LAKE WALES, Fla. -- The town of Lake Wales has its own spooky legend. About an hour south of Orlando, Lake Wales was put on the map by the railroad that helped build the local lumber, citrus and turpentine industries. But locals will tell you Lake Wales is known for a special spot called Spook Hill.
Well supposedly there's a ghost that moves your car if you pull it up to the white line you're supposed to stop it completely, make sure it's in full stop and then the ghost will move it for you.
To take a look at Spook Hill - it's just a paved hill accented with a white strip. A nearby sign tells the tale of the local legend and gives specific instructions for visitors -- pull your car up to the white line, put it in neutral and the ghost will pull your car backwards -- up hill.
"It's kind of a weird feeling when you pull up, even when you've lived here, you come and put your car in neutral and sit there and nothing happens for a minute and then it starts to move," said Melissa Charles.
We headed to the Lake Wales Museum and Cultural Center to see if we could get the history on this legend. There, we caught up with Mimi Hardman.
"I'm the director and founder of the Lake Wales Museum. It's called the Lake Wales depot museum," said Hardman.
According to Hardman, Lake Wales was once home to a Seminole Indian tribe that was menaced by a local gator.
"We had 5 chiefs that lived right around here. They were there, on Spook Hill and the little chief had these people that just kept disappearing and he didn't know what happened to them, and he thought that this gator might have gotten them," said Hardman.
Hardman knows the gory details of the legend, but is able to pass on the ferocious tale with a smile and gentle tone.
"The chief stayed up all night and he had his scabbard or knife and he stayed up all night and he was there all night and the people woke up the next morning and they saw blood all over the lake, and this is just a little bitty lake but it was covered with blood, and they thought 'oh no our chief was killed' and he raised up with his scabbard and said 'no he's dead, the gator,'" said Hardman.
Hardman is a firm believer in Spook Hill. And as any good town ambassador should, Hardman encouraged us to try it for ourselves.
"Have you been to Spook Hill, put your car there and let it go back up the hill and it did didn't it," said Hardman.
So we did and so did a few others we spotted on Spook Hill.
Regardless of the who and the why, locals have embraced Spook Hill in all its uniqueness and say there's nothing else out there like it.
"Oh no, no no, there's only one Spook Hill."
First Coast News