JAM Humanities Past Events

Haunted Florida: How Tourism Shapes The Sunshine’s State’s “Dark History”

with Dr. Alena Pirok, Assistant Professor of History at Georgia Southern University

October 30, 2021 at 2:00pm EDT via Zoom

This free talk focuses on how Florida’s history as a tourist destination dominates its ghost stories, and what those ghost stories can tell us about how people envision the states’ past and its present identity.

Every state has its own collection of ghost stories that reflects how its residents and visitors perceive the area’s historical identity. States of the Old South have plantation ghosts, former industrial centers have factory ghosts, the mountains have miner ghosts, and the urban centers have lonely lost-in-the-crowd ghosts.

Unsurprisingly, Florida’s ghosts are tied to the states’ nineteenth and twentieth-century tourism economy. Florida’s ghost stories are set in hotels, restaurants, old train lines, highways, and amusements parks—sites of tourism. Florida has plenty of macabre stories of murder and betrayal in strip malls, homes, and schools, but its ghost stories have collected around the tourism and hospitality trade. 

Recording of this event: