Being the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States, St Augustine holds numerous Bed & Breakfasts known to be haunted by spirits of the past, but none is as tragic as the ill-fated story of the lady that appears at the Bayfront Westcott House.
St Augustine’s Dreadful History
First established in 1565 by Spanish admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the city of St Augustine is currently the oldest permanent settlement in the country and has, since then, undergone a number of events that has ended the life of many of its citizens.
In the year 1668, it was raided by the English buccaneer Robert Searle, who killed dozens of people and sold others into slavery. The city was also a battleground in 1836 during the Seminole Wars. But it was the yellow fever epidemic in the nineteenth century that took the highest number of lives.
Historians claim that the epidemic started when local ships that were coming back from Havana brought infected mosquitoes to the port. It is said that most men on the ships had already died even before they disembarked. The fever claimed lives for almost a century when the vaccine was created.
With its death-filled past, it is not a surprise that many of St Augustine’s locals and visitors state having seen numerous apparitions in different places of the city, but the story behind the ghost that occasionally shows up in the Bayfront Westcott House is the most tragic of them all.
Apparently, there is more to this historic Bed & Breakfast than its Spanish architecture and delicious meals: some guests report having seen the spirit of a blonde woman dressed in black roaming the second floor of the house, sometimes standing on the veranda looking out at the sea.
The Mourning Lady Of The Bayfront Westcott House
A recurrent guest of the Bayfront Westcott House tells that the first time he stayed at this St Augustinian B&B with his wife, he saw the lady walking down the aisle and towards the balcony of the second floor, where he was staying at.
“It must have been before midnight. I was returning from the bar to the room where my wife was already sleeping”, he remembers, “When I got to the top of the stairs on the second floor, I saw this beautiful but very sad woman wearing a black dress. She was crying in silence; she walked past me and headed to the terrace where the lights started flickering behind her”.
The man recalls knowing instantly that he wasn’t looking at a living person so he went straight back to the room where he woke his wife who, surprisingly, had an eerie story to tell.
“She told me she was having a nightmare right before I woke her up. Or a vision of some sort. My wife has always been very susceptible to the paranormal. In this dream of hers, there was a blond woman standing at the port crying inconsolably after finding out her fiancé had died on the ship from a fever, before getting back home to her”.
Seemingly, this woman lost her lover to the yellow fever epidemic, and her spirit remains in St Augustine, still overwhelmed by her loss.
This particular guest was not scared away by the apparition and has returned to Bayfront Westcott House where he hasn’t seen anything strange after that.
“We love this B&B, besides, she didn’t seem like a violent ghost to me. Scary, definitely, but she looked lost and sad, more than anything else”, he concluded.
To this day, the lady in black wanders the Bayfront Westcott House, showing up to some of the guests who occasionally see her walking the corridor of the second floor towards the terrace facing the sea, where she still mourns her dead lover two centuries later.