Well boys and ghouls, it’s that haunting time of year again. The ancient Celts believed the veils between this world and “the great beyond” were thinnest at Samhain, the ancient celebration known to us as Halloween. According to this belief, the spirits of the departed could easily visit their old haunting grounds.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of the spookiest stories behind six Polk County landmarks and the 411 on what makes them haunted.
The recipe for a good scary story is one part truth with a large dose of embellishment and fortunately, Polk County has plenty of historically true stories that make great bases for tales.
So, what does The Stanford Inn Bed and Breakfast, Florida Southern College + Spook Hill have in common?
The Stanford Inn Bed & Breakfast 📍
Though now permanently closed, it was once believed that a “noisy” apparition of the former owner inhabited the b&b. Doors would also allegedly close on their own, and disembodied footsteps had been heard on the staircase. The Stanford Inn was also featured on the 1991 film “My Girl,” starring Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Anna Chlumsky + Macaulay Culkin.
Florida Southern College📍
The hauntings on the campus of Florida Southern College are pretty well known in LAL. Possibly the most notorious accounts are about the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel + The Buckner Theatre. According to rumor, the chapel’s choir screen wasn’t put in correctly and Frank Lloyd Wright’s apparition has been seen staring over the screen. At the Buckner Theatre, students have claimed to have seen doors shutting randomly or phantom hands in the curtains.
Camilla Hall, Webber International University📍
Supposedly, a shadowy human figure lurks around the second floor of one of the girls-only dormitories at the university.
Old Polk County Courthouse 📍
Built in 1909 on the foundations of the original courthouse, the Old Polk County Courthouse in Bartow dates back to the early 1880s. Haunted claims at this location include screams from the basement, apparitions appearing on the second floor rotunda (supposedly of the Mann brothers), a “Lady in White” on the 2nd floor + numerous cold spots on the first floor.
Spook Hill 📍
Spook Hill is something of a topographical optical illusion. Objects appear to roll up rather than down the hill. Legend has it objects are pushed by the ghost of an Indian chief protecting his land after fighting a gator that resulted in both of their deaths.
G.H.O.S.T. House 📍
A private residence in Lakeland was investigated by Ghost Hunters of Scientific Theory (G.H.O.S.T.) after the homeowner claimed feelings of being watched, hearing voices + seeing full body apparitions. The team concluded the house as haunted. Watch the video here.
(Disclaimer: Hey boo, just fyi, we advise against any form of trespassing or breaking + entering.)
Do you have more spooky Lakeland stories of your own? Tell us by replying to this email. We’re just dying to see a ghost around town this Halloween.
Or join the millennial bandwagon and buy your own haunted house.
Just in case real haunts aren’t your thing, check out Lakeland Mom’s fall halloween and activities guide for a list of haunted houses and halloween themed events.
Happy haunting ghoulfriend,