Top Ten Most Haunted Places in Miami, FL
The fabled city of the 1980s drug boom offers more than just bright skies, beautiful beaches, and a rich culture. Miami has some of the most haunted places in Florida hidden in plain sight.
Miami’s most haunted hotels and haunted houses mingle between palm trees and art-deco facades. The city was officially incorporated in 1896, marking the beginning of a duality; crime and wealth flourished side-by-side here. These ideals left behind a trail of violence that can be read like a book, one that we’ll open for you in full detail below.
The best place for a Miami ghost tour is with us, here, at US Ghost Adventures. But until you’re brave enough to enter the ghostly world of Florida’s southernmost major city, let’s look into these spooky destinations from the safety of our homes.
Miami City Cemetery
The story of Miami goes much like the rest of the state. The Spanish arrived in 1513, eventually decimating the local Native population, the “Tequesta” people. The British briefly controlled the area in the late 18th century, and in 1819, the United States purchased the state for $5 million.
Miami was an empty wasteland between this time and its incorporation. The US waged war against the Native Seminole peoples, leading to high death rates in uninhabitable swamplands.
Then, in April of 1896, the railroads came, and a city was born. At its head was one woman, a widow and orange producer named Julia Tuttle, “The Mother of Miami.” Relocating down south after the death of her husband in 1891, she donated half a square mile of land to others willing to move to the new city.
Tuttle is also responsible for expanding the railways down the Florida peninsula with a generous offering of oranges during a freeze in 1894. Without her, there likely would be no Miami.
She passed in 1898 and was buried right here, in the Miami Cemetery, along with other early settlers.
The Spirit of Julia Tuttle
Her spirit still communicates with the living in the Miami City Cemetery, the oldest cemetery in the city.
With almost 9,000 bodies in the ground, this cemetery oozes unexplained activity. The infamous Dr. Paul S. George leads wary visitors through the haunted cemetery every Halloween, contacting the spirits of “homicidal maniacs” and early settlers like Julia Tuttle.
The first recorded burial here was of an early Caucasian settler named Graham Branscomb in 1897. Before this, the land was used as unrecorded burial grounds for the large population of African Americans and Bahamians. A nod to Miami’s diverse culture and prejudiced record-keeping of the time.
Who Haunts The Miami Cemetery?
“The Mother of Miami,” Julia Tuttle communicates with the living in the Miami Cemetery. Her spirit is friendly, and she loves making conversation.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Without the speed and ease of travel provided by the railroads, Miami would be drastically different. This innovation is honored at the Gold Coast Rail Museum. But the old rail cars and engines aren’t the only things from another era on display.
Ever since the museum opened its doors back in 1956, there have been reports of eerie voices and shadowy figures lurking around. These may originate from the many steamers, passenger cars, and medical cars that were brought into the museum from around the nation.
Spirits are prone to attaching themselves to anything they were fond of in life or places where they took their last breath. While it is unknown exactly who or what haunts them, it was proven by the War Party Paranormal team that high strangeness is occurring here.
Paranormal Investigations at The Gold Coast Railroad Museum
Locking themselves into the old museum, a former WW2 Naval Base, from 5 pm to 5 am, the team discovered high levels of spiritual energy. EVP readings recorded spirits yelling “Shut up” and asking the team to leave.
These spirits reached out to the crew in more ways than one. Many members of the team reported poking, stroking, and other hand gestures upon their bodies.
The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ghost investigations, however, require a special form of entry.
The Deering Estate
Miami initially grew slowly, with only the wealthiest Americans, such as John. D Rockafeller and The Deering Brothers coming to visit. The Deering Brothers, Charles and James, millionaires thanks to their family’s Harvester Company, used their wealth to beautify and improve early Miami.
Their most impressive contribution was James’ winter home, Vizcaya Garden, located on the south end of Biscayne Bay. It was so large it once needed a village to support it. This workforce was once 10 percent of Miami’s population in the early 1900s.
Construction began in 1912, yet James died in 1925, never to see the completion of his glamorous complex. He left his estate to his half-brother, Charles. But, not to be outdone by his brother, Charles was busy building his own estate.
The Hauntings of The Deering Estate
At 450 acres, Charles’s estate was much larger than his brother’s residency, and both now operate as museums. What was once a minuscule 1896 pioneer home, built by early resident Samuel H. Richmond, was soon swallowed up by the Deering wealth. The small building, then the only hotel in the area, was slowly expanded by 1913 and 1918.
Charles missed an important detail – the land he was dealing with was once considered sacred by Native Americans, one of the few prehistoric mounds in the area. The Cutler Burial Mound was later excavated in the 1980s, and a slew of fossils and gravesites were discovered.
Before the excavations, both the museum staff and heirs of the Deering estate were aware that something was wrong with the house. Strange activity, noises, sounds, and even voices have been heard by many.
An investigation of the complex in 2009 resulted in over 60 ghost voices being recorded. For those searching for a deeper look into the unknown, Historic ghost tours are offered in October and September.
The Biltmore Hotel
Thirty thousand people called Miami home by the early 1920s. The days of only the wealthiest of the wealthy inhabiting the picturesque beach community were gone, and its transformation into the major tourist destination we know today had begun.
The old crowd mingled with the new in true roaring 1920s fashion, and luxury reigned supreme. Mobsters mixed with millionaires, bringing organized crime into the blueprints of Vice City. This culminated in large and over-the-top construction projects such as The Biltmore Hotel.
The Biltmore Hotel was built in 1926 by George Merrick, founder of the vivid City of Coral Gables. Fashion shows, galas, water shows, and golf tournaments were held here during this notoriously dangerous time, when gangsters rented out entire hotel floors, and violence was considered the norm.
This violence claimed the life of gangster Tommy “Fatty” Walsh on March 7th, 1929, shot to death on the 14th floor. His spirit is still seen roaming the halls of The Biltmore.
The horrors of World War 2 converted the hotel into a hospital. It would continue to operate as a veterans hospital under the University of Miami until 1968. The once glamorous hotel was abandoned until 1983.
The city spent $55 million renovating the husk of a hotel in 1983, and in 1987, it was back in service. Strange activity has been talked about inside the building ever since.
Paranormal Activity in The Biltmore Hotel
Guests have told the front desk about numerous bumps in the night. They return to their rooms to find lights unplugged, sockets trapped behind heavy furniture all day.
The front desk often receives calls about loud music echoing from an empty room at two in the morning.
The nightly violence that once took place aggressively manifests in pillows being pushed down on guests’ faces.
Gangsters, millionaires, and the wealthy tourists of Miami needed to be entertained, and The Colony Theatre provided. It was one of many Art-Deco-style buildings built after the 1926 Hurricane, a storm that caused $100 million in damages. These buildings have become synonymous with Miami in the Miami Beach and South Beach areas.
The Colony Theatre was built in 1935 by Paramount Pictures to revitalize Miami’s tourist economy during the Great Depression and take advantage of the city’s budding film industry. The 1,200-person capacity movie theatre was later used to show training films to soldiers during World War 2.
In 1953, it was renovated and turned into a live performance venue, which still operates today, and the ghost sightings began.
The Ghost Poodle of The Colony Theatre
Yes, you read that right, a ghost poodle. One of the most common sightings at the Colony is the spirit of a poodle. It has been seen for over sixty years and often chases theatre attendees down the hallway, yipping loudly at their heels.
Phantom footsteps from moviegoers long past have been heard near the stage, the first floor, and the elevator. There are rumors of a murder/suicide occurring in the 1930s, but little evidence is available to identify any individuals.
In conjunction with that, the apparition of a young woman dressed in 1930s clothing has often been seen around the building. She withers away into nothingness as soon as guests see her.
A similar fate almost befell the Colony Theatre until it was renovated in 2016. But it still stands strong, spirits and all.
Villa Paula, located in Little Haiti, is a step into the city’s cultural past. A place where the spirits still mingle as they did during Miami’s golden days. The Neo-Classical building acts as a time capsule, capturing the decadence and artistic integrity of the roaring 20s.
The Cuban Government built the home for Miami’s first Cuban consulate, Domingo Milord, and his wife, opera singer Paula Milord. The ten-bedroom home came complete with 18-foot high ceilings, hand-painted tile floors, and Tuscan columns.
The Cuban immigrant boom that followed Fidel Castro’s communist takeover was still many years away, occurring in 1959, but there was a still growing number of Cubans in Miami. Today, forty percent of the city is Cuban or of Cuban descent.
The Fate of Paula Milord
The Milords held large parties at their Cubanesque mansion, gathering the artistic and intellectual community night after night. Performances, songs, and high society discourse were the standard here. This can still be experienced through the statues and art pieces decorating the home inside and out.
Paula keeps these nights alive, never growing tired of her intellectual soirees. Her spirit is still entertaining in the historic home, selling for $4.5 million per plot.
Former homeowners have heard her playing the piano, followed by the smell of freshly brewed coffee, one of Paula’s many loves in life.
After her death from a leg amputation gone wrong, her husband buried her in a concrete sarcophagus in the backyard. He named the home lovingly after her. A local legend was born as tree roots slowly surrounded her tomb.
There have since been numerous investigations as to the actual whereabouts of her grave, and all have baffled experts. Her headstone or records of her burial is nowhere to be found.
Regardless, Paula has been seen floating around, with one leg, late at night in the grand hallway—a restless testament to her love of all things artistic and exquisite.
Villa Casa Casuarina
Miami is full of beautiful villas, none more famous or haunted than Villa Casa Casuarina. Once the home of the heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Alden Freeman, it became the treasured home of fashion designer Gianni Versace many years later. After being assassinated on his front steps, it became his final resting place.
Freeman Alden built the immaculate home after retiring at the ripe age of 27 in 1930. The former architect visited the Alcazar De Colon in the Dominican Republic, a house built by Christopher Columbus’s son. He was so impressed he modeled his home in an hommage to this ancient building.
Freeman lived on the top floor of the 24-apartment building. The other 23 rooms were rented to his bohemian (wealthy) friends and anyone else paying the high rent. He would pass in 1937, and the home turned into “Amsterdam Palace.”
It would remain apartments until one fateful visit by the world’s most well-regarded fashion designer in 1992.
Gianni Versace fell in love with the home and purchased it for 2.95 million dollars. He put $32 million into renovations and additions, a process that took three years to complete.
Tragedy struck on July 15th, 1997, when 27-year-old Andrew Cunan, a man on a month-long killing spree, shot Versace with a 40-caliber pistol.
Hauntings at Villa Casa Casuarina
Versace’s massive fortune, $807 million in 1997, was passed onto his family, and the building eventually sold in 2001. It was most recently purchased by Jordache Enterprises in 2013 for $41.5 million and has since been turned into a luxury hotel.
Celebrities including Drake, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and even the Canadian heartthrob Justin Bieber have all stayed here. Everyone agrees, celebrity or just the casual guest paying $1000 a night, that the place is haunted.
Some rooms have a dark, foreboding presence to them. Shuffling is heard between the walls and the closest late at night. There are talks of secret tunnels within the building, so it’s up for debate if these presences are living or dead.
Gianni Versace has been seen walking the hallways late at night. His spirit calms those who see him, as he did while alive. Save up your money and find out for yourself!
Alfred L. Dupont Building
Despite the hordes of wealth and financiers that flocked to Miami’s sun shores, the city still fell hard during the Great Depression. The Alfred I. Dupont building marked the end of this tumultuous time. Despite this, the building still has managed to attract the paranormal activity that prevails around the rest of the city.
The Alfred I. Dupont was one of the first skyscrapers in Miami, built in 1937 and opened to the public in 1939 as the headquarters for the Florida National Bank. Today, it is still the only Art Deco skyscraper in an area full of Art Deco buildings.
During World War 2, it operated as the Fleet Headquarters for the 7th Naval Command, earning it the nickname the “USS Neversink.”
It serves as an event and wedding space, complete with all the flourishing features it was constructed with wonderfully renovated.
Tragedy at The Alfred I Dupont
While there have been reports of many spirits in the Dupont, most chillingly the face of a burning man appearing out of nowhere on the second floor, the most infamous spectral presence is that of Grant Stockdale.
Grant Stockdale was a political ally of John F. Kennedy’s who had managed to make some enemies across the volatile southern region. Stockdale attempted to pass the first anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation in Congress, making him a target for many racist politicians and affiliates.
Ten days after Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, Stockdale fell off the 13th floor of the Dupont building. It was officially deemed a suicide, but no note or indication of this was ever found.
Sources close to him say he was gripped by depression after the death of his close friend. But perhaps there were other contributing factors.
We may never know the truth, but Stockdale’s spirit tries to tell us something. It’s been seen by nearly every staff member of the building. Encounters with him are regarded as a right of passage even.
The Tide’s Hotel
The city of Miami’s prominence rose and fell over the 20th century, but its unique culture did not waver. A wave of immigrants escaping Fidel Castro’s repressive regime flooded the Cuban-friendly city during the 1960’s. They remain here, staunchly supporting their proud culture.
A strong sense of distrust followed these middle and upper-class Cubans trying to find security in a changing world. The CIA set up camp around Miami to protect Americans from the perceived threat of Communist Cuba.
The Tide Hotel was the center of one of their more experimental projects.
Known as “The Diva of South Beach,” this Art-Deco Hotel has been stunning visitors to Miami since 1936. The swanky interior still makes it a popular stay for tourists and locals alike.
But during the Cuban Missle Crisis, The Tide Hotel was anything but luxurious. The CIA occupied a whole floor during the 13-day stand-off with the communist world. Hoping to engage in psychic warfare, the CIA performed horrible experiments on several psychics.
These paranormal patriots were subjected to drug cocktails, nearly killing numerous people. If their psychic powers could be boosted and used against the Communist threat, victory would be assured. This ultimately failed and left behind a strange psychic residence. A portal had been opened that never closed.
Hauntings at The Tide Hotel
For ten years after the experiment, the spirits were let in by the tormented psychics terrorized guests of The Tide. Lights flickered violently throughout the floor where the experiments took place. Guests would complain of shadow figures hovering over their beds and strange fingertips scanning their bodies in the middle of the night.
Some even awoke to find a rotting corpse pushed up against their body. Only their screams made these spectral monsters disappear.
Eventually, the floor was closed for “renovations.” It remained so for ten years until the phenomena stopped. Some reports of lingering spectral activity are still heard to this day.
Mac’s Club Deuce
With the tumultuous 60s behind them, the city of Miami moved forward. But, the most iconic time was yet to come. The 1980s painted a neon hue across the city, one that still glows today, “Vice City” had come to fruition, fueled by the cocaine boom of this crazy era.
At its center was Mac’s Club Deuce, a bar haunted by many of its former patrons, so much so that the bartenders double-check to see that they’re serving the right patrons! Ghosts can’t pay for their drinks, let alone drink them.
Mac’s Club Deuce is the oldest bar in Miami, operating since the early 1900s. In 1964, when regular barfly Mac Klein purchased it, Mac’s Club Deuce was born. Interestingly, he bought the bar the same day the previous owner died. Talk about the right place at the right time.
It became the preferred watering hole for all the citizens of Miami, honorable or otherwise. Klein recalls in an interview with the Miami Times. “Believe it or not, in 1985, you were liable to see somebody from the district attorney’s office sitting on one end of the bar. You were liable to see a thief on the other end. And the lawyer on the other end.”
The bar became so iconic that a few episodes of the hit TV show Miami Vice were shot inside. When the show ended in 1990, Mac’s Club Deuce was home to the wrap party.
The Phantom Patrons at Mac’s Deuce
Some years after Klein purchased the bar, he made it public that he wanted his ashes stored inside after his death, specifically in the bartop.
Regulars got wind of this and started bringing their loved one’s ashes into the joint, well hidden in all sorts of furniture. The activity began soon afterward.
Many patrons have talked to the Vietnam War vets and flirtatious women who disappear mid-conversation. Ghostly faces appear in the toilet, as some ashes were flushed down the toilet, in true 1980s Miami style, to be a part of Mac’s pipe system forever.
Most Haunted Miami
Now that you’re in on the secrets, the scandals, and the spooky side of Miami, there’s only one thing left to do. Visit and feel the ghastly neon glow of Miami’s most haunted. Let one of US Ghost Adventures’s experienced tour guides lead the way! We offer ghost tours, pub crawls, and food tours for all ages.
Read more of our blog for further scary stories and haunted history!