Monday, October 25, 2010

Ghosts of the Russ House

The Russ House in Marianna is one of the most beautiful architectural landmarks in Florida. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is a local treasure and is the ideal location for the purpose it currently serves - that of Chamber of Commerce and official welcome center for visitors to Jackson County.

Built in 1895 and remodeled to its present appearance in 1910, the home has been a centerpiece of the Marianna community for more than 100 years. The house has also seen its share of tragedy over the years and perhaps it is this history that contributes to its status as one of the "most haunted" places in Florida.

According to Betty Gilbert Davis of the Big Bend Ghost Trackers, the organization that conducted an extended investigation of the ghost reports in the Russ House, her group found evidence of at least two ghosts in the old house, one male and one female.

Most who believe that the house is haunted believe the male ghost is that of its builder, Joseph W. Russ, Jr., who took his own life in 1930 after seeing the family's fortune evaporate during the early days of the Great Depression. The figure of a man with a mustache has been seen in the house and eyewitnesses have reported hearing strange sounds and picking up odd scents there.  A ghostly figure has also been seen peering through the windows of the tower atop the house, something that would be a remarkable feat for a living person as it opens directly into the second floor of the house and has no floor of its own!

To learn more about the stories and some of the known history of the Russ House, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/russhouseghosts.

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