TAMPA BAY, Fla. — The spooky season is here, and that means it’s time to run down some of Tampa Bay’s most haunted locations. How many have you visited?
What You Need To Know
For some reason, performance venues are notorious for hauntings. (Drama!) Opened in 1926, Tampa Theatre is arguably the “most haunted” building in the Bay area. From rattling keys at the office door to the infamous fedora-wearing man in seat 308, this iconic location has more than its fair share of ghost stories.
The hotel industry is another business that always lands on the most-haunted list. St. Pete Beach’s pink palace The Don CeSar has seen its fair share of celebrity travelers, but it’s also got its share of scares. Its most well-known ghost is original owner Thomas Rowe, who is said to wander the halls in search of his lost love and knock on guests’ doors.
Another Pinellas County hotel with a history of hauntings is downtown St. Pete’s The Vinoy, where an unnamed pro baseball player once claimed to wake up to see “a man wearing a long coat and top hat next to his bed.”
Florida’s largest new and used bookstore has experienced plenty of supernatural activity, and not all of it can be blamed on the ubiquitous bookstore cats. Some people even say that the ghost of famed Beat writer Jack Kerouac, who was known to frequent the shop and died in St. Petersburg, wanders the stacks from time to time.
Ybor City is famous not only for its raucous nightlife but also for its hauntings, and the Cuban Club, built in 1917, is among the district’s most notoriously haunted spaces. The Travel Channel spotlighted this spot, where elevators are said to run by themselves and doors open and close of their own volition.
The original casino, which was built at the end of a pier further out into the ocean than the current structure, was destroyed by a hurricane in 1921. The space has been rebuilt three times, but visitors claim the ghosts of the victims who perished in the storm still wander there.
Tampa’s oldest burial ground was deeded in the mid-19th century, and became the final resting place for slaves, land-owning whites and the indigent poor alike. Many have reported seeing spirits wandering the grounds.
This popular relaxation resort in one of Pinellas County’s underappreciated corners has a long history of paranormal activity. Guests and employees have reported hearing voices, and those who have worked the desks have even claimed that they received phone calls from unoccupied rooms.
Chef Greg Baker’s first restaurant location in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood, in a converted home, thrilled local foodies with a taste for the macabre. No one knows exactly who was haunting the place, but servers told tales of seeing apparitions on the narrow stairway leading to the upstairs bar and patio. The restaurant North Florida Avenue has since closed, but here’s hoping the new owners are stout of heart, and don’t scare easily.
The former Crown Colony House in the heart of Busch Gardens is rife with creepy children’s laughter, overturned tables and a distinctly haunted vibe. The thousands of people who travel in and out of the place during a day at the park might not notice, but some of those who’ve worked there after hours swear there’s a presence.