When asked about Reddick, Florida, many locals will be the first to tell you that it is a wonderful place to live. Filled with numerous shops like the Antique Emporium, events and sunshine, it is a town unlike any other.
But in the back of their minds, the area’s dark past still lurks.
Remembering the Branum Family
In July of 1986, two men came into a store called Wayside Antiques, and brutally robbed and murdered Mr. and Mrs. Branum, the shop owners.
Crime scene analysis showed that one of the couple had to watch their companion be executed before being killed.
The store remains open, but is now called Antique Emporium.
Since the brutal murders, many store employees and local antique enthusiasts have experienced unusual paranormal activity in the store.
One former employee, Anna, had an experience there that she will never forget.
“I knew about the murders before accepting the job,” Anna said.
“I mean, everyone in Reddick knows what happened there, how awful it was.
“It was a bit spooky to work in a place where something like that happened, but it was a great opportunity at that time in my life.
“I had been at the shop for, maybe, two months.
“I was the newest staff member, so when they needed someone to cover the closing shift, I felt like it was my duty to take it over and learn the ropes,” she nodded.
“Usually a manager is with me, but he had to go home to take care of a sick child.
“He offered to call someone in for me, but it felt like a good time to test what I had learned about closing the shop, ya know?” Anna said.
“Anyway, it was late and I had just finished ringing up the last customer of the day.
“I closed out the register, and started sweeping up the floor.
“I remember thinking I heard someone call my name as I worked…
“I stopped and listened, but didn’t hear anything.
“But as soon as I started sweeping again, I heard it.
The Antique Emporium, Violence, and Vengeance
“I won’t lie—it frightened me,” Anna nodded.
“I tried to tell myself that if there were ghosts there, it would be Mr. and Ms. Branum and that they had been good people.
“They wouldn’t try to harm me or anything like that.
“I kept sweeping and my name was called more loudly.
“It was so loud and so clear, I started to think, well maybe another staff member had been there and I just didn’t know it.
“I set my broom down and walked into the back room.
“We keep upcoming items back there until we have processed them to sell,” she explained.
“As I looked around, I was distracted by this beautiful antique wedding dress that had just come in.
“It was very pretty, very ornate, with a lot of lace detailing.
“Suddenly, all of the lights went out.
“The only light that remained seemed to come from a lamp on the other side of the dress.
“And hands started appearing, from inside the fabric, as if they were blindly searching for me,” she said, biting her lower lip.
“As I stood in horror watching them, a voice inside my head told me that they were victims…
“…Victims of violent crimes, marking the places where innocent people had lost their lives.
“It was equal parts terrifying and heart breaking.
“I haven’t been back to Reddick in quite a while, but I will never forget the Branums or others who have lost their lives to violence.”
17990 Northwest 77th Avenue
Reddick, FL 32686