Exploring Northwest Florida
Exploring Northwest Florida
Like the rest of the “Old South” Northwest Florida ghost stories and legends often taken on a romantic and tragic theme. Such is the case in the story of Elizabeth Bellamy, but sometimes ghosts like Moses Boyington just want to have fun.
The region is filled with tales of haunted houses, old forts and other haunted sites and some, like the town of Monticello in Jefferson County, are reported to be some of the most haunted places in the country.
The following stories have been handed down from generation to generation and become part of the fabric of the region’s small towns. I’m sure there are many more such tales to be told, so if you know of any Northwest Florida ghost stories, we’d love to hear them.
Meanwhile, have a frighteningly good time reading these tales.
Where Holmes Creek meets the Choctawhatchee River you'll find Boynton Island and the spirit of a long-dead timberman. Moses Boyington was a logger by trade, but at night he'd pull out his fiddle and play such rousing tunes that even the owls and bats had to stop their nightly activities long enough to listen. Moses was considered the best fiddler and dance-caller in Washington County and whenever there was a party, everyone would come to hear him play.
After years of working all day and playing all night, Moses finally went on to his reward. Not long after he died, local folks began seeing lights and hearing the strains of a fiddle near his old log cabin. If you go there just as night is setting in, you might just hear the sounds of a fiddle being played with unearthly gusto. Known as a man who liked to have a good time, could it be that Moses simply could not give up his fiddling ways?
It was a lovely spring day when, on May 11, 1837, Elizabeth and Samuel Bellamy were married. The happy couple celebrated their wedding surrounded by friends and relatives in their new home on the banks of the Chipola River. All the men wanted to dance with the beautiful young bride and all the ladies wanted to wish her well and give her advice for starting her new life.
At some point in the evening, the bride’s beautiful, diaphanous gown somehow brushed a candle and within minutes the young woman was engulfed in flames. She ran from the house with her distraught husband behind her, but it was too late. The poor girl lingered several days before dying and was buried on the banks of the river near the Bellamy Bridge.
Mad with grief, Samuel took to drink and eventually committed suicide. It is said that on foggy nights, an apparition can be seen near the grave and many believe it is Elizabeth searching for her lost Samuel.
Cebe Tate was tired of that panther coming onto his land and killing his livestock. Chickens, pigs, even the cows weren't safe, so in 1875, he set off into the vast forest of Franklin County intent on killing the beast.
But the forest was thick and full of murky swamps and dead ends and he soon became lost. For seven days he wandered with no food and drinking only swamp water.
Snake bitten and starved, Tate finally emerged from the dense undergrowth, nothing but skin and bones and his hair stark white. Witnesses said his only words were, "My name is Tate and I've been through hell," then he fell over dead. Ever since the area has been known as Tate's Hell.
Two Toed Tom was a monstrous alligator that terrorized the region from Florala to Holmes County in the 1920s. Said to be between 18 and 24 feet long, the gator’s red eyes shone through the forests at night as it stalked farm animals and humans, leaving a footprint that showed only two toes on its left foot. The creature was never tracked down and some believe it still lives on in the Choctawhatchee Bay.
In the woods and wilderness areas of Northwest Florida there is an old Euchee Indian legend of a strange creature that inhabits the swamps and eats flesh. Some have called it Bigfoot, but along the Choctawhatchee River it's called the Swamp Booger and it is periodically seen by hunters and farmers.
For some more Northwest Florida ghost stories as well as spooky hauntings throughout the region, click here to go to our Northwest Florida Haunted Attractions and Halloween Events Calendar.
A haunted place, a ghostly tale, a Halloween event? Tell us your story.
We're interested in all supernatural happenings in the region, from ghost tours to haunted houses.
Are you a real ghost hunter? Have seen a ghost or felt a presence?
Do you know a ghost story that takes place in Northwest Florida?
Please tell us if this is a true (to your knowledge) story, a legend or tale, or if it is an event or haunted attraction that you know about.
Click below to see stories of haunted Northwest Florida from other Explorers...