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Friday, April 19, 2024


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Many of you know that we have one of the most haunted places in Florida right here in historic downtown Brooksville: The May-Stringer House.
Next month it will be featured on Travel Channel‘s Kindred Spirits! February 14th at 9 pm EST
Mark your calendars, set your DVRs, so you don’t miss it!

Jessie Lisk of The Brooksville PIT, frequently broadcast live streams from the multiple places around Brooksville, but consistently at the May-Stringer House.
If you want to book a tour to experience the house first hand, check out May-Stringer Ghost Tours.

Don’t know the backstory of our historic May-Stringer House? Read on.


In 1855, a contractor named John L. May purchased the Brooksville property and built a home for his family. John lived in the simple four-room house with his wife, Marena, and their daughters, Matilda and Annie, until tuberculosis took his life three years later.

Marena remained in the home throughout the Civil War and eventually married Frank Saxon. She died giving birth to the couple’s child, a girl named Jessie Mae, in 1869. Jessie survived her birth but died of unknown causes three years later. Marena and Jessie were buried on the property, as were John May and the infant son of Frank and Marena, a detail which fuels many rumors about the May-Stringer haunting.

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After Marena died, Frank Saxon sold the home, and the property eventually made its way to Dr. Sheldon Stringer. The doctor added ten rooms to the house which he shared with his wife and three children. The estate also served as the doctor’s practice, and, some say, a sanatorium catering to victims of smallpox and yellow fever. After the death of the Stringers, the house passed from one owner to another until The Hernando Historical Museum Association acquired the mansion in 1980 and began extensive restoration work. Today, the May-Stringer House is a museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


According to docent Bonnie LeTourneau, weird things started happening at the home right away. Restoration volunteers heard footsteps and voices in empty rooms. Workers noticed cold spots, mists, and eerie shadows. On more than one occasion, the sound of children’s laughter rang throughout the home, though kids weren’t allowed at the work site. The strange events persist today, with guides reporting moving shadows, glowing orbs of light, and the sound of a wailing child. Many believe the child is Jessie Mae, a lost spirit calling out for the mother she never knew. LeTourneau has heard the wails herself, a sound she describes as chilling.

There are several dolls on display at the May-Stringer House, one rumored to be little Jessie’s. One day, volunteers removed the doll from its cradle for review by an appraiser. When they went to return the antique they were shocked to see the disassembled cradle scattered across the floor. The docents quickly reassembled the bed and returned the doll to its place of honor. There have been no other incidents since that day.

The May-Stringer House is a popular site for paranormal investigators, and many believe its one of Florida’s most haunted homes. Other ghosts rumored to haunt the historic structure include Marena May, Dr. Stringer’s patients, a shooting victim, and an angry spirit known as Mr. Nasty. Though there’s no proof of Mr. Nasty’s existence, he’s said to be a soldier who hanged himself in the attic after learning of his fiancee’s infidelity. This betrayal reportedly caused Mr. Nasty to hate women, and one team of ghost hunters had to cut their investigation short after women in the group became violently ill.

Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein
Leslie Stein has over 35 years experience as a Speech-Language Pathologist working with neurologically impaired adults. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of South Florida in Speech Pathology.
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