Haunted, the First Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium, St. Augustine, FL

Castle Warden Photo by Christa Thompson

Castle Warden Photo by Christa Thompson


“And the sound of a woman sobbing started again, just like moments before, and again, I went to the 2nd floor and found no one – and we’d been closed for almost 20 minutes”
— Robert Drent, staffer at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum quoted in December 2008 via Ripleys.com

Erector Set Ferris Wheel Photo by Christa Thompson

Erector Set Ferris Wheel Photo by Christa Thompson

St. Augustine has a  lot of firsts, but what I didn’t know was that it has the first Ripley’s Believe it or Not…until my recent visit. Naturally, I was drawn to this attraction, since I am wired for the strange, weird and creepy. This, however, is not the first Ripley’s I have been to (and not the last), but this particular Ripley’s has a special story.\


Miniature carousel Photo by Christa Thompson

Miniature carousel Photo by Christa Thompson

Robert Ripley had a hankering for the weird, so it was a natural progression for one of St. Augustine’s most notorious buildings to house his collection of  “weird things”. The former Castle Warden Inn, an 1880 poured concrete castle, was originally built and owned by William G. Warden. It was later sold to “The Yearling” author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband who turned it into a swank hotel.

Wax Lizard Man Photo by Christa Thompson

Wax Lizard Man Photo by Christa Thompson

On April 23 1944, two young women died in a fire in this very hotel. Legend has it that these women were actually murdered, and the fire was set to cover the evidence. There was an unnamed man that is now called “Mr. X”, who is suspected in these murders. These two women, along with Mr. X, are said to haunt this castle today. Numerous documented accounts of the paranormal have been captured and the stories just keep coming. 

Double headed sheep Photo by Christa Thompson

Double-headed sheep Photo by Christa Thompson

What makes this Ripley’s cooler than the rest? Well, it’s said to be haunted which is always up my alley, but even better than that, this is the ONLY Ripley’s with a full on a paranormal investigation that YOU can be a part of! Take a tour on Ripley’s Ghost Train Adventure and experience the paranormal with your very own investigative equipment furnished by Ripley’s. This Ripley’s also has unique pieces in Ripley’s collection of weird including the Pirates, Predators of the Sea Exhibit.

Other haunts in St. Augustine – St. Francis Inn

For more information on St. Augustine, please click here.

About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

8 Comments on this post

  1. We keep meaning to go, either to the one in St. Aug or in Orlando. I think after this read it will definitely be in the one in St Aug.

    Christopher De Voss / Reply
  2. I am a St. Augustine native, born and raised. Ripley’s is my all time favorite tourist attraction that our town has to offer. It is in fact haunted (along with the rest of the city) & this Ripley’s is also the original. I urge you to check it out in America’s oldest city. <3 enjoy

    Brittany / Reply
  3. […] history there’s creepy. One of my favorite “Ghostly” attractions was Ripley’s Believe it or Not at the historic (and haunted) Castle Warden. Not only is Mr. Ripley’s collection of weird […]

  4. […] the Colonial Quarter, the Pirate and Treasure Museum, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum and Ghost Tour; there is fun for the whole […]

  5. I went to st Augustine .and walked through the town’s are awsome .drank at a bar actually big tree house..the light house and stayed at motel about 15 miles away was nice place and resonable.

  6. When I was upstairs in the Ripleys museum in St Augustine, everyone left me and I heard very AUDIBLE foot steps. Some things I had dreams of from a deceased relative and some of the artifacts of this museum. One thing that really got me was the prisoner with the serenity prayer, the mummy, and the very audible footsteps that I KNOW were the women, because I was in their exhibit by myself. I wonder if they were urging me along, but I was not afraid of them. I don’t know who was walking either, whether it was one of the women or Mr X. Anyway, super cool. Check it out, and I’m gonna revisit and see if I encounter something similar since I’m sensitive to the paranormal. Maybe they’ll be there before I knew it,

    Elizabeth R Coon / Reply

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