The St. Augustine Jail was built in 1891 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Old Jail was constructed by The P.J. Pauley Jail Company, the same people responsible for building Alcatraz in San Francisco.
One of the objectives when constructing the jail was not to upset the city’s historical setting. The builders met this objective by building the jail to resemble an old Victorian House. If it was not for the bars on the windows, visitors to the ancient city might not have even realized that the building was a jail.
The jail could hold up to 72 prisoners at a given time, and it served the community up until 1953. Many of the jail inmates were some of the time’s most violent criminals, and capital punishment was indeed carried out on a set of gallows on the property.
A year after the jailed closed, it was transformed into a local attraction giving visitors a glimpse into what it was like living behind bars.
There is no doubt that a building with such a violent past would have many unsettled spirits, and indeed there have been countless chilling experiences reported.
Shadowy figures, tugs on the ankles, cold spots, banging on walls, orbs of light, the sound of barking dogs, and even sightings of vanishing ghosts are just some of the experiences that visitors to the jail have reported.
On the jail tour, visitors are challenged to sit alone in the corner of a solitary confinement cell where scores of people have claimed to have seen a shadowy figure lurk towards them.
Would you dare to enter?