Many Florida natives grew up hearing tales of the haunted Seahorse Key.
Part of the larger Florida Keys off the Gulf of Mexico, the Seahorse is named for its curved formation that most resembles a seahorse.
According to local legend, the infamous pirate Jean LaFitte had believed Seahorse Key to be the perfect location to hide his treasure.
Updated 2/10/2020 – He left his right hand man, Pierre LeBlanc, to guard it.
But Pierre was a bit too trusting.
Seahorse Key: A Pirate’s Tale
A friendly man came along and LeBlanc was far too eager to show the stranger what he guarded.
And for that he paid with his head.
While many children speak of this tale in awe, adults believe it is nothing but a myth.
Save one adult, perhaps.
“I’m a spear fisherman, so I’m out on the Keys a lot,” said Cliff with a beaming smile.
“I spend my days traveling from island to island, so I’ve become familiar with all of them fairly well.
“I had been coming to the Seahorse Key, oh…about two years or so at that point?
“There are a ton of shipwrecks off the island, and they always attract a lot of sea life.
“They say there was always something a little off about that lighthouse, so maybe that’s why ships couldn’t seem to avoid getting into wrecks.
“Anyway, it was a Tuesday afternoon and the sun was high overhead.
“I drove my boat, The Sunnyside, to Seahorse and swam around for a while.
“I drifted quite a ways from the boat so when I decided I need a break, I just swam to the shoreline.
“I laid out on the beach and caught some rays while I rested,” he gestured.
“I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew I was waking up.
“Something was moving in the sand right beside my head.
“I watched nonchalantly, thinking a crab would emerge.
“But then I began to see fingernails,” Cliff said with a shudder.
A Fight to the Bloody Finish
“I should have moved but I was frozen where I lay.
“The fingernails themselves were freaky—long and pointy and black from decay.
“The fingers eventually wiggled themselves free from the sand, and I could see it was a man’s hand.
“I watched in horror as forearms emerged, then biceps, then shoulders.
“I remember starting to hyperventilate,” Cliff grimaced.
“But I still couldn’t manage to move.
“I watched as more and more ghost white skin emerged from the sand.
“And suddenly I started to see…”
Cliff gagged but continued.
“I started to see severed arteries and tissue appear, smack in the middle of the two shoulders.
“I realized in horror that I was looking where a head should be.”
“The man’s hands reached out and made contact with my elbow.
“The dead man flinched at first, then seemed to register what he was touching.
“Then he began reaching for me with a frantic energy.
“I tumbled out of the way, but the headless man was quickly emerging.
“By the time I found the nearby rock, the man was free up to his lower torso.
“I gritted my teeth, held the rock high and began bringing it down on the exposed tissue,” Cliff said, still looking disgusted by the memory.
“I whacked him over and over again until his body stopped moving.
“When I got back to my boat, I contacted the police.
“But by the time they got there, the body was nowhere to be found.
“Not like they believed me anyway,” Cliff gave a sad chuckle.
“I still hunt for fish off of Seahorse Key, but I never set a foot on that beach.”
Seahorse Key, FL