Our state is home to countless beaches, fantastic weather, and plenty of activities for visitors of all backgrounds. It’s also the location of numerous urban legends.
Urban legends are designed as exaggerated claims or stories circulated to be accurate, often containing scary, humorous, or cautionary elements. Generic urban legends are usually altered to suit regional variations; the moral remains the same.
For us local residents who enjoy getting spooked and startled, urban legends are the perfect conduit for terrifying delights. Here are the Top 5 Urban Legends in Florida:
Bloody Bucket Bridge
Wauchula is just southeast of our city, aka the “Cucumber Capital of the World.” It’s also the home to the Bloody Bucket Bridge.
Around the time of the Civil War, the town’s midwife delivered several hundred babies. Concerned that the families already had too many kids to feed, the woman started smothering them, lying to the parents that they were stillborn. Naturally, residents started getting suspicious. Some murmured that she was deranged because she had children taken from her while she was a slave. Eventually, people refused to allow her to deliver any longer, and she slipped into madness.
It is rumored that she would sit beside the bucket, and fill with the blood of all the infants she had killed. Then, she would carry the blood-filled buckets to the bridge, and upturn it in the river, before the bucket would gradually fill again. Once, when emptying the bloody bucket, the midwife fell in and drowned. Rumor has it, if you visit the bridge on a full moon, the river water looks like it is running red with blood.
The Florida Skunk Ape
This creature has a lot of names. “The Stink Ape.” “The Myakka Skunk Ape.” “The Florida Skunk Ape.” This legendary creature is said to inhabit our state.
The stories date back to the ‘60s and ‘70s during the times of Bigfoot mania. Conveniently, an ape-creature running on two legs was spotted in South Florida. The creature gets its name from its offending odor, likely a byproduct of living in the Everglades along with other swamp inhabitants.
In Ochopee, an official Skunk Ape Research Headquarters is where workers collect and investigate reports of swamp ape sightings. Does it exist? Check out this vide:
Robert the Doll
The original inspiration to the character “Annabelle,” the world’s most haunted doll, lives in Key West. Around 1904, the Steiff Company created Robert the Doll, and was presented as a gift to a local boy. Unfortunately, he developed an unusual relationship with his toy.
Some of the earliest signs of the paranormal began when the boy’s family and servants would hear him in his bedroom, having conversations with himself in two entirely different voices. In the middle of the night, the boy would scream, frightened in his bed and surrounded by upturned furniture. Mutilated toys and mysterious happenings followed. Neighbors claimed they could see Robert the Doll moving in the windows of the family home. Other observers have seen Robert laugh and throw objects across the room.
Currently, Robert the Doll resides in the Fort East Martello Museum. His haunts are protected by his plexiglass case enclosure.
The Devil’s Chair of Cassadaga
Also known as the “haunted chair,” the “devil’s chair” is a part of folklore found in numerous places, usually attached to a memorial or funerary sculpture. Back in the Victorian era, cemeteries would provide benches for mourning visitors.
Just 35 miles north of Orlando resides the small town of Cassadaga. For the most part, the architecture of the area has remained largely unchanged since it was first settled in the 1800s. The town was also renowned as the “Psychic Center of the World,” when Cassadaga was a Mecca of Spiritualism and psychic mediumship. It’s also home to the menacing red brick bench known as the Devil’s Chair.
Back in the day, a young man dared sit in the chair at midnight on Halloween. It was the last time he was ever seen.
Many say the Devil himself will speak to you when you sit in the chair; numerous visitors claim they constantly hear voices in their heads when seated. Another known legend of the Devil’s Chair involves leaving a can of unopened beer, not he bench. The story claims it will be empty the next morning, but still unopened.
Across our state’s 1,350 miles of coastline are over 30 lighthouses. Most have been lovingly preserved; several have gone through complete restorations. There’s only one that is severely haunted.
For 160 years, the Pensacola Lighthouse sat at the entrance to Pensacola Bay. Paranormal investigators claim the property has six ghostly residents. The origins of the spirits are wide ranging: two children were rumored to pass away near the lighthouse from yellow fever. A woman endured a death by child berth inside the lighthouse.
Supposedly, a couple who were always fighting owned the property next to the lighthouse. After a decade or so, the woman lost her cool and chopped up her husband. Nowadays, visitors claim they hear screaming in the tower. There is even one specific spot where blood appears out of nowhere and disappears.