Although my memories of living in Florida as a child are not pleasant ones mostly due to the Big D (divorce of my parents), I do wish I had had the opportunity to visit Key West.
From what I can discern through my research and conversations with former residents, there is no place like Key West on Earth.
One of the highlights of such a visit would have to be a visit to Hemingway House in Old Town Key West where Mr. Ernest Hemingway spent some of his happiest years with his wife at that time, Pauline.
Not only were his children raised here, but many of his most beloved novels were written while Hemingway lived at his home in Key West.
Hemingway and some of his friends were known as “The Key West Mob.” The group of fellows, which included Joe Russell, who was also known as Sloppy Joe, often went on fishing expeditions together. During this time Hemingway earned the nickname “Papa.”
After the Hemingways divorced in 1939, Ernest went to live in Cuba, although he often visited Pauline and his children at the home in Key West.
After the prominent author’s suicide in the summer of 1961, his ghost has been seen often at his Key West home and at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in the area, which was known to be a favorite “haunt” of Hemingway.
Ernest is sometimes noticed exiting Sloppy Joe’s through the front door, and occasionally even talks to people inside the establishment.
The author’s home is now a museum dedicated to his life. Visitors to Hemingway Home sometimes see his apparition walking outside on the balcony. Often the sound of a typewriter can be heard coming from Hemingway’s old studio loft on the second floor of the carriage house.
Neighbors sometimes see the figure of Mr. Hemingway “looking out a second floor window.” He often waves a greeting!
Pauline can sometimes be glimpsed “at the top of the central staircase.” She could keep an eye on her boys playing outside in the pool, and also see Ernest writing in the carriage house loft.
During the summer of 2001, SEFGR Investigation determined the house to be “truly haunted.”
Another interesting sight at the home is the number of cats with “6 to 7 toes on each paw.” These cats are evidently descendants of a polydactyl cat given to Ernest by a ship’s captain.
Hauck, Dennis William. The National Directory of Haunted Places. NY: Penguin, 1996.