Despite learning and writing about all things haunted in Florida after my weird dedication to study as much as I could, there’s something special about the spooky season. Yes, it is only September 22, but to me, when the Halloween events begin, that’s when Halloween officially starts. it is not a one night engagement or even a one month engagement. There’s the pre-game “Spooky September” and then actual Halloween in October.
I mean, duh.
And of course, it has me in the spookiest of moods, and thinking about all the historical places in Florida, even when I’m not here in front of my computer actively writing.
I went to Halloween Horror Nights with my friend the other night, and as we walked through the (coolest) maze, “Deadman’s Pier: Winter’s Wake”, for whatever reason, I was reminded of a haunted location in Ft. Lauderdale, one I’d only heard of in passing.
“What is it called? I know it has “River” in the name and it’s a hotel,” I’d asked my native Floridian friend after we left the maze.
“There are a lot of haunted places in Ft. Lauderdale, but maybe you mean the New River Inn? I heard that place is very ‘spoopy’.”
And ‘spoopy’ it seems. Granted, I only went to Ft. Lauderdale like once, when my mom lived there and I haven’t been back, but I recognize the photo of the beautiful Inn. My mom had a collection of flyers for things to do in Ft. Lauderdale and she’d saved that one specifically for me because she “knows I like haunted history.” (So sweet).
I wish I’d have saved the pamphlet, but the image is in my brain. Don’t ask me why the maze, which is on a crusty ship or in a seaside shack and you’re being chased by a creepy fisherman, but I am glad it did.
Because honestly, the story of this historically haunted Inn is far scarier than any maze.
Found in Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful historic district and built by Edwin T. King in 1905 to replace the Bryan Hotel, the beautiful New River Inn, now home to the Old Fort Lauderdale History Museum, is one of the very first Inns in Fort Lauderdale.
And here’s another a fun fact: They made the walls of the Inn out of beach sand to withstand hurricanes. That is beyond cool.
But, as usual, I want to know about the ghosts.
Despite not being an active hotel for many, many years, visitors who come to learn the history of Fort Lauderdale still report “unusual” experiences, and there are a few of them.
One report speaks of the ghost of an old man in “an old-fashioned rancher’s outfit,” who “paces the first floor and the front porch but vanishes when approached.”
But that isn’t even the creepiest story.
The report of seeing the old owner of the Inn, P.N. Bryan “glaring down at people from the second floor of the building” is the one that caused my stomach to squirm.
Bonus points go to the spirit of a “young girl in turn-of-the-century attire” who is known to play in the building and even TALK to people before going poof.
If you're interested in visiting, the museum welcomes all visitors, and Fort Lauderdale is really worth it on it's own. But I know this will be one of the places I will add to my list, which is what I should've done long ago.
My only question is: Who's coming with me?