly figure early in the morning, stepping off the top of the tower.

The murderous (allegedly) clock tower looms over Pine Ridge High School.

Pine Ridge High School, Deltona

Persistent rumors that Pine Ridge High is haunted have been around for years, and are associated with several legends, including one that concerns a construction worker who was killed while the school was being built in 1994. 

Specifically, the worker was supposedly crushed in the gears of the school’s clocktower. This ghost has apparently been attempting to communicate with night janitors for years. 

Other rumors include the classic kid-killed-by-Frisbee, and hauntings associated with the nearby Osteen Cemetery. 

Rumors that the teachers’ parking lot was built on old unmarked graves, and reports of ghostly figures seen and footsteps heard when no one is behind you, beg the question: Is the cemetery haunted because of the school, or is the school haunted because of the cemetery?

The Cassadaga Hotel displays a likeness of one of their alleged ghosts.
BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Cassadaga

Probably any Central Floridian is aware that Cassadaga is a haunted place. Hotels appear to be ghost hot spots, because the Cassadaga Hotel is considered one of the most haunted spots in Volusia County.

The many Spiritualists who operate in the area probably assist in thinning the veneer between life and death in the area, where floating orbs, ghostly taps on the shoulder, and hissing whispers are commonly reported. 

And, no mention of Cassadaga is complete without highlighting the Devil’s Chair urban legend. This classic revolves around a memorial sculpture of a chair in the cemetery that borders Lake Helen and Cassadaga. 

Sit in the chair at midnight, the tale goes, and the devil will appear to you. No word on the usefulness of this encounter, but this persistent rumor is a Halloween headache for local police officers.

Clearly spooky.

The Artisan Downtown Hotel, DeLand

Along with the other haunted hotels on this list, the Artisan Inn boasts such ghostly apparitions as a mischievous poltergeist, a lost young girl, and a forgotten worker, along with the usual balls of mystery light and menacing auras.

Apparently, the ghosts are active only in the winter, befitting the history of the inn, which was built to house Northern visitors wintering in Florida. 

A possibly haunted desk.

Enterprise Museum, Enterprise

A showcase of the history of Enterprise and pioneer steamboat operator and slave owner Jacob Brock, the Enterprise Museum is located in a circa-1936 schoolhouse. 

On display are such artifacts as the paddle used to wallop children, and lists of people who were enslaved. On a recent visit, an incredibly creepy doll was discovered in an abandoned toilet stall. 

GOOGLE MAPS SCREENSHOT

The I-4 Dead Zone

Just over the border from DeBary into Seminole County is an area known as the I-4 Dead Zone — a strip of asphalt on the other side of the Lake Monroe Bridge that is apparently a hot spot for crashes. 

The story goes that a Catholic priest was appointed to oversee a small colony of German immigrants. The four families later died of yellow fever, and were buried at the spot. Time and weather wore away the gravesites, and later, their final resting place was paved over. 

Nearly 2,000 crashes are attributed to the area, many of them fatal, according to legend, and car radios sometimes blare static when traveling past the spot. 

Do you have a ghost story or a haunted place? Share it with us! Comment below, or emailing info@beacononlinenews.com, or send a letter to 110 W. New York Ave., DeLand, FL 32720.

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