Haunted History of Casa de Sueños

Posted by junketseo in St. Augustine Ghost Tours
Haunted History of Casa de Sueños - Photo

It seems as if the spot where this house now stands was destined to be riddled with unearthly activity.  This part of Florida was often part of violent disputes between nations. As part of a defense network, the land on which the house stands was within the Rosario Line. During the first Spanish occupation of this territory, the people of St. Augustine attempted various ways to protect their cherished city from British invasions as the British Empire began to exert authority and seek dominance in the New World.

The Spaniards resorted to designing a natural impediment using naturally available materials. Within this biological arsenal were the razor-sharp cactuses and yucca gloriosa, known as the “Spanish dagger” for its skin-penetrating fringes. This defensive wall was known as the Rosario Line, its western border demarcated by the property where the Casa de Sueños stands today.


Background of the Casa de Sueños


Built as a single-family home in 1904, this one-story, wood-frame former residence stands atop land once owned by Henry Flager’s real estate company. Flager is the father of Florida, revitalizing a land of swamps and alligators by introducing railroads. Today, the Flagler name can be seen on buildings from St. Augustine to Key West. George Colee, whose family started a prosperous horse carriage company in the 1880s, called the Casa home in the early 1900s.

The Carcaba family eventually called this place home and spent their successful cigar manufacturing money on an elaborate renovation and expansion that transformed the structure into the grand Mediterranean-Revival home we see today. With the same entrepreneurship as Flagler himself, Casa de Sueños has reinvented itself and now greets visitors as a charming bed and breakfast.

But we would be remiss if we didn’t inform you that before the transformation into a stately inn, this home was once a funeral home; indeed, it was one of the most successful in the city. For over 20 years, bodies were laid out under this roof, resting in coffins within the rooms of this place. Known for its convenience, locals were encouraged to walk in and make funeral arrangements. The windows were lined with custom-made caskets, and the front yard was filled with top-of-the-line granite headstones. Maybe a few spirits enjoyed the surroundings so much that they stayed around to linger in the ambiance.

Because Casa de Sueños is America’s oldest city home, it seems as if history has seemingly possessed this house. Staying in this establishment, you get fresh linens, a hearty breakfast, and more ghosts than most places offer. This bed and breakfast appears to cater to a clientele of the dead, reportedly teeming with mysterious shadow people and mischievous unseen entities. The Casa de Sueños has earned the nickname of the spookiest B&B in St. Augustine. This place offers free wi-fi and the opportunity to mingle with full-bodied apparitions and witness poltergeist activity, such as your suitcase moving across your room. This place is infested with disembodied footsteps and persistent tapping within the walls. Items are known to disappear and reappear in arbitrary places. No worries, the hauntings are all included in the room rate.


Ghostly Guests


So, who are these ghostly guests who reside here alongside the living? When visiting the Inn, you may encounter a ghost named Randolph, who is said to watch guests from the shadows. This ghost is well-documented, and his voyeuristic activity has been said to leave guests feeling uneasy. Some researchers believe Randolph is not one entity but rather the multiple entities that haunt the old funeral home.

Alongside this phantom peeping tom are reportedly shadow people. They appear as vacuous black mists in the general likeness of a person, yet able to pass through walls and disappear before your eyes. Some claim these entities are not the souls of the departed but actually demonic entities. However, many witnesses who have seen these shadowy figures do not feel dread.

The true whereabouts of these shadow people may be linked to the area where the rear parking lot stands today. Back in the 1960s, that was the site of the main embalming room of the funeral home. It seems as if these ghosts have a more down-to-earth explanation than a demonic one. That is not to say that a few demons don’t find their way into a bed and breakfast.

It’s believed that demons are drawn to areas with raw human emotions attached to the property. They may be drawn to this place because of the emotions imprinted on the land from war and invasions. They may seek out the raw sadness from when this place was a funeral home.

How do we know these apparitions were demonic? Demons can pretend to be part of the living world but can never completely counterfeit the human form. So they are often seen as innocuous figures, such as young children or elderly ladies. But upon closer examination, these apparitions are not quite complete. Witnesses have reported children playing in a guest room who turn to look at them and have no eyes. Or an elderly woman bent over walking the halls who has no mouth. These are nightmarish phantasms, and their only reason for being is manipulation and to spread fear.


Checking In to Casa de Sueños


If you are into history and the otherworldly, St. Augustine will not disappoint. If you are brave and want to experience haunting up close and personal, stay a day or two at this house of dreams (the literal translation of Casa de Sueños). Keep in mind, however, that every dream in this Inn does not promise that they will be sweet, and some dreams may indeed be your worst nightmare.

Sleep tight!