THE PANHANDLE, Fla. - You may not know it, but the Florida Panhandle is home to some of the most haunted sites in the country. Thrill seekers and ghost hunters have long traveled to the area to try to get a glimpse of some of these erry mysteries, especially during Halloween.
Many ghost stories are passed down generation through generation changing over time, but it's the real-life events that created the story in the first place.
At the end of a quiet nature trail in Jackson County, lies the Bellamy Bridge. But it's not just the beautiful outdoor setting or the century old structure that draws people, it's the chance to see a real ghost.
"The most common story about the ghost of Bellamy Bridge is that a young woman named Elizabeth Bellamy somehow caught on fire on her wedding night. Her last words to her groom were 'I'll love you forever and always and never will leave you,'" said historian Dale Cox.
People have reportedly seen the ghost of Elizabeth Bellamy on the path, by the bridge and even down by the water.
"She still hasn't left, she is still here waiting for him," said Cox.
Historian Dale Cox collects photographs from visitors. Many of them seem to show a strange light.
"I can tell you that researchers have come out here and have detected random electrical pulses in the air which is quite mysterious because we are more than a half mile from the nearest source of electricity," said Cox.
The unexplainable photographs and strange happenings leads many to wonder if it's truly haunted.
"Something definitely happens out here. There is verified proof of that, we just don't know
what it i," said Cox.
About 40 miles south, lies another well-known haunted spot. It's the old Calhoun County jail in Blountstown. The facility closed more than ten years ago but the stories from inside live on.
Nancy Stone started as a dispatcher, before becoming the jail chief.
"I first started to work there in 84, October," said Stone.
Now retired, she enjoys telling 16 years worth of stories from her rocking chair.
"There's been just years and years of trouble that's been there," said Stone.
Trouble she says, haunts the old building. Inside, there is an outline revealing where former sheriff Buddy Smith got into a deadly altercation with an inmate.
"The sheriff shot him, and the place is still in the wall. He got to the top of the steps and
he died," said Stone.
After that, stone said she started seeing mysterious movements while making her rounds.
"We had to check them every hour. And one night I went up and got to the top of the steps and the door was slamming," said Stone.
She called to another officer to investigate but they couldn't find the source behind it.
"And I said Sam, how about going upstairs and see do you hear that door slamming? And he said yes I do and I said i can't find it..." said Stone.
The jail is usually closed, but county officials open it around Halloween for tours, giving you the chance to decide for yourself, if inmates still walk these halls.
The Bellamy Bridge is open year-round during daylight hours. All you have to do is head to the Bellamy Bridge heritage trail in Jackson County.
If you want to see the old Calhoun county jail, you'll have to wait until next Halloween.
If you are interested in seeing other known haunted places around the Panhandle, the following list is some to check out.
If you would like to add to the list send an email to Kmitchell@wmbb.com.
119 Bayou Dr, Panama City, FL, 32401
- A family was allegedly murdered at the home years ago, now their spirits haunt the halls.
11127 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL, 32407
- Guests near the top floors have reported mysterious things like alarms sounding, televisions turning on and off and other strange events.
Old Calhoun County Jail
20776 Central Ave E, Blountstown, FL, 32424
- The old jail which sits next to the new one and Sheriff's Office has been abandoned for years, only open around Halloween.
51 Ave. C, Apalachicola, FL 32320
-A historic hotel haunted by a former guest who allegedly died inside.
4057 Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, Marianna, FL, 32446
- The bridge is haunted by the Ghost of Elizabeth Bellamy who reportedly died in the area on her wedding night.
Black Creek Cemetery
102 Memorial Ln, Freeport, FL, 32439
- A young boy and girl were allegedly killed by a bear while walking home through the cemetery in the early 1900's.
400 E Nelson Ave, DeFuniak Springs, FL, 32433
- A historic hotel with reports of guests never checking out... Now they haunt the halls.
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