There are several hauntings that are said to occur in and around the Riddle House that is located in Yesteryear Village.
In all actuality, it is not at all surprising that this particular structure is said to be haunted. This stems mostly from the fact that the building itself holds a long history of exposure to death. If you are seeking haunted places to go, or have an interest in validating life after death, you may find a visit to the Riddle House extremely interesting. Here, I will share with you the basic history and haunted legends that are said to be a part of this particular building.
In the early part of Florida’s history, around the onset of the 1900’s, the Riddle House was built in an effort to provide the West Palm Beach area with a funeral parlor for families who lost loved ones. There was a cemetery in the area that was called “Woodlawn”. Many crimes occurred in this resting place for the dead. Bodies were consistently exhumed by criminals seeking to acquire the possessions that the deceased were buried with. For this reason, there was a call for security. This is when the original structure was built. It was called the “Gatekeeper’s College”.
In the early days of the home, there was a tragic death that occurred as a result of an argument between a person that worked in the cemetery and an individual of the community. The worker’s name was rumored to be “Buck”. Once the man passed away, it was said that the locals could still see him walking along in the cemetery, as well as around the actual home itself. Buck never appeared to be vengeful or angry. In fact, it often seemed as if he simply went on in the afterlife, conducting his work just as he would in the physical life. However, encountering this spirit was quite frightening for the locals that came face to face with it.
Approximately two decades later, a man by the name of Karl Riddle acquired the position of manager of the city. The city had a special need for someone to oversee the cemetery, and they also wanted to provide him with a home to live in. This is when the original “Gatekeeper’s Cottage” was opened up to him. Riddle thoroughly enjoyed the home, until an employee tragically ended his own life in the attic of the home to remove himself from economic woes and depression. It was after that in which several individuals experienced phenomenon that seemed to be related to the paranormal.
It was not uncommon for one to witness apparitions out of the corner of their eye, or in the shadows of the home. When darkness fell on the home each night, it seemed to take on a life of its own. Many could hear what appeared to be distant conversations, and strange noises that were very frightening and completely unexplained. Examples include the sound of chains moving up and down the decorative staircase, knocks, and other noises of the same caliber. Riddle, unfortunately, lost may of the people that conducted work for him. He also fell to despair due to fright from living in the structure.
Eventually, the Riddle House no longer served as a home to Karl Riddle. He and his family left the premises and several different businesses attempted to start in the structure. However, they too, were plagued with paranormal phenomenon and frightening experiences. A local college, Palm Beach Atlantic, even attempted to use the structure as a dorm for the female students that attended the school. This failed to work as well. In the year of 1980, the city of West Palm Beach elected to destroy the structure. However, Karl Riddle’s nephew, John, decided he wanted the building in order to preserve the historical value it had. He decided to have the structure moved so that it could be enjoyed as a historical monument for the public. This is how it came to stand in the Yesteryear Village.
As the building was being reconstructed, the carpenters and other workers experienced many strange events. These events included tools being moved, broken windows, and personal experiences. Many of the workers quit before it was decided that construction should be stopped for a short amount of time. John Riddle was really worried that if he did not provide the workers with some sort of break, that he would lose all of them. Eventually, work would continue to take place and the building would be completed.
There was a social gathering held for the community in which the home would be displayed and individuals could enter it for the first time. By this time, everyone had heard the rumors of hauntings and was very excited to get the opportunity to experience it for themselves. They ended up getting a bit more than they ever bargained on – a couple apparently from the earlier part of the 20th century. Unfortunately, many were not aware that they may have just witnessed spirits until the pictures revealed showed no traces of the couple!
Many have experienced hauntings that seem to include both residual and intelligent ghosts throughout the years. It seems that the original property was not as attractive to the spirits as the actual home itself. Despite being relocated, the ghostly apparitions are still seen today. The hauntings and paranormal activity still occur in the home. If you are close to the Palm Beach Fairgrounds, be sure to stop by the Yesteryear Village and experience the Riddle House for yourself!