I have learned about so many haunted stories around Florida and absorbed so much information you might think I would be completely desensitized by now. Yet, the moment I saw the listing for this haunt, it made me L.O.L., so I really wanted to talk about it.
Jacksonville, if you’ve never been, is a larger-than-life city—literally! Jacksonville is officially the “largest city by landmass in Continental or continuous USA due to 840 square miles that run along the historic St. John’s River. Wow! To double down on the “big and bold” aspect, Jacksonville is also four times the size of Manhattan. Jaw dropped. Jacksonville is home to historic preserves, parks, gardens, and, of course, miles and miles of beautiful beaches.
Paradise, right? Absolutely. We cannot forget about how haunted Jacksonville is, though. With Jacksonville’s history going back to the Timucuan Indians in 500 BC, Jacksonville is old, old South, and so are the ghosts that come with it. According to Jacksonville.com, there are at least 18 known (and so, so many not, I’m sure), much like this one.
It was well-known enough to find its way to Shadowlands.net, though, my favorite haunted source that has so many haunts you might not think about, like a haunted sporting goods store. Sadly, this store, the Sports Authority in Orange Park, according to Google, has the official red “permanently closed” notification. Still, I found this haunting hilarious (though I’m sure I would not if I worked at the store at the time), and wanted to discuss it because, funny or not, it is absolutely fascinating.
This particular Sports Authority, which was in the iconic Orange Park shopping Pavilion which housed the Orange Park Mall, a Jacksonville staple since 1975, with over 120 shops. Nice. One of those shops was the Sports Authority. Cool. Normal. Right? Not quite.
Apparently, actual former employees of the Sports Authority reported some pretty wild stories. The phone in the Footwear Department, which was only for the store, would ring. Something would trip the motion sensor so often they’d have to call the police. The employees would clean only to come back the next morning to sports bags all over the place. Ghostquest.net reports the same story, in slightly different words.
Terrifying. I only laughed because, when I read it, all I could think is that, “geez, Jacksonville is so haunted even the Sports Authority had a ghost”.
Sadly, we’ll never know or be able to check for ourselves unless you’ve been there before the closing. Now, it seems, Dick’s Sporting Goods has taken the place as the mall’s token sports store, and there’s no saying whether it or any other stores in the mall are haunted (or at least no stories that I can find yet).
So, unless you’re really in the mood for a trip to the mall and a pretzel, and maybe the chance of finding a little more about this haunting, maybe don’t head on over. Don’t threaten me with a good time, though.
My only question is: who’s coming with me?
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