Tampa Bay is ‘old Florida.’ From a pirate cove on the gulf to the city’s legendary cigar indusry and Cuban influence, today paranormal seekers consider it “the damnedest city this side of Hell.” I’m not sure that saying was meant as a reference to spooky locations, and it certainly seems like a good fit when you start to learn about Tampa’s haunted history.
One area known for having several haunted locations is Ybor City, which isn’t actually a city – think of it more as a ‘historic neighborhood.’ Ybor City was founded back in 1890 and is home to Florida’s oldest restaurant, Columbia Restaurant, and is also considered by many as one of the most haunted places in the world. I’ve done a bit of digging and put together a list of some of the most haunted spots, in the Ybor City area, and other locales around Tampa, Florida.
8 of the Most Haunted Places in Tampa Bay, Florida
Bonus Haunted Location – Sulphur Springs Water Tower
Add another spot to your Tampa haunted tour – the Sulphur Springs water tower (shown in the picture on the top of the article) overlooks in the historic neighborhood of Sulpher Springs, right off I-275 in a nearly forgotten park. According to Wikipedia, the water tower was a failed venture having been built in 1927 to supply water for a hotel, resort and arcade. However,
in 1933, with the sabotage and collapse of the Tampa Electric Company dam that ripped through downtown Tampa during the Depression (draining cow pasture land that had been inconveniently flooded by the dam’s construction), the arcade was heavily damaged, the businesses in the arcade failed, and [the developer] lost everything.
NightlySprits shares some of the stories surrounding the tower:
A man in depression era clothing has been seen wandering the top of the tower. He slowly paces, clearly contemplating his fate. The sadness he had at the time is still remaining with his forlorn spirit.
Eerily, a figure of a woman has also been spotted at the top of the tower. The tortured spirit abruptly plunges to her death below. However, she doesn’t hit the ground. The apparition has been said to disappear right before impact.
Several other spirits have been seen jumping off of the tower to the ground below. Are they unsettled by the way they chose to end their lives? Or are they still grappling with the incredibly tough sadness they felt during one of the most depressing periods in history? One thing is for sure, a visit to the tower can give you the chance to witness these mysterious figures.
Since the tower was built in place of a lighthouse, it has a special connection with the sea. Legend has it that the destroyed lighthouse was a marker on an infamous treasure map. When it was demolished, the pirates lost the guiding light to their booty.
They’ve been spotted wandering around the tower, searching for clues to the hidden treasure. Their pirate ship has been seen aimlessly sailing the river, the last spot on their quest. These pirate spirits are likely unsettled by the unfortunate interruption to their mission.
With Tampa being a coastal city rich in marine and pirate heritage, you know that nautical supersitions run deep. Check out these sailor’s tales and beliefs that go back to our earliest days of seafaring.