Dec 132016

I am sure lots of people find Key West strange during the day, but after the sun goes down it’s a whole different story. Key West is actually referred to by many as Key Weird. If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that ghost stories are right up my alley, so Christian and I weren’t leaving Key West without going on a ghost tour.  The two of us took the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour when we were in Savannah last year and loved it, so when I saw that there was one in Key West, too, it was a no brainer that we needed to take the tour.

On the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour, or as they call it – the trolley of the doomed, we heard several stories that were more than just weird. Our Ghost Host, Benjamin, was awesome. He told us lots of stories about Key West’s dark side.  He told tales of deathly love, tragic endings, scores to settle, wrongs to right and ghastly folks.  Some of the stories were so strange it was almost hard to believe they are true.

One of the cool things about the Ghosts and Gravestones tour is that they have EXCLUSIVE nighttime entry into one of the island’s haunted Civil War forts – the East Martello Fort. The East Martello Fort was once quarantine barracks for suffering soldiers left to die from yellow fever and now home to Robert – a super creepy doll that can play tricks on you if you don’t play nicely.

Robert was a gift Gene Otto from his nannie/caretaker who cast a Santeria spell on the doll before she was fired by Gene’s mother. Apparently strange things would happen when Robert was around – Odd voices, items missing and Gene would always say that “Robert did it”.  Gene has since grown up and passed away, but Robert has been re-homed to the fort. The tour group was told about many of the experiences and encounters that people have had with Robert and we were warned that Robert doesn’t like it when people don’t introduce themselves to him and ask his permission to take his picture. Apparently bad luck, really bad luck, strikes people who don’t.  There is a screen on the wall behind Robert that displays hundreds – actually it’s probably thousands – of apology letters from people who didn’t ask Robert permission to take his picture. No joke – things from lost luggage to divorce have all happened to people after taking the photo without permission and all of the letters beg Robert to forgive them and lift his “curse”.

You bet I introduced myself, asked permission to take the picture and thanked him when I was done.

We were also told a story about Dr. Von Kossel.  He fell in love with a women named Elena who passed away from TB shortly after they met.  For him, it was love at first sight and he paid for all of her funeral expenses.  Karl Von Kossel visited Elena’s corpse every night until one night she apparently spoke to him and he ended up taking her (corpse) home with him. He then lived with her (corpse) as husband and wife for seven years. He’s mask the smell with perfumes and he used silk to replace her skin.  Elena’s sister finally discovered what happened and Elena’s remains were split into three parts and hidden in secret locations so that Karl couldn’t try to reassemble her. Crazy, huh?

This is what Elena looked like when her body was discovered 7 years after her death.

On the Ghosts & Gravestones tour, we also passed by some of the most tragic and most sacred sites of the island such as the Grotto of our Lady of Lourdes, which protects the city from hurricanes, the African Slave Cemetery – site of the final resting place for 15 slaves who perished from their treacherous voyage – and even Captain Tony’s Saloon – it’ not just an ordinary bar.

If you are in Key West and want to take the tour (and I highly recommend it), the tour leaves from 501 Front St.( which is Conch Train depot) on the corner of Front & Duval Streets.  The 90 minute tour runs nightly and since the tour is so popular, reservations are required because space is limited.

Disclosure:  I received complimentary tickets for this tour, but all opinions expressed here are strictly my own and were not influenced in any way.

  78 Responses to “Learn About the Haunts of Key West on the Ghosts and Gravestones Tour”

  1. We took a tour like this in Boston and it was so much fun. Being that I have visited Key West before I know there are some definite haunts and I am sure this would be on my next to do list!

  2. Haven’t been to the key west yet, would love to go someday. Doing the ghosts and haunted tour sounds like a lot of fun and great experience.

  3. That Robert doll is so creepy and I would definitely ask his permission before snapping a pic! I have chills up my spine just looking at him.

  4. We recently did a cemetery tour in our hometown which was such fun so I know you guys had a great time. These types of tours are such fun.

  5. What a fun ghost tour!! What a fun date night, I love things supernatural so this would be perfect in my opinion for a night out.

  6. Oh my gosh the story about Elena is just creepy. I could never do one of these tors because it scares me half to death! But I have friends that I absolutely live for the thrill of this kind of trip. The next time I get down there with my friend I know for a fact she will want to do this.

  7. That sounds like so much fun! I love haunted tours. They’re so interesting, and I always keep my fingers crossed that I might see a ghost. I never have yet…

  8. I love haunted tours so much. This looks like something I would really enjoy going to if I were ever in Key West.

  9. Holy cow i had no idea that Key West had such crazy things going on at night. i love a good ghost story, and this story about the corpse is pretty crazy! I would love to visit some day!

  10. I love all things ghosts and spooky. I would love to take a ghosts and gravestone tour. This looks like a lot of fun.

  11. My friend has a Halloween birthday so she loves all things “scary”. This would be a great place to take her.

  12. Totally creepy looking but I have lots of friends who would adore this! They would have so much fun!

  13. We’ve been to Key West a couple of times but I did not know that there was a ghost tour. This sounds like a lot of fun!

  14. Am not a fan of scary stuff. You’re brave to do this.

  15. Ok – I am SO all about ghosts and tours like this! I would LOVE to be a part…too bad I’m in Cleveland now!

  16. I love haunted tours like this. They are so much fun. I mean just imagining that you might see something supernatural is so fun!

  17. This Ghost and Gravestone tour at Key West sounds like a lot of fun. We have always had an interest in ghost and the unknown in my family so this would be something we would love to check out for sure. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  18. How fun! Haunted tours like this are so much fun. They give you such a sense of adventure.

  19. Sounds like such a fun and spooky tour! I would love to go on this tour! Looks like such a blast.

  20. We’ve been to Key West, but we haven’t done this tour yet. I think it’s something both my husband and I would love.

  21. Wow! That looks like so much fun! I would love to go on this tour! Spooky fun!

  22. The tour sounds as a special adventure! There’s no doubt these stories are goosebump stories that give additional fun to the tour itself.

  23. Never been to Key West, but this looks like one amazing fun tour. I love spooky stuff!

  24. This looks like a neat tour. I love to do ghost tours when I travel. I will keep this one in mind when we go to the Keys.

  25. Fun. We have ghost tours here in Charleston and I have been on a few. It is so important how good your guide is. If they are really into it then it is super fun.

  26. We took a tour like this in Atlanta last year and it was so much fun. The sites sound as interesting as the stories.

  27. Oh that looks sooooo creepy and fun! Would totally be a good date night out!

  28. That 90 minutes sounds exciting. I want to visit that place during Halloween time!

  29. This looks like so much fun. I’d need my husband to go with me though! Someday I’ll make it to Key West!

  30. Interesting Tour! I’m not sure I’d be able to go though. I’m a scaredy cat!

  31. How awesome! We are going to Key West in April and I’d love to take a tour like this! Sounds so fun!

  32. Wow what a great time you had! Sorry but Robert looks super creepy! I wouldn’t want him anywhere near me!

  33. We love Key West. We honeymooned there 12 years ago. The city is full of so much history, I am sure this tour was so awesome!!!

  34. Wow, this is one mega creepy tour! Leave it to you to find the ghost tours and haunted spots! That is your specialty!

  35. That tour sounds scary fun. =) My husband would love to go to this!

  36. This would be so much fun. I would love to go to Key West!

  37. Aaaah no! Me and ghost taking or tours don’t get along at all. I don’t like things that go boo in the night and those sounds like a lovely tour I still wouldn’t lol

  38. I have always wanted to go on a ghost tour. I think it is neat to learn about the history behind the places we go and all of its little quirks.

  39. What a fun thing to do in Key West. It sounds like you guys had a spooktacular time 🙂

  40. I would love to go on this tour. I will have to check it out if I get to Key West next year.

  41. It would be so fun to go to Key West. I love to do tours like this. You get to learn a lot about the area.

  42. This would be a really interesting tour to go on. It is a great way to explore a new area.

  43. I bet this was so much fun. I love to listen to these kinds of stories.

  44. I have read the story of Robert before. That is really creepy. I wonder which doll is creepier, Robert or Annabelle?

  45. I am seriously jealous of all of these haunted tours you go on! This one sounds like another exciting and informative adventure!

  46. That sounds like a fun tour. I wish I had something like this around me. I love haunted areas!

  47. That is so creepy, I am not sure I could go on a tour like that. So glad you had fun!

  48. Oooooh….. how cool is this? Key West is on my bucket list. We were headed there in 2006 but a hurricane blew out road trip. I love city tours and a haunted one is simply awesome!

  49. I would love to take this tour. I love learning and experiencing these types of things.

  50. Robert sounds like a doll you don’t want to tick off. I’ve been to Key West but haven’t been on this tour.

  51. That sounds so much fun! My kids will surely love it here!

  52. That place sounds fun! You both are look having fun!

  53. Wow, you are so lucky to be escaping the freezing Northeast for Christmas. I’ve never been to Key West, but it’s on my bucket list.

  54. I love anything that is spooky and scary and this tour looks incredible. I wish they had something similar in the UK.

  55. It looks like you two had a great time.
    The area looks a little freaky 🙂 .

  56. It sounds awesome, one of these days I will take one of those tours!

  57. Key West is on my bucket list for next year! I’ll have to remember this when we visit!

  58. We went on a ghost tour in Savannah when I was a teenager, it was great! I have never been to Key West, but if I go this will be on my list!

  59. a ghost tour sounds so interesting. That is so creepy about the corpse though

  60. this looks and sounds so intriguing. lol but i have to admit i am such a scaredy cat when it comes to these types of things.

  61. I don’t do well with anything scary or spooky, but I’m sure this is a hit especially around Halloween. Love that it was a trolley ride!

  62. The Robert doll is so creepy! I love all things scary and spooky so I think I’d really enjoy this 🙂

  63. What a fun event, we love to do stuff like that when we are on vacation. Gives a different feel for the local areas.

  64. This looks like so much fun! I would love to take a ghost tour!

  65. I’ve heard great things about Key West and reading your post is just another sign that I should visit! Don’t know that I would necessarily take the tour but thanks for sharing!

  66. Sounds like a fun tour to do with your hubby! Those are some strange stories!

  67. This seriously looks like so much fun! I’ve always wanted to do something like this in Salem, Massachusetts. I love all things spooky so it’s right up my alley!

  68. Can you even imagine being the sister and finding that out? aiye caarumba! I’m glad you had a good time.

  69. My husband and I visited Key West for part of our honeymoon! I would love to do this tour. I’m all about everything spooky and creepy. Looks awesome.

  70. I love Key West! I haven’t been there in forever but I have great memories from when I was younger. Would love to visit again!

  71. This is so cool! I went to Key West this past summer and loved it! Next time I will have to try this!

  72. I tried one of these types of tours in Charleston and it was a bust, but only because we had a terrible tour guide. You really need a good one or the tour won’t be interesting or fun.

  73. What a weird yet captivating experience. The Elena story definitely would have grabbed my attention. I wonder if they ever pressed charges?

  74. This sounds like an awesome tour. I’ve always wanted to go on one of these , especially in the south in some place like New Orleans.

  75. I loved all the ghost tours they had in Savannah when I lived there. Not so many here. I need to go back there.

  76. What an interesting tour but I think I’d be scared to take it. I would love to try it once though.

  77. I want to go back to Key West! We didn’t take the ghost tour at that time and spending so much time at the beach. Looks neat!