Mount Dora Ghost Tours
Text//Photos by Kelsey Walters
With Florida’s lengthy history, it’s common to hear tales of haunted grounds and ghost sightings throughout the state. Nearby St. Augustine’s ancient city is well-known for its ghostly guests and sinister past, but there is a new ghost tour through the haunted hilltop city of Mount Dora that’s already getting a lot of buzz, from both the living and the dead.
Mount Dora is known for its quaint and picturesque downtown district with plenty of shops and restaurants within strolling distance. Who knew while you’re out window shopping there are spirits close at hand?
Haunted Happenings in Mount Dora
Mount Dora Ghost Tours offers 90-minute walking tours throughout the downtown area, hitting all the most haunted spots along the way. My husband, Scott, and I snagged a spot on one of the otherworldly tours by the light of the full moon. Our tour guides were an odd couple of sorts, a “priest” and a seemingly many times over “undead” ghost host named Bob Macabre. The priest urged us to turn back before it was too late and was there to protect the group from any evil spirits we may encounter along the way. I would liken Bob Macabre to a ghastly version of Jack Black, if he had died and returned five or six times already and found the whole thing terribly amusing.
While this tour and its haunted stops are plenty spooky with a few good scares along the way, the antics of the guides will have you cracking up with laughter more than you’ll be shaking in your boots. Kids (who are old enough not to get too spooked) and adults alike will have a hilarious time.
Spirits of All Kinds on this Mount Dora Walking Ghost Tour
Mount Dora has open container laws, which means you are free to come equipped with a drink in hand from one of the many nearby bars or grab one along the way – which only makes the night that much more fun as it goes on.
Smaller groups within the tour are each equipped with a ghost meter, and tasked with informing the group of any supernatural activity. Scott took his job very seriously and proceeded to check every nook and cranny along the way and shouting, “GHOST!” every time the meter spiked – which was a startle on its own.
Our stops included mysterious spots with (mostly) true hair-raising tales from the cursed past of the town. A visit to the old train depot, which now serves as the chamber of commerce, reveals a tale of lovers torn apart (quite literally) by a terrible accident long ago. But wait…was that a ghostly figure on the tracks?
The priest doled out the fascinating, albeit troubled, history of our eerie stops, while Bob served up the more macabre side of things with a comical twist. Our job as tourists was to ward off any human-like “entities” that came across our tour group by creepily wiggling our fingers and shouting a ghostly, “Woooooo!” at them (which again, became more and more fun as the night and spirits of all sorts progressed).
Mount Dora’s New Haunted Pub Crawl
If you’re looking for an even more raucously good time, Mount Dora Ghost Tours now offers a haunted pub crawl, with drink stops and specials at the city’s premier haunted watering holes, including an underground pub, a British gastro pub in a derailed train car and a tavern at the local 136-year-old hotel. The Victorian era hotel and tavern are also a stop on the ghost tour and reveals the sad tale of a little girl who still lingers in the dining room. Photographic evidence of her spirit was shared (pictured below) while we stood in the same spot and checked with the ghost meter, which mysteriously spiked at a child-like height above the floor.
There were a few more spine-chilling ghost sightings of the pale figure from the train tracks – enough to keep us on our toes, to say the least. Brave souls can also visit the infamous site of the final resting place of the local legend Warburton family after the tour, who all drowned in the local pond, in the nearby cemetery. The graveyard is open 24 hours if you are willing to hunt for the tombstone by the light of the moon and is also home to many of Mount Dora’s earliest influencers’ gravesites.
Mount Dora Ghost Tours dishes out the perfect blend of interesting history and spooky macabre with a dash of silly for the perfect night to get you in the mood for Halloween…or feeling ghoulish anytime of the year!
Mount Dora Ghost Tours
Tours begin at Sunset Park, 230 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora 32757
Ghost Tours: $30/person; Haunted Pub Crawl: $40/person
*Tours are held year-round