PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Ghost stories are part of Halloween. One place that is full of history, that some believe is also full of spirits, is downtown Pensacola.
That’s where museums within the University of West Florida Historic Trust are located, and if you sense you hear, see, or even feel something you can’t explain when you visit, you’re not alone!
The Pensacola Museum of History was built in 1907 and housed City Hall. It is home to artifacts, photographs, and eerie stories.
“You just hear this, Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, of just somebody running up and down the hallway,” said Lori McDuffie with the UWF Historic Trust.
McDuffie is the collections manager and is usually the first to handle relics. After long days working in the museum basement, she’s the last one to leave the building — at least she’s supposed to be the last.
“The first time I heard it, it freaked me out to the point that I actually went up there because I thought there was somebody still in the building, but there was nobody,” recalls McDuffie.
One strange experience involves the elevators at the Museum of History — elevator doors already open, on every single one of the floors, without being called.
“They shouldn’t open until you call it,” said Wendi Davis, Visitor Experience Manager for UWF Historic Trust.
Davis says this bizarre story is one her co-worker experienced.
“She’s like, ‘Oh, I’ll use the stairs to go to the second floor and close up.’ She gets to the second floor. The elevator doors are open for her, waiting for her. She said, ‘No, I’m not going through that elevator.’ Use the stairs again. And then it was there on the third floor as well,” Davis recollects.
The stairs carry their own tales.
“We have two stairwells in this building and you can hear people running, kids laughing, which can be very ominous when it’s dark and spooky at night. It’s an old building and you hear these just giggles. Nothing (there),” Davis told Cherish Lombard.
It seems the sounds and specters also haunt the halls of neighboring buildings, including the Children’s Museum.
“One time I heard my name whispered and felt it on my neck. I’ve had boxes moved over at that museum in one of my storage rooms. I would go in, it would be cleared. I’d get something out, go back in, and boxes would be blocking the path,” said Davis.
Also, unexplained happenings in the Lear House.
“I left, went to lunch, I came back and the curtains had been pulled over the top of two high chairs that we have sitting in front of an opposing window in the same room,” said McDuffie. “Nobody else was in the building that day. I actually went on the porch of Lear House and refused to go back into the house.”
Someone, or something there, seems to be very particular about “shoe placement.” It’s believed to be Emma Snowden, who was the boarding house operator in the 1920s.
“We always tuck the toes of the shoes under the edge of the bed and pretty much every other time you go into the house, somebody’s pulled them out and moved them about three or four feet over out to the middle of the floor,” stated McDuffie.
She says they’ve tried leaving them in the middle of the floor.
“We have and they stay there until we move them back to the bed, and then they get pulled back out,” said McDuffie.
Visitors have reported ghostly encounters, too.
“In some of the older homes in historic Pensacola village, we’ve had people who’ve come through who say that they are sensitive and they had felt somebody was telling them something, or they have seen something move, they were kind of tapped on the shoulder, those kinds of things,” Davis shares.
Who, or what, is behind these occurrences may forever remain unknown, but for those who have felt it, seen it, and heard it– it’s very real.