The Haunted History of Florida’s Riddle House

Nestled in West Palm Beach, Florida lies the infamous Riddle House, an inconspicuous structure that has stood still for the past century. Far more than an architectural relic from the early 1900s, this house serves as a nexus where historical importance and supernatural legends converge.

Originally serving as a funeral parlor and later the residence of city official Karl Riddle, the house has been a subject of fascination for both historians and ghost seekers. From whispered tales of a malevolent presence in the attic to inexplicable activitie, the Riddle House has garnered a reputation as one of the Sunshine State’s most haunted residential building.

In this article, we will look into the rich, haunted history of Florida’s Riddle House that has made the house a must-visit for anyone intrigued by the eerie and the enigmatic

History of the Riddle House

The haunted house dates back to 1905 when it was first built as a funeral parlor at 327 Acacia Street. It was formerly named as the “Gatekeeper’s Cottage” and was part of Woodlawn Cemetery. In an era where funeral houses were not common, the building played a vital role in guarding the cemetery from grave robbers.

riddle house florida old photograph
Photograph of Riddle House at Acacia Street | Source:

In the 1920s, the house was acquired by Karl Riddle, the city manager and superintendent of public works for West Palm Beach. The structure was renovated to make it comfortable as a residence, changing its entire purpose but keeping much of its original architecture intact.

The house was eventually vacated as the Riddle family moved out. The house changed hands several times, including being a general store. In the 1980s, the house served as a girl’s dormitory for Palm Beach Atlantic College. However, this did not last either.

inside of florida riddle house
Inside of Riddle House | Source: Josephine Morrow

Almost 80 years later, the Riddle house had suffered from significant wear and tear. In 1995, the iconic house was scheduled for demolition. In a bid to preserve the historic structure from further damage, John Riddle— the nephew of Karl Riddle—paid for the dismantling of the house and moved it from Acacia Street to the Yesteryear Village at South Florida Fairgrounds.

There, it was reconstructed and is now on permanent display as a historic house museum. Visitors can take guided tours to learn both about the history and the alleged hauntings associated with the house.

Reported Hauntings

Over the years, Riddle house has earned a reputation for being haunted. The most notable resident ghost in the house is none other than “Buck”, a former cemetery caretaker who was killed in a brawl in town.

Another ghostly legend that still haunts the house is Joseph, a former employee of Riddle. The legend goes that Joseph took his own life in the attic after running into financial difficulty. Since then, reports of paranormal activity have been rampant.

Some of the paranormal activities reported by Riddle’s family and visitors of the house include unexplained footsteps, objects being shifted on its own, and mysterious voices echoing through the rooms. Some claimed to have seen a shadowy figure in the attic, which is believed to be the restless spirit of Joseph.

Carpenters involved in the moving of Riddle House also reported several haunting incidents including tools being flung around as well as broken window glasses. The spirits are said to target male visitors, albeit it is unknown why.

After its relocation to Yesteryear Village, security patrolling the area at night reported seeing lights go on and off in the building.

The notoriety of the Riddle House has lured throngs of paranormal investigators to the haunted building.

riddle house ghost adventures scene
Ghost Adventures crew at the Riddle House | Source: Travel Channel

In particular, Riddle House made an appearance on the reality TV show Ghost Adventures. Aired in 2008 on episode 4 of the first season, paranormal investigators Zak Bagans, Nick Groff, and a psychic medium visited the infamous Riddle House in an attempt to communicate with any residents that has lingered long after their passing.

This media coverage has elevated the Riddle House’s status to one of the most recognized haunted houses in Florida.

Directions to It

Today, the Riddle House is located at Yesteryear Village, a cultural park that features a host of original and replicated buildings from the past. It includes an old school, a blacksmith shop, a general store, and of course, the Riddle House.

The address is 601 7 Sansbury’s Way, West Palm Beach, FL 33411, United States.

To visit Yesteryear Village, head west on Southern Boulevard until you reach Sansbury’s Way, which is located west of the Turnpike. Make a right onto Sansbury’s Way and proceed to Gate 3, known as Archway Gate, which is situated beyond the iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre.

The Riddle House features a bright yellow facade and can be easily spotted from the entrance of the Yesteryear Village.

Admission to the park is: $10 for adults, $7 for seniors 60+, $7 for children (6-11 yrs. old). Children under the age of 5 can visit the park for free.

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