FL: Selling a haunted jail

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Historic Florida jail for sale — and it might be haunted

April 18, 2021 at 9:56 am CDTBy Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

TRENTON, Fla. — A historic Florida jail is for sale. And it could even be haunted.

The old Gilchrist County Jail is on the block. The jail, which opened in 1928, was inhabited for 40 years, The Gainesville Sun reported.

“I’d have to say this is one of the more unique ones that I’ve ever seen,” the listing agent for the property, Matt Perry, told Realtor.com. “It doesn’t get much weirder than this one.”

Gilchrist County was the last of Florida’s 67 counties to form, coming into existence in 1925. Three years later, the county jail opened. The asking price is $140,000, the Sun reported.

The jail is more than 2,000 square feet and contains eight cells and eight bathrooms, the newspaper reported. While the property surrounding the jail is rundown, the inside of the facility is remarkably well-preserved. It still has its original cell doors, bunks and bath fixtures, according to the Sun.

There is running water, too. But there is no electricity, which could make for some stifling days in the north-central Florida sun during the summer.

Arlene Hale, 73, said her husband bought her the jail as a birthday present a dozen years ago, The Associated Press reported. He paid $30,000 for it.

Hale told the Sun that she and other paranormal fans have used the jail to talk with spirits they believe still haunt the facility. According to Hale, inmates and the ghost of a man found murdered at the jail in 2008 are the most common paranormal occurrences, the newspaper reported.

The jail has been called the most haunted building in Florida. Perry does not disagree.

“I’ve been there several times by myself,” Perry told Realtor.com. “I was obviously on high alert. I really just tried to be as professional as I can be, but I never experienced anything.”

Hale has reported instances of hearing unexplained voices, shadowy figures lurking in the building and the sensation of being touched, according to the Sun.

Hale said she still wants to continue paranormal activities at the jail but conceded it has become too difficult for her to maintain the building.

Perry said the moment the listing for the jail went live, the entire multiple listing service system (MLS) in nearby Gainesville went dead for a few hours. It was a spooky crash, Perry told Realtor.com.

“My little joke is that the only thing that the spirits have done so far is that they broke the MLS when I tried to bring it live,” Perry said.

Perry conceded that he was nervous about listing the property.

“I envisioned myself handcuffed and locked into a cell and being tortured by ghosts. That was probably the first thing I thought,” Perry told Realtor.com. “(But then) I started to realize there’s a buyer for everything. I became excited about the possibility of the reach that I could get and how exciting it was going to be to speak to people who had different ideas and different plans. It was a little scary at first, but it just became more and more exciting. Something I never thought I would be compelled by has compelled me.”

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