Villa Paula Mansion
Haunted Dwelling —Villa Paula Mansion
5811 North Miami Avenue
Miami, Florida 33127
Built on North Miami Avenue in the heart of Little Haiti, Miami.
Villa Paula is a magnificent, neo-classical, 1920 mansion with a distinctive Cuban flavor in its interior/exterior design. It has ten rooms, two baths, 18 foot high ceilings, hand-painted floor tiles, and Tuscan columns. The Villa was built with Cuban-exported yellow bricks, and white stucco.
Villa Paula was built in 1925 for the first Cuban Consulate in Miami, Senior Don Domingo Milord, and his wife, Paula, whose name graces this mansion. 6 years after the happy couple moved in, Paula died from complications of a leg amputation. The next resident of this glorious home was a Muriel Reardon, who lived in it for over 30 years. After a variety of owners, the mansion became home to senior citizens. By 1974, the mansion was in disrepair and had become a home for drifters. Luckily, Cliff rescued Villa Paula by purchasing the property from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He then invested thousands of dollars into restoring this unique mansion to its original greatness.
Cliff personally discovered that he had plenty of unseen company that came with the mansion, much to his surprise.
There was a steady knocking on the front door intermittently, with no plausible explanation.
Some spirit personality really hated cats. Cliff's three pet cats were all killed deliberately by a slamming iron gate. There was no wind to slam the gate on the cats, so some unseen presence would wait for the moment when a cat would go through the gate and then slam the gate on the cat, like a trap. (Former owner, Muriel, really hated cats; was it her?)
Cliff's bedroom door would slam shut all by itself. ("Paula would shut the bedroom door, so she wouldn't have a draft on her shoulders when she played her beloved piano", an elderly neighbor told Cliff.)
Cliff would often smell the strong aroma of Cuban coffee coming from the kitchen, as well as the fragrant smell of roses in the dining room, during the season when roses weren't blooming.
Cliff indirectly and directly saw apparitions of two of his restless housemates. One day, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a shadowy form, which evaporated before he could get a full, direct view with both his eyes. Also, in the hallway, by the bedrooms, he did get a full, focused look of a Cuban woman, who had her black hair pulled back tightly in a bun, and was swishing down the hall happily in a full-length gown, with only one leg, before she melted into the air.
Cliff heard the clumping of high heels on the stone path in the Villa's back yard.
After hearing a loud clatter in the kitchen, Cliff found that one of his ghost housemates had had a temper tantrum and had thrown dishes and silverware all over the kitchen area. Also, a front porch chandelier suddenly came loose from its socket and crashed with a bang on the ground below. There are ups and downs living with both human and spirit housemates.
A seance, in 1976 , held by a spiritualist minister, revealed that not only was Paula keeping Cliff company, but 4 other spirits as well.
Paula was too shy to say who she was, but she did say that she loved to grind Colombian coffee, adored playing music from "Carmen" on the piano, and putting roses around the mansion, as she liked the smell of them.
There was a thin man, who was wearing a top hat.
There was a rather heavy-set lady in a red dress.
There was a crying woman who was upset because she had lost a medal in the garden.
There was a very unhappy young woman who was looking for the burial place of her illegitimate baby, who lies somewhere on or near the grounds of Villa Paula. Perhaps she had been a maid at the Villa, or had lived nearby.
A big yes is in order.
Thankfully, The Villa was free of sightings, noises and disturbances for "some years" following the 1979 seance, which quieted things down, allowing Cliff to finally sell this unique mansion. However, in the '80s, ghostly activity returned with gusto to treat residents to the full treatment, including poltergeist activity and sightings of Paula. Plus, cats were again being bumped off by the deadly gates. By 1989, The Miami Herald named The Villa the most haunted house in Miami. In the early 90s, the mansion was no longer a private residence, but became a doctor's medical office, and its been kept in good shape. This leaves The Villa to the ghostly residents during the evening hours, which must be a welcomed change to those haunting The Villa.