News, Culture & Society

Inside the condemned and haunted ‘Devil’s School’ in Florida

Public School Number Four has haunted Jacksonville, Florida for decades. 

First built in 1918 as Riverside Grammar School, it was later renamed as Annie Lytle Public School in 1950 after one of its principals, then permanently closed to the public in 1960.  The title Public School Number Four is carved into the entrance of the building as it was Duval County’s fourth public school house.

The building was used for office storage and officially condemned in 1971.  

Upon closing, the elementary school was dubbed the ‘Devil’s School’ citing chilling rumors about a cannibal janitor that once terrorized the academy and a fire that wiped out half the student body.

Public School Number Four, also known as Annie Lytle Public School, has haunted Jacksonville, Florida for decades. The abandoned and crumbling exterior of the school pictured above

The school is rumored to have once been run by a killer principal and cannibal staff, and pupils randomly went missing. The school was permanently closed to the public in 1960 and was soon overrun by drug addicts and vagrants 

The school is rumored to have once been run by a killer principal and cannibal staff, and pupils randomly went missing. The school was permanently closed to the public in 1960 and was soon overrun by drug addicts and vagrants 

Nearly every inch of the abandoned school is covered in graffiti. In the window on the right an upside down cross can be seen, even thought the photographer claimed there was no glass in the window and the bricks in the background did not depict the Satanic symbol

Nearly every inch of the abandoned school is covered in graffiti. In the window on the right an upside down cross can be seen, even thought the photographer claimed there was no glass in the window and the bricks in the background did not depict the Satanic symbol

An exterior shot of the building shows how the cement walls are crumbling and how graffiti artists have taken over

An exterior shot of the building shows how the cement walls are crumbling and how graffiti artists have taken over

Rumors say the building was rented by a Catholic School in the 1960s before it shut down, the school was run by a killer principal who called students to their office who were never seen again and the building's furnace exploded killing half of the student body. The broken and boarded up windows of a classroom pictured above

Rumors say the building was rented by a Catholic School in the 1960s before it shut down, the school was run by a killer principal who called students to their office who were never seen again and the building’s furnace exploded killing half of the student body. The broken and boarded up windows of a classroom pictured above

A boys restroom  is found in a state of complete ruin, with volunteers leaving piles of trash waiting to be taken away

A boys restroom is found in a state of complete ruin, with volunteers leaving piles of trash waiting to be taken away

A look through the school’s deserted and forsaken campus reveals every inch of the concrete E-shaped building is in a severe state of decay and covered in graffiti.

Some of the eerie spray-painted messages include upside down crucifixes, alluding to the Satanic practices.

Stories say the building was rented by a Catholic School in the 1960s before it shut down and the school was run by a killer principal who called students to their office who were never seen again. Another rumor says the building’s furnace exploded and killed half of the student body.

Yet another creepy myth says there was a cannibal janitor who preyed on pupils and tortured them in the boiler room.

Although none of these tales have been proven true, the school became hotbed of crime after it was abandoned.  

An exterior shot of Public School Number Four shows how the windows are boarded up. In 2000 the City of Jacksonville designated the building as a historic landmark 

An exterior shot of Public School Number Four shows how the windows are boarded up. In 2000 the City of Jacksonville designated the building as a historic landmark 

The school was first named Riverside Grammar School and was also known as Public School Number Four as it was Duval County's fourth public school house but the name was later changed

The school was first named Riverside Grammar School and was also known as Public School Number Four as it was Duval County’s fourth public school house but the name was later changed

Doors were ripped off, window glass broken, and floor boards torn apart in the eerie cement building in Jacksonville, Florida

Doors were ripped off, window glass broken, and floor boards torn apart in the eerie cement building in Jacksonville, Florida

After the school was publicly closed vagrants and drug addicts moved in. Shortly after the building was condemned in 1971 a rape was reported at the site 

After the school was publicly closed vagrants and drug addicts moved in. Shortly after the building was condemned in 1971 a rape was reported at the site 

Drug addicts, vagrants, and vandals quickly moved into the vacated building. 

Soon after the school was condemned a rape was reported there and one room in the school has the phrase ‘rape room’ spray-painted on the wall.   

In 1995 vagrants set the auditorium on fire, causing half of the roof to collapse, according to Abandoned Southeast. 

The property, which is made completely of concrete as a fireproof measure, was purchased by Foundation Holding Inc in 1999 with plans to turn the school into a retirement facility named Lytle House Condominiums.  

A courtyard  has become overrun with grass and weeds as its been neglected for decades since the school's closing

A courtyard has become overrun with grass and weeds as its been neglected for decades since the school’s closing

The school will be hard to tear down as its made completely out of cement and bricks as a fire-safe measure 

The school will be hard to tear down as its made completely out of cement and bricks as a fire-safe measure 

A single beam of light shines in a dark, boarded up, and completely graffiti-covered abandoned classroom

A single beam of light shines in a dark, boarded up, and completely graffiti-covered abandoned classroom

The floor of the school is completely gone and a once regal staircase now lays in ruins after decades of decay

The floor of the school is completely gone and a once regal staircase now lays in ruins after decades of decay

A menacing six-feet-tall barbed-wire fence surrounds the property to prevent trespassers from breaking in as volunteers continue to spruce up the building. An interior view of severely broken floors and a decaying hallway pictured above 

A menacing six-feet-tall barbed-wire fence surrounds the property to prevent trespassers from breaking in as volunteers continue to spruce up the building. An interior view of severely broken floors and a decaying hallway pictured above 

But construction never took place as the City of Jacksonville designated the school as a historic landmark in 2000 following pressure from the public. 

In 2005 the Annie Lytle Preservation Group was created be a group of volunteers to preserve and clean up the crumbing building. 

Another fire broke out in the building in 2012, collapsing the remaining part of the auditorium roof. 

Now a menacing six-feet-tall barbed-wire fence surrounds the property to prevent trespassers from breaking in as volunteers continue to spruce up the building. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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