In a vaguely abandoned cemetery in the south St. Augustine sits a picturesque church, which looks just like any other found in the rural South. The little white church was built in 1877 and overlooks Wildwood Cemetery, a lonely cemetery with a somewhat abandoned, neglected atmosphere. The oldest legible grave in the cemetery reads 1880, but there are both physical and documented indications that the cemetery is much older. The church is younger than the cemetery and was originally to be built in another location; however, the building materials were delivered to the wrong place. Instead of transferring the materials to the originally planned location, the church was built on the spot, perhaps disturbing the resting dead in their peaceful location.
Of course, such a place is not without permanent residents. One day a researcher was cataloging the graves, recording names and dates. She went home exhausted after a long day and fell asleep immediately. She was awoken by a strong male voice, hissing loudly in her ear. “You forgot the one in the middle!” the ethereal voice commanded. Shaken, she chalked it up to a strange dream. However, it kept happening, getting more urgent each night. She consulted a local medium about the dreams, who advised her to keep looking around the cemetery. The researcher returned to the cemetery a few days later to search, returning to the area she thought she had completed, and started walking carefully around the graves. After a while she was ready to give up. But moments later, her foot struck a small gravestone laying flat on the ground, flush with the earth- one she had missed! The tombstone belonged to a man named Henry O’Barnum and he clearly did not want to be forgotten!
When the church was in operation, a man in all black wearing a top hat and suit was known to occupy church seats and disappear when the parishioner would return to the seat. A young girl got up to sing with the pastor one Sunday, and she noticed this figure sitting in the pastor’s chair only to disappear moments later.
The pastor of the church wasn’t a typical pastor, as he also explored metaphysics and the occult. About a week after his passing, a mother and her young daughter were attending the church for a service. The young girl pointed at a spot to the left of the open door as parishioners were filing in. “Look, Pastor Lamb is letting people in!” she cried out. Of course there was no one there. It seems that the pastor still wanted to serve his flock, even in the afterlife.
Spirits here don’t seem to mind being seen in broad daylight. One such story involves a young couple pre-occupied in the throes of romance. They were brought to their senses by the vision of a glowing young boy raking leaves, who then faded away from view. This is not the only instance of the boy raking leaves being seen, indicating a residual haunting.
Angelic figures have also been seen on the property in daylight. Once a trusted GhoSt Augustine employee was exploring the cemetery, when a white and gold glowing figure appeared before him and stood on a grave, the brilliant light radiation from the figure drowning out the daylight. The employee ran to get his wife (who was in the car) but when they returned the figure was gone.
The door to the church has been known to swing open and shut on its own, as if parishioners still attend services. A GhoSt Augustine paranormal investigator was telling his son about this phenomenon, and his son did not believe him. So he took his son to the church one evening, to see for himself. The air was cool and still, with no breeze. The church was quiet and peaceful- and the son commented on how he still didn’t believe his dad. Just then, the door to the church swung open and shut several times, very quickly and with incredible force. The son bolted to the car, and never again questioned the spirits of the little church.
Around Every Corner
Wildwood Cemetery is just one example of how every corner of the Ancient City has the strong potential to be haunted. Want to visit one of our cemeteries? Why not take an Everdark Express tour, where you can explore a desolate cemetery yourself? Or why not take a stroll with us on the Deadwalk, where we visit some of the most haunted corners of some of the oldest parts of St. Augustine? Come join us!