Tampa Bay is a stop on the 'Haunted Florida Road Trip'
Just in time for Halloween, the travel website Only In Your State is back with another haunted Florida road trip, and once again, a Tampa Bay landmark is on the list of stops. This time, though, it's on the other side of the bay.
Tampa Theatre is listed among nine destinations the site touts as the "scariest places in Florida" alongside such spooky spots as the St. Augustine Lighthouse, a former Kennedy Space Center launch pad and The Biltmore Hotel in Miami.
Tampa Theatre seems a reasonable choice—anyone who has taken the historic downtown theater's Balcony to Backstage tour has likely heard the tale of projectionist "Fink" Finley, who died in 1965 after 35 years of working there. The story, as it's often told, includes apparitions on the mezzanine, the sound of jingling keys and the lingering scent of Finley's shaving lotion, decades after his passing.
As part of the theater's Nightmare on Franklin Street programming, Balcony to Backstage tours from Oct. 21 to 31 will focus on theater's status as one of the "most haunted buildings in town." There's also a reading of Tampa ghost stories on Oct. 26 and a late-night paranormal investigation set for Oct. 29.
The last time Only In Your State mapped out a haunted road trip through the state, it was the Don CeSar resort in St. Pete Beach that got the nod. The second, fifth and sixth floors of the 88-year-old hotel are supposedly haunted by the ghost of Thomas Rowe, the man who built the "pink palace," as well as a nurse from the building's days as an Air Force convalescent center. Staff there have claimed to see Rowe wearing his dark suit and a Panama hat, and the resort occasionally hosts its own ghost tours.
Other stops on the haunted trip include The Old Opera House in Arcadia, said to be haunted by a girl who jumped from a window there, the Cassadaga Hotel in the Florida town known as the "Psychic Capital of the World," and a pub in Rockledge, supposedly haunted by a woman who years ago had her last drink there before her body was found near the Indian River.