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Castillo de San Marcos

Castillo de San Marcos paranormal

Location submitted by: sdonley on 01/17/2011
DBA Approved: Y

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PANICd#: 1047

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Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the United States, was constructed between 1672 and 1695 by the Spanish living on Matanzas Inlet for the protection of the northern most outpost of the empire, Saint Augustine.

1 South Castillo Drive
St. Augustine , FL 32084
Phone: (904) 829-6506
Open to the public: Unknown

Lat: 29.897989
Lon: -81.312123

Database Summary:

Demographic Rank: 6
History: 2
Stories: 2
Claims: 11
Evidence: 1
Resources: 3
Retrievals: 11194
Vistor Rating: 5.0
Votes: 2

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History information is some background and history about the location. This is meant to be a basic summary. Below the history records you will find sources in which you can click on to find out more information. There may be multiple history records per location.

Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest fort in the United States, was constructed between 1672 and 1695 by the Spanish living on Matanzas Inlet for the protection of the northern most outpost of the empire, Saint Augustine. Surrounded by a moat and constructed of a shell stone called coquina, the walls stand some 30 feet (9m) high and 12 feet (3m) thick. The massive Castillo serves as a clear reminder of the strength of the early Spanish colonial empire in the New World.

Previous wooden built versions of the fortress had not proved useful but the coquina constructed walls were tested and withstood attacks by a British force lead by James Moore only seven years after the fort's completion. Later in 1740, British General Oglethorpe fired cannon balls on the Castillo from Matanzas bay for 27 days without being able to penetrate the immense walls built out of the newly discovered coquina.

The Castillo played an important role in the Spanish-English struggle for the Southeast between 1650 and 1750. Beginning in 1763, the Castillo de San Marcos came under British control and remained so for twenty years until Great Britain ceded Florida to Spain at the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783.

The Castillo later served as a military prison after the U.S. acquired Florida in the Adams-On's Treaty of 1819. The name was changed by the Americans to Fort Marion. The Confederacy took control of the fort at the beginning of the Civil War without a fight. Union troops, in March of 1862, retook the fort after Confederate troops had withdrawn and the city of Saint Augustine and the fort were retaken, for the second time, without firing a shot. The fort was retired from active duty in 1899.

The twenty five acre site, located in historic downtown St. Augustine, was established as a National Monument in 1924. In 1942, in honor of its two and a half centuries of Spanish heritage, the name of the fort was changed back to the Castillo de San Marcos. The American Society of Civil Engineers designated the Castillo a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1975. This popular tourist attraction is co-managed by National Park Service along with the Fort Matanzas National Monument.

The Castillo de San Marcos is open every day except December 25 from 8:45 am to 5:15 pm. For admission and additional information visit the National Park Service websites for the Castillo de San Marcos.

Added by: sdonley on 01/17/2011 DB#:50

Here is video from YouTube that shows the location and the cannon fire demonstration.

Added by: sdonley on 01/17/2011 DB#:51


Stories are just that. Stories and personal accounts that have been reported about the location.

It wasn't until 1833, fifty years later when Castillo de San Marcos was under American control, that the truth was inadvertently uncovered by a curious American officer, Lieutenant Tuttle. He was studying the architecture of this place, and was puzzled when he found a hollow sound in one of the walls of the dungeon area. When he removed the first brick, a rush of air, smelling like a strong perfume flowed swiftly into the room. After taking down the wall, he found the hidden room, and two skeleton remains of two former prisoners, chained to the wall. It is thought that Captain Marti had Dolores and Captain Abela chained and entombed here to end their lives. Probably at least some of the guards on duty were in cahoots with the Colonel, and this dastardly deed of revenge went undiscovered. Leave it to an American soldier to find out the truth!

Added by: sdonley on 08/09/2017 DB#:1281

There are several real ghosts that seem to haunt the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida. Locals refer to this immense structure as the "Old Fort". The actual construction of this beautiful fort started on October 2nd in the year of 1672. More than three hundred years later, it still stands and displays the history of the "Nation's Oldest City". Today, many ghost stories and legends surround this fort, and many different types of unexplained phenomenon have occurred here. In this article, you will be introduced to some of the real ghosts of the structure, as well as some of the strange events that have occurred here.

Two spirits by the name of Mari Marti and Manual Abela are said to haunt the dungeon in which they were chained to the wall by Mari's husband, Colonel Marti, and where they eventually died. Mari and Manual became lovers while Mari was still married to the Colonel. Once her husband caught her and Manual together, he had them ordered to the dungeon and chained to the wall. For a long time, screams could be heard coming from the couple as they called for help. Eventually, the screams stopped. Today, many have claimed that they can still hear the screams coming from the dungeon. Individuals that go inside can smell perfume that is sweet in nature. It is believed that the couple still lingers here after death.

The North Tower at the old fort is said to be haunted by real ghosts. This tower was often lit by candle and lamps - especially on dark, rough nights near the sea. Today, there is no light in the North Tower. However, many locals and tourists alike have said that when there is a storm developing, or occurring, and the seas are rough, there is a light that comes on in this part of this haunted fort. The light has been investigated a number of times, but there is never anyone located insider of the tower - or anywhere near it.

Several tourists visit the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida annually. There is a natural attraction to the location because of the fact that over three hundred years of history stand there. However, some people are attracted to it because of the fact that spirits are said to roam there. A number of employees and guests take pictures around the fort to discover orbs, rods, and strange mists in them. Ghost videos have been made that show what appear to be tiny lights moving around the structure and even blurs passing in front of the video camera. If you are a ghost hunter, or simply have an interest in the paranormal, you should plan a trip to visit the real ghosts of Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.

Added by: sdonley on 01/17/2011 DB#:1014

Paranormal Claims

Here are the paranormal claims for this location. These have been found through Internet research, reports from members, or reports from personal interviews. To add a claim, please contact, and we will review and add your information.

Claim # Added Added By Claim
1125 01/17/2011 sdonley In the watch tower closest to the road, it is said that a light ignites on stormy nights. Residents and locals that are familiar with the fort often overlook this unexplained phenomenon, but for the avid ghost hunter, seeing this makes for a remarkable experience.
1126 01/17/2011 sdonley It is not unusual for people to report seeing a solider who is lavishly dressed in clothing that represents the era of the Spanish control looking out at sea. This apparition is normally seen when the sun is just starting to rise, or when the sun is setting.
1127 01/17/2011 sdonley Another ghostly story claims that an officer at the Fort caught his wife cheating on him. He put both the wife and her lover in the dungeon, shackled and chained. Then he bricked up the dungeon so the two could never escape. Although nothing was recorded historically of this, in the 1830s, an engineer had the wall removed and found two skeletons shackled in the room.
1128 01/17/2011 sdonley Many tourists have experienced strange sensations in the dungeon, including goose bumps, breezes, the feeling of being touched, and many individuals have even experienced physical sickness for no apparent reason.
2508 08/09/2017 sdonley Sounds of soldier's boots have been heard in the soldier's quarters by staff members.
2509 08/09/2017 sdonley A staff member saw the indentation of a full form apparition of a soldier lying in one of the beds in the soldier's quarters.
2510 08/09/2017 sdonley People are sometimes shoved in the cannon room.
2511 08/09/2017 sdonley An apparition of a soldier is sometimes seen walking along a wall of the castle, with a lantern.
2512 08/09/2017 sdonley Footsteps of soldiers are sometimes heard running around the courtyard.
2513 08/09/2017 sdonley An apparition of an executed English pirate has been seen at the wall where he died via a firing squad.
2514 08/09/2017 sdonley A head of an Indian is seen floating around the walls of the courtyard, looking displeased.

Paranormal Evidence

Paranormal evidence is based on claims that have been reported for this location. There can be several types of evidence; however, we have grouped them based on media type for better organization. Here you will find evidence that are logs, audio, video, or photographic.

To add evidence for a claim, you must submit it to for approval to be entered into the database.

CLAIM #: 1125 - In the watch tower closest to the road, it is said that a light ignites on stormy nights. Residents and locals that are familiar with the fort often overlook this unexplained phenomenon, but for the avid ghost hunter, seeing this makes for a remarkable experience.

Evidence Type: Video
Encounter Type: Apparition
Hauting Type: Residual
Investigation Status: More Investigation Needed
Ghost Adventure Video
Submitted By: sdonley On: 01/17/2011
DBA Approved: Y

Additional Resources

This is a collection of Internet resources for this location. This section will house links to other websites that contain information related to history, claims, investigations, or even the location's website.

Suite 101 Article
Added: 01/17/2011 By: sdonley
Article by Joy Richardson on
Map of Location
Added: 01/17/2011 By: sdonley
Map of the location on the National Park Service website.
Haunted Houses
Added: 08/09/2017 By: sdonley
Haunted Listing

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