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A Guide to Finding the Spookiest Places Around Town

Jessica Piland
The Burroughs Home located in Downtown Fort Myers.

“Fear” is not necessarily a word that comes to mind when thinking of the small Florida town nestled on the Gulf Coast, our own Fort Myers. Perhaps this adjective is more fitting than we realize, given the rich history of the city. Next time you find yourself strolling along the cobblestone roads of downtown, think of the spirits who may be wandering alongside you.

The history of Fort Myers spans over centuries. The Calusa Native Americans were the first inhabitants, their arrival dating as far back as 5,000 B.C. Throughout the 18th century, household American names spent their winters here, such as Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. The 19th century brought wars, delegating the city as a post during battle. The city watched death tolls climb and hosts many of the corpses within its soil to this day.

The Burroughs Mansion

Among the paranormal community, a notorious haunted landmark in the Fort Myers area is the Burroughs Mansion, sitting along the Caloosahatchee River. The mansion was a vacation home for members of the societal elite, hence why Edison and Ford could be found here during the winter months. The home was built in 1901 and remains greatly untouched to this day, including original furnishings. Guests are invited to tour the home and experience the vast gardens, patio rocking chairs and calm swell of the river. Stories have been reported of faucets and bathtubs found running on closed days of the week, despite plumbers finding no cause for an accidental leak. Some speculate that this is the spirit of Mona Burroughs, daughter of the wealthy family, who is said to have left a piece of her soul within the house.

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The Whale on Fort Myers Beach

Maybe you have passed by The Whale on Fort Myers Beach without giving it much thought. The restaurant opened in the 1950s under the name “The Beached Whale.” A well-known couple known as the Galloways owned the place for mere years before the restaurant blew up into flames, literally. In 1955, a robber entered, shot the couple, then burned the Galloway bodies and the building down to ashes. Employees over the years have reported dishes moving on their own, as well as security footage picking up a beam of light shooting across the kitchen. It seems like the Galloways may have some tips for new management on how to run the joint.

The Veranda

Sitting on a beautiful street corner in historic downtown, surrounded by lush foliage and a shady courtyard, the Veranda is another haunted Fort Myers location. Manuel Gonzalez worked on repairing homes and manned a trading post at the turn of the 20th century. In particular, he worked on two houses, one which he lived in with his family, the other one he fixed up for his mother. Today, the house he, his wife and son live in is the notorious Veranda restaurant, while the home he fixed for his mother functions as the parking lot for the location. Though, don’t let this steer you away from visiting the historic, lush eatery! Employees have reported an entity that evokes a peaceful feeling. Footsteps upon the stairs and flying menus are the most malevolent-natured actions of the friendly spirits. If you decide to visit, make sure to make a reservation as spots fill up quickly.

Fort Myers has proven to be more rich in paranormal activity than one would expect. As the phantom season approaches, take some time to connect with our local spirits, and if you’re brave enough, go visit them! Who knows, maybe they have their eyes on you already.

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About the Contributor
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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