I have heard a lot of ghost stories not only since moving to Orlando about a year ago but all over the country and the world. Everywhere I've been, there are always stories. And none of them are cute. Ghost stories are usually gruesome, sad, and scary. But let me tell you when I ran across this one, the first thing I said was, "awwww," and you might, too.
Because it is the cutest ghost story, I've ever heard.
Palm Beach, Florida, is not only a popular tourist destination (with projected record numbers for 2022. Around 8.5 million tourists estimated. Wow!), it's the home of many ghost stories. And the one we'll talk about today revolves around the grave of Johnny Brown, the "Human Monkey" and favorite pet of the brilliant and strange celebrity architect, Addison Mizner. Through a lifetime of work creating stunning buildings and homes for stars, many credit Mizner for giving Palm Beach its "Palm Beach look."
Pretty cool legacy if you ask me.
The story of Johnnie Brown's life is almost as wild as his owners. This monkey even ran for mayor and was invited as a guest to the monkey Scopes trail! He would follow Addison wherever he went, often riding on his shoulder or tagging behind.
Visitors to Palm Beach can locate Johnnie Brown's grave off of Worth Avenue in the courtyard of Pizza Al Fresco. The grave is surrounded by a table of four and is also not the only grave. And this is where the story gets adorable.
There have been reports of Johnnie Brown and his BFF in the afterlife, a little Scottish Terrier named Laddie, frolicking around the restaurant courtyard.
If someone sees them, they are said to run inside the Mizner Mansion, which is still nearby after all this time. But Laddie was not one of Addison's many beloved pets, though he had many, including other monkeys. So why is Laddie buried here beside Johnnie Brown?
When Johnnie Brown died in 1927, Palm Beach allowed Mr. Mizner to bury the beloved monkey outside his home, the Villa Mizner or "Mizner Mansion."
Palm Beach does not allow graves usually to keep the ecosystem stable, but along with Johnnie, Scottie, the pet of the woman who lived in the Villa after Addison died, was also allowed to be buried on the property. What a sweet gesture!
Amazing! And Palm Beach is very into the story. Due to their delicious oven-baked pizzas and the allure of Johnnie, it is clear that Pizza Al Fresco has quite a few visitors flooding in. Customers are even encouraged to leave "a bowl of sliced bananas" out for Johnnie Brown.
I love it. If you'd like to go to the restaurant, it's located at 14 Via Mizner, Palm Beach, FL 33480, and offers both take-out and dine-in, so there's no reason not to go and check it all out, right? The next time I'm close to Palm Beach, I know where I'll be headed for dinner. My only question is: Who's coming with me?