Castle Warden Museum

The Castle Warden museum, in the United States’ oldest city, St. Augustine, Florida, is, like the city itself. "The Castle" was originally a Moorish Revival style mansion, built in 1887 by millionaire William Warden as a winter home. Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings later purchased it. Resembling a medieval fortress, Castle Warden became a hotel in the 1940s, where the cartoonist, entrepreneur and amateur anthropologist, Robert Ripley was a frequent visitor. Robert Ripley, tried to purchase the building, unsuccessfully. He felt the building would be perfect to house his unusual collection of oddities from his travels around the world. Finally it was acquired by Ripley’s heirs following his death in 1949 and, soon after, opened as the original Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in December 1950, housing artifacts from Ripley’s personal collection of oddities and curiosities from around the world. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is also rumored to be haunted.

Ripley's oldest Odditorium, located in the Castle Warden, Florida

Visitors claim to have heard mysterious voices and seen ghostly apparitions. Prior to becoming home to Ripley's vast collections from his many travels, "The Castle" as it is known, was once a hotel which played host to many famous guests, including Ripley himself and author/previous owner Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her husband Norton Baskin.

The popularity and success of this museum led Ripley's associates to open new establishments throughout the United States and the world. But "The Castle" remains the permanent home of Ripley's personal collections and is the flagship of the Odditoriums. Segments of the most recent Ripley's TV series were filmed here, including the opening credits. Among the attractions here are a mummified cat, an Abraham Lincoln life mask, a vampire-slaying kit, the erector set Ferris wheel that’s two stories high and took one man 17 years to make, and shamanistic apparati from cultures around the world. Apparently, as well as looking at such strange items, visitors have also been experiencing something even weirder.

According to staff, paranormal activity is rife at the castle. Reports of mysterious voices or glimpses of apparitions in the massive four-storey building are frequent. Allegedly some claim to smell smoke from a fire in the 1940s that killed two women when the building was a hotel. Police have even been called to the museum after a woman was seen in distress at an upstairs window. The window has been boarded up since the 1950s. Others have often experienced paranormal activity in the museum’s gift shop, lobby, and various rooms. The famous TAPS team from TV’s Ghost Hunters led an investigation of the building in October 2009.

Sources :
Paranormal : Exploring the World of the Unexplained Issue 54, Dec 2010;!;;

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Castle Warden Museum Castle Warden Museum Reviewed by Tripzibit on 04:14 Rating: 5

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