Saint Augustine Florida
Casablanca Inn On The Bay
A former owner is the spectral assistant, helping with hospitality.
This spirit also actively remembers the excitement of flaunting authority.
Spirits of crumb crunchers make themselves known…
Casablanca Inn on the Bay is a 1914 Mediterranean Revival two story inn and its Carriage House is located in the perfect spot, on the bay, giving it a gorgeous view on their veranda facing the sea.
“French front doors from the Inn’s lobby lead to the gracefully columned Veranda with its breeze and breathtaking view of Matanzas Bay.”
All of the rooms that face the bay have large windows so that the view of the Mantanzas Bay and the St. Augustine Lighthouse can be enjoyed.
Just recently both were restored and renovated to serve the needs and desires of their guests. ON both floors, there are ten suites and two rooms in the Main House. The suites and rooms have all the bells and whistles, including a private outdoor porch or deck, as well as having antiques in rooms.
The Carriage House is directly behind the Main House, and has eight beautiful rooms, each with their own private, covered patios.
The third area is called the Secret Garden (located across the street) that has three suites that are pet- friendly, have kitchenettes, and their own dining area.
There is also in-house dining. Their website states, “In the morning you can find yourself having an excellent breakfast at our Nero’s Waterfront Cafe and in the evenings the Tini Martini Bar presents a wide choice of libations with various special drinks. It’s a relaxing time to converse with other guests and locals or just soak in the splendid surroundings.”
In 1914, Mr. Butler was the architect that designed this structure and built it right beside the bay!
For 96 years, the Casablanca Inn building has always been some sort of boarding house or inn. In its beginning years, it was called Mantanzas Hotel. When it changed hands around 1920, a widow by the name of Ms. Bradshaw became the new owner and changed the name to Bayfront Boarding House. After a few years, she again renamed her establishment, changing it to the Casablanca Inn.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s, this owner and operator took great pride in running a clean, comfortable boarding house, offering excellent meals, and making the Casablanca a popular place to stay due to her warm hospitality; So popular that guests had to call beforehand to make reservations.
Most of Ms. Bradshaw’s guests were traveling salesmen, government enforcement agents (g-men), and some local people as well, including a few children. In the 1920’s, she began to have financial troubles. She came up with a bold plan to make more money. Even though alcohol was illegal, some of her guests still wanted it. And because her building was in full view of the sea, she could make some money helping rum-runners.
Because Ms. Bradshaw knew when the agents or g-men were coming to stay at her place while they looked for booze smugglers and the like, she set up an arrangement with the rum-runners, who made their profit by smuggling their illegal cargo into St. Augustine.
When Ms Bradshaw knew that no agents were in town, she would swing her lantern from the top of her inn, on the house’s widow’s walk letting the smugglers know that it was safe to come into port and dump off their black market liquor. After paying her handsomely, they would quickly leave. She arranged to have a smuggler be a guest at her inn, so he could sell the black market liquor to those of her guests who wanted to imbibe.
At one point in time, Ms. Bradshaw was questioned by the g-men, but was deemed not a suspect because of her ability to withstand hard questioning. Fortunately, she wasn’t arrested by agents or killed by a rival gang. She lived very well the rest of her life as she made a fortune. She died and was buried in Huguenot Cemetery.
Another slightly different story tells the tale of tragedy. It claims that Ms. Bradshaw was a young widow who came up with this plan, but that she only waved the lantern when there were G-men in town. She wound up falling in love with one of the smugglers, and was heart-broken when her love was killed in a big storm at sea, after she had waved the lantern to warn him.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The spirits who reside here truly love this building and are positive in nature. Nothing negative lives here. They stay because they truly love this structure and not because they are restless or have regrets about the kind of life they led.
People who really enjoy their home, their work and special times in their lives, sometimes choose to stay in this world, not letting that fact that they are dead stand in the way of their memories; still doing what they loved to do while alive; perhaps helping, supervising the living.
Hemingway House, FL (The spirit of Ernest is enjoying writing once more, remembering the stories he wrote in his office as well as remembering all his positive memories that are attached to his favorite place).
Herlong Mansion Bed and Breakfast, FL (The spirits of Natalie and her daughter Inez are welcoming spirits to all visitors and an encouraging help to the owners).
Old Stagecoach Inn, VT (The spirit of Margaret is the spectral hostess in this inn which was the place of her home where she truly enjoyed being the matriarch).
Casablanca Inn On the Bay, FL (Ms. Bradshaw took great pride in running a boarding house that was popular with travelers and locals as well. She loved making a living pleasing people and making many friends in her business. She continues on as a spirit being a friendly host).
People who had very rewarding experiences that gave them excitement while alive often continue to relive their memories as spirits.
USS Hornet and Space Museum, CA (Spirits of past sailors choose to spend their afterlife on this aircraft carrier museum, finding ways to continue in their jobs in new ways).
Troy Hill Firehouse #39, PA (Living firefighters had the added unseen help of past crew members (now in spectral form).
Pioneer Village Sheriff’s Office, AZ (The spirit of a sheriff who used to work in this building is still on the job, laying down the rules to ghost hunters and staff, and takes care of the spirits who are still in the jail cells).
Casablanca Inn On the Bay, FL (Out of necessity and a sense of adventure, Ms.Bradshaw found another way to make a living using this fabulous building; to not only pay her bills but experience some excitement; flaunting law enforcement. Especially sweet was that she got away with it).
Children from all generations have been victims of epidemics, accidents, and killed in other ways that causes death. Sometimes the spirits of children decide to stay where they had fun, and felt love in their lives.
Bullock Hotel, SD (Epidemic victims were brought to this hotel to either recover or die. A young girl succumbed to her illness and now this hotel is her playground).
Collingwood Art Center: Gerber House, OH (Three children who died from Cholera still love to play in the Gerber House).
Bee Bennett Mansion, CA (A three year old boy who was quite a handful died from his fall down the stairs. He gets into mischief as a spirit boy).
Casablanca Inn On the Bay, FL (Signs of unseen spirit children as well as personal appearances are reported).
Women who have lost their beloved through war or dying at sea, can still wait as spirits for their beloved to return.
Edgewood Plantation Bed and Breakfast, VA (Lizzie Rowland suffered terribly in the loss of her beloved in war. Even after her death, her eternal hope is that he will return for her).
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn, MA (The spirit of Jerusha Howe still nurses a broken heart and waits for his return).
Magnolias Vineyard Restaurant, PA (A friendly spirit is a positive presence who still waits for her Confederate lover to return to her).
Casablanca Inn On The Bay, FL (The spirit of Ms. Bradshaw may be still signaling her lost beloved to come back to her, incase his spirit is stuck at sea).
Though some websites paint Ms Bradshaw as a regular, powerful gangster with no conscience, there is no spectral evidence that she was, as the hauntings would be of a different type than what is experienced. There is nothing negative felt here. She would be a different kind of spirit, far from what is experienced here.
Spirit of Ms. Bradshaw
She is described as a gentle benign soul who is really pleased with the restoration of her building.
She is an active spirit with a good heart and finds ways to be a positive force here.
She is the spectral helper and has put herself on the welcoming committee, trying to help the current owners of this bed and breakfast.
Reliving the Thrill/Signaling her Lover?
Fishermen at sea, people who are walking along the waterfront, and the guests staying in inns next to Casablanca Inn have all seen the lantern light swinging back and forth from the widow’s walk on top of the inn, when no one living is seen there.
Others say that she is still waiting for her lover to come to her, and swings the lantern to bring him to her arms).
Her Personal Appearances
Staff and guests have experienced an unusual misty fog like female apparition who appears in various locations on the inside of the inn, as well as the outside grounds.
One guest took a picture of herself in the mirror.
When she got her pictures developed, she claims that there was a pleasant-looking transparent elderly lady standing beside her.
Ms. Bradshaw’s Unseen Presence
Staff and guests have heard the sound of light footfalls on the inn’s floor boards throughout the inn.
Items are moved and found in odd places, or sometimes borrowed, but are always returned.
Residual Energy or Visiting Spirits?
Staff and guests have heard the sound of people talking, in places where there is no one living there.
These spirits may be old guests of Ms. Bradshaw and like to catch up with her.
It could be some of the smugglers talking to Ms Breadshaw about their deal, or g-men questioning her.
Entities of Children
They have been heard by the living as they play around the inn.
Their disembodied voices are probably heard as well.
People have been touched by spirit children.
People have actually seen an apparition of a small child walk into a wall.
While paranormal investigators are not allowed inside, guests, staff and the public have all witnessed the paranormal activity described above. People from the sidewalk have seen the mysterious waving of the lantern that seems to do it all by itself with no one living doing this act.
A big probably so, because of the volumes of personal experiences reported over the years. No official paranormal investigations have been made public, due to the fear of scaring away guests.
I can see why. After putting time, money and effort into restoring this inn, the owners enjoy a healthy business by providing a wonderful, peaceful place to relax, and enjoy the amenities and the view.
They haven’t decided to fully come out of the paranormal closet, but they do admit that the lantern light does appear, as it has been a public occurrence for many years.
They have made a deal with local Ghost Tours: https://usghostadventures.com/st-augustine/the-casablanca-inn/ and https://www.ghostsandgravestones.com/st-augustine operation, because of this well-known paranormal occurrence.
They used to gently tell people of their ghostly tale in a non-scary fashion, on their Ghostly Tales link, but that link was taken down from their website probably because of a new owner.
24 Avenida Menendez
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
(904) 829-0928 * www.casablancainn.com
Casablanca Inn can be found on Avenida Menendez, right across the street from beautiful Mantanzas Bay, just north of the Bridge of Lions.
- THE DEMONS OF THE CASABLANCA INN
Posted by blogger in Old City Ghosts
- GHOSTS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, By Dave Lapham, Pineapple Press, Inc., 1997.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr