Ghastly tours haunt Tampa Bay area

The Cuban Club is home to several unsettled spirits including the
Woman in White. ORACLE PHOTO / POLLY SNOVER

Ybor City Ghost Tour

By Polly Snover, CORRESPONDENT:

It is said there are many restless spirits in Ybor, and the Ybor City Ghost Tour is a fantastic way to meet them.

The excursion consists of several creepy stops around the city, including the sites of Ybor’s cigar factory and two old hospital buildings, as well as a tour guide who loves the town  and a few electromagnetic field (EMF) readers.

The tours run on select nights from 7:30 to 10 p.m. throughout the year and cost $25.

Those hoping for a few ghostly encounters will get to visit the Don Vincent Inn, one of the most haunted lodgings in the country, and hear the story of José Luis Avellanal, a psychopath and possible serial killer.

“Ghosts are conscious,” said tour guide Joe Howden. “I believe that spirits are attached to places of their greatest pain.”

Howden, the creator of Ybor City Ghost Tour, usually only gives tours Sunday evenings. Howden believes aside from pain, excitement may also cause the ghosts’ attachment.

The Cuban Club is home to many more spirits waiting for the sun to go down so they can party the way they once did in life, he said.

Aside from the ghastly partygoers, the club is said to be home to a ghost called the Unknown Director, who has been known to scratch or scream at the living, as well as the Woman in White, an unlucky bride murdered on her wedding night in the Cuban Club.

The ghost tour offers guests the opportunity to learn about the darker side of Ybor’s history and meet more people from the afterlife than they ever wanted to know.

A former projectionist is said to still work at Tampa Theatre long after his death in 1965. ORACLE PHOTO / COURTNEY COMBS

Tampa Ghost Tour

By Courtney Combs, LIFESTYLE EDITOR:

It might be difficult to imagine, but there may be something sinister lurking in the nooks and crannies beneath the glowing and psychedelic Tampa skyline.

From a heartbroken actress in the Falk Theater to a potentially pissed off Henry B. Plant at the University of Tampa, downtown is haunted by several lost souls who can’t seem to move on.

Ghost story aficionados, history buffs or anyone looking for a creepy yet entertaining way to spend an evening can explore these dark and twisted stories and learn a bit more about the history of the city on the Tampa Ghost Tour.

“It really is an old city,” said Parker Lillie, one the guides for the tour. “It has a lot of interesting history that people don’t really know about because they kind of assume it isn’t there.”

Tours are held year-round at 8 p.m. every night and cost $15 per person. Those interested in seeing the darker side of downtown must make a reservation ahead of time.

During the tour, the guide will tell spooky tales about different locations, such as the story of Tampa Theatre, where a deceased projectionist still comes to work, and the Old Tampa Book Company, whose former owner may or may not have stabbed a robber with a pair of scissors.

Each tour runs approximately 75 to 90 minutes and makes stops at several spectral spots around the city, including Le Meridien, the U.S. District Court and the Hotel Floridian. Lillie said he will also occasionally bring groups to the Fort Brooke parking garage, which was built on the site of the old Fort Brooke burial grounds.

 

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