Ripley’s Historic Castle Warden – Home to St. Augustine’s Believe It or Not! – is Featured in Haunted Places Guide

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (June 29, 2010) – Robert Ripley always said “the truth is stranger than fiction” and it appears he’s correct once again.  The original Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum is pictured on the cover of a new book,  The Florida Road Guide to Haunted Locations, establishing the old castle once again as one of the Sunshine State’s most haunted buildings.

 Historic Castle Warden in St. Augustine pictured on cover of The Florida Road Guide to Haunted Locations

The book chronicles dozens of locations in Florida which have a history of hauntings, including many in St. Augustine, such as the Castillo De San Marcos, the Spanish Military Hospital, and the bay front Casa Blanca Bed & Breakfast.  Book co-authors Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk have compiled over 290 pages of stories, facts, history, and details of investigations done in Ripley’s and many other Florida landmarks.

Reports of ghosts at Ripley’s began almost immediately after its opening as a museum in December 1950.  The historic Castle Warden actually dates back to the 1880s and was never owned by Ripley himself, although he was a guest at the building in the 1940s when it was a hotel operated by the celebrated author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband Norton Baskin.  After Ripley’s passing in 1949, the castle was purchased by his heirs and converted into the first permanent location for Ripley’s collection of curiosities and oddities that had made him world famous. 

Not long after the museum opened, visitors and employees alike began to notice strange activity, including the appearances of the ghosts of two women who died in an April 1944 fire at the castle. Others have often experienced paranormal activity in the museum’s gift shop, lobby, and various rooms.  The famous TAPS team from TV’s GhostHunters led an investigation of the building in October 2009. 

Lewis and Fisk hope to visit the castle for a book signing later this year.  “We’re hoping to come to St. Augustine when our busy schedule permits, perhaps in November,” says Fisk, who along with Lewis has co-authored dozens of books, including road guides to haunted locations in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

The book is published by Unexplained Research Publishing Company with details at www.unexplainedresearch.com.

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