12 unexpected Florida haunted attractions you have to see

By Emily Vasquez
October 23, 2018, 10:23:14 AM EDT

Every year, Florida experiences an influx of tourists in October. Thrill-seekers flock to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream, which are undoubtedly worthy attractions for any Halloween junkie. But, Florida locals know that there are particularly special destinations that will truly rattle your nerves. Although the Sunshine State isn’t best known for being the most haunted location in America, there are plenty of eerie, historic sites that should please the paranormal hunters and the morbidly curious.

1. Don CeSar Hotel
WHERE:St.Petersburg, Florida

haunt 1

(Photo:Jon Bilous/shutterstock)

This is one of Florida’s most popular hotels—and the most haunted. This haunted tale begins in 1925 when Thomas Rowe, a heartbroken young man, dedicated three years to building a tribute to Lucinda, his long-lost love. The young couple was madly in love, but Lucinda’s parents forbade the relationship. Devastated, he built the hotel for Lucinda and spent years trying to reunite with her, only to have his letters unanswered. He later passed in 1940, and since then, tourists have reported seeing ghostly figures walking hand-in-hand on the Don CeSar hotel grounds. Hear an eerie noise or an odd sensation trickling through your bones? It’s likely Rowe and his secret lover watching over you.

2. The Cuban Club
WHERE: Ybor, Florida

haunt 2

(Photo:Joe Giannotti [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons)

This venue was a popular hangout for Cuban immigrants circa 1902. Guests enjoyed the ballroom, live music, and cantina complete with a stage and dance floor in Ybor City. The original club burned down in 1916 and then was rebuilt in 1917. Although the Cuban Club seems like a place for happy memories, over the years it has been a location for several unfortunate deaths. There was a young actor and playwright who took his life on the same stage where he forgot his own words. There was also Jimmy, a nine-year-old boy who drowned while swimming in the club’s pool unattended. Many have reported sightings of ghostly figures lurking the club, and the owner has even reported hearing elevators running by themselves and doors pushed hard against him as he has tried to close them.

3. Tampa Theatre
WHERE:Tampa, Florida

haunt 3

(Photo:Jeff Fay)

If the dark statues and gargoyles at the Tampa Theatre weren’t enough to shake your nerves, the old tale of Foster “Fink” Finley just might. Finley spent 20 years as the theater’s projectionist and is said to have never left after he died. Staff at the theater have reported hearing footsteps and chains rattling in the hallways, doors slamming, and power shutting off when nobody is nearby. Others have heard the organ music in the middle of the night, which is attributed to another former employee, Rosa Rio. She was an organist who lived to be 107 years old, and according to bystanders, it seems she has never left the Tampa Theatre.

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