Most people come to Orlando expecting to meet a couple characters and maybe a magical creature, too. However, wander off the beaten path and you may encounter something entirely different: a ghost. Central Florida’s rich history predates the thrills of Disney and Universal, and as such is bound to have a spook or two – or at least a few local legends. If you’re up for a ghost hunt this Halloween, explore these haunted Orlando locations.
Visit the Ghosts of Paintings Past
In life, these artists toiled endlessly over their creations. In death, they do much the same. These Orlando art museums offer you the unique chance to encounter both art and artist, even after they’ve left our mortal realm.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, 633 Osceola Ave. – This lakeside museum houses over 200 sculptures by Czech artist Albin Polasek, and quite possibly his ghost, too. The staff have reported feeling a presence on the grounds and in 1997 a guest noticed their photo of Polasek’s “Stations of the Cross” showed a tear suspended over Jesus’s cheek. Was it a trick of the light, or was the artist adding a final touch to his work? You decide.
Maitland Art Center, 231 W. Packwood Ave. – Originally an artist colony created by artist and architect André Smith in 1937, today the Maitland Art Center continues to offer an immersive art experience for visitors. It seems Smith never left either and today many see this friendly ghost wandering the grounds or hanging about in the artist studios. Others have reported feeling a presence in the studios as well as noticing the faint scent of cigars even when no one is smoking.
Dine with the Hungry Ghosts of Church Street
Was that a ghostly growl or is that just your stomach grumbling? Perhaps both. Satisfy your hunger and your curiosity at these Church Street bars and restaurants, all of which happen to have ghostly patrons.
Ceviche, 125 W. Church St. – To casual diner, Ceviche is just another delicious Orlando restaurant that serves up tapas and drinks. To you, it’s a former church and hotel, and one of the most haunted spots in downtown. Don’t let the flamenco shows distract you from noticing the 19th century woman in the mirror, the priest wandering outside, and the unseen hands that tug at your clothes.
Kres Chophouse, 17 W. Church St. – This 1930s Art Deco building had a humble beginning as a five and dime store but has since been transformed into a swanky steakhouse. Like several Church Street buildings, Kres Chophouse is said to be a hotspot for otherworldly energies but if the spooks happen to be a bit shy on the night of your visit, don’t despair. Kres is a favorite haunt for celebrities as well, so a visit to this restaurant is practically guaranteed to provide you with an amusing anecdote.
Solve the Mystery of the Ladies in White
Shrouded in white and cloaked in mystery, the Lady in White is a frustratingly elusive yet ubiquitous character in ghost stories worldwide. Every spooky locale worth visiting has at least one such figure; Orlando has three.
Rodger’s Building, 39 S. Magnolia Ave. – Green, grand, and impossible to miss, this Queen Anne-style building in downtown Orlando has been home to many businesses and organizations over the years. Currently it is an art gallery but when the building first opened in the 1880s the downstairs floor was an English gentlemen’s social club owned by Gordon Rogers. Only wealthy, upper class men were permitted, a fact which did not amuse Mrs. Rogers. Today her spectre wanders freely throughout the building, occasionally appearing to gallery visitors.
Elijah Hand Building, 15-17 W. Pine St. – Elijah Hand was a successful undertaker in the late 1880s – a little too successful. Legend says he had so much business he often ran out of space in the morgue and had to store bodies upstairs, often on spare beds or sofas. In recent years, the Elijah Hand Building has been home to nightclubs and offices that never seem to stay in business for long, perhaps due to the fact that they had to share space with several lingering spirits, including an enigmatic Lady in White.
Lake Lucerne, S. Orange – In daylight, Orlando’s tiny Lake Lucerne pales in comparison to its more famous Swiss counterpart. Visit at night and you might change your mind because – you guessed it – this peaceful lake is home to yet another mysterious Lady in White. She is known to appear after sundown under an old oak tree before vanishing silently into the night.
Rest Up at Your Orlando Hotel
When you are ready to turn in after a long night of ghost hunting, head over to Rosen Inn International. You won’t find any tricks or spookiness here, only comfy beds, spacious rooms, and a tasty buffet restaurant in the lobby. Book your room today by calling 407-996-1600 or clicking the button in the upper right corner.
Want to visit more haunted locations in Orlando? Check out our list of seven spooky locations across Central Florida.