MAY-STRINGER HOUSE

(Hernando Heritage Museum)

601 Museum Court, brooksville, fl

(352) 799-0129

Status: Former Residence; Museum; Heritage Property

Website

Ghost Tours and Overnight Investigations can be Booked on Friday and Saturday Nights

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History

In 1842 the US Congress passed the Armed Occupation Act as an incentive to populate Florida. Basically, it said anyone who moved to Florida built a house on 5 acres and lived there for 5 years would be granted a 160 acre homestead.

Richard Wiggins was granted the original homestead for this property but in 1855 John May bought it. Mr May built a 4 room house on the property and lived there with his wife, Marena, and their 2 daughters Matilda and Annie.

John would die from tuberculosis only 3 years after buying the property.

Marena and their daughters continued to live in the house through the civil war. After the war Marena would marry again – to a hero of the Confederacy; Frank Saxon – but died in 1869 giving birth to their child: Jessie Mae.

Jessie Mae survived her birth but died of unknown causes 3 years later.

John May, Marena and Jessie Mae are all buried on the property as well as an infant son of John and Marena.

Frank Saxon sold the house to Dr Sheldon Stringer and moved on to marry again and build his own house. The doctor added 10 rooms to the house – creating the appearance it has today – and ran his practice out of the house as well.

There were many owners after Dr Stringer until Dr Earl Hensley sold it to the Hernando Historical Museum Association in 1980.

The Association converted the house into a museum with each room showcasing a different part of Victorian life.

 

Paranormal Activity

This location is considered one of the most haunted houses in Florida. Many of the house’s ghosts came attached to the thousands of antiques that have been brought into the house.

The apparition of Marena May has been seen throughout the house since shortly after she passed. She seems to be searching for something; most people surmise it to be her daughter Jessie Mae. The cries of Jessie for her lost mother are also heard.

There is another ghost that has been named both Mr Nasty as well as just plain Gary. Obviously encounters with him can be rather unpleasant and he is known for placing curses on visitors. He generally sticks to the attic and is known for foul language on recordings.

Jessie Mae herself is known for becoming very unhappy if someone messes with her toys. Her apparition, as a baby, is seen crawling on the floor to her crib. The sounds of someone playing in the room when it is empty are often heard.

John May is also said to haunt the house although there are no reports of his apparition.

The apparition of an unknown woman with her hair in a tight bun has been seen.

The ghost of a World War I era soldier also haunts the house; he said to have committed suicide there.

Other Reported Activity: shadow figures; disembodied voices; phantom footsteps; cold spots; doors open and closing on their own; the phantom crying of a baby; electrical disturbances; light anomalies and feelings of being watched and not being alone.