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Johnnie Brown and Laddie Best of Friends

Ghosts of Palm Beach Blog 2a Addison Mizner with Johnnie Brown

In Palm Beach, after business owners close up shop for the day, several of them instruct their employees to leave a dish of sliced bananas outside their door to appease the spirit of Johnny Brown, Addison Mizner’s pet monkey, who haunts this area.  Johnny Brown, “the human monkey,” was Addison Mizner’s constant companion, and the shopkeepers at Via Mizner model their behavior after Mizner’s friends who knew that if they invited Addison to a party, they must provide Johnnie Brown something to eat. Addison Mizner was the architect of the Mediterranean Revival Style that characterizes Worth Avenue to this very day.


Mizner was famous for his many pets that included a macaws, anteaters, and raccoons as well as two other monkeys besides Johnnie Brown.  Mizner even had Johnnie run for mayor of Palm Beach.  He even received a special invitation to attend the Scopes Trial.


After his death in 1927, the town granted Mizner permission to bury his beloved pet outside of his mansion the Villa Mizner.  To protect its fragile ecosystem, Palm Beach generally disallows the digging of graves.  In fact, the only other spirit who was laid to rest on the island was a Scottish terrier named Laddie, buried next to Johnnie Brown, who was owned by the next woman to live at the Villa Mizner after Addison passed away.  

Laddie and Johnnie are frequently seen together, chasing one another around the courtyard, or wrestling in the flowerbeds.  If a person notices them, they scamper off into Mizner’s mansion.


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