Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Is New Port Richey a truly ghostly town? Or is it myth?

NEW PORT RICHEY

Call it urban legend, or spooky folklore. Whether or not you believe in the paranormal, Pasco is chock-full of places that haunted history buffs say harbor ghostly apparitions. Many are located in New Port Richey, said Susan Ostrom, who runs Haunted History tours of New Port Richey. Their proof? Visions of the dead and voices from beyond. In honor of the scariest day of the year, here's a rundown of rumored hot spots:

Willard Clark, former theater president, died of a heart attack in 1981, just hours after leaving the Richey Suncoast. But his ghost is rumored to linger around Clark's favorite seat in the house, BB1. Some patrons who sat in that balcony seat — not knowing it was Clark's — said they felt extremely cold, Ostrom said. After awhile, patrons of the theatre at 6237 Grand Blvd. were told the seat was broken, and no one was allowed to sit there, Ostrom said. The seat is no longer off limits, current theatre board president Charlie Skelton said, but sometimes patrons still spot Clark's ghost wearing a tuxedo, sitting in his seat. "He's a benevolent spirit, and he just observes," Skelton said. "Nobody seems to be afraid of him."

Built in 1927, the swanky Mediterranean-style hotel once hosted the likes of actor Gloria Swanson and baseball legend Babe Ruth. It later served as a residential facility for mentally disabled people. During one of Ostrom's tours, people spotted a man in his 50s standing in the back window of the hotel at 5621 Main St. wearing a dress shirt. At first, she said, he appeared to be a night security worker — but the building has been vacant for years. The man faded away as those who saw him got closer. Another time, Ostrom said, someone was seen walking on the rear second-floor balcony.

Decades ago, a woman named Meg and her son Scott rented a room in the upstairs portion of the bar at 6229 Grand Blvd. Meg was murdered upstairs, Ostrom said, although it's unclear who killed her or why. Sometimes, Ostrom said, Meg appears in a window wearing early '20s era clothing, or emerges from a bathroom area toward the front of the bar.

Legend has it that the quaint white building at 6431 Circle Blvd. is home to a host of unexplainable encounters with the dead. Museum volunteers have smelled the strong scent of cigar smoke near a desk once owned by William Barber, a Union soldier. A group of ghost hunters say they captured an audio encounter earlier this year with Barber's ghost; a whispered voice on the tape tells the ghost hunters to "Come back." But David Pace, president of the society, isn't afraid of any lurking spirits. "We were happy when people sensed something. It's intriguing."

Camille C. Spencer can be reached at cspencer@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4609.

Is New Port Richey a truly ghostly town? Or is it myth? 10/30/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 12:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Who's behind the mysterious butt graffiti all over St. Petersburg?

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first butts, perhaps, appeared in April on some steps behind the Sundial shopping plaza.

    A photo of the butt graffiti that has been cropping up around St. Petersburg in the past several months. [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | STAFF]
  2. During the most expensive mayoral election ever, St. Petersburg City Council wants to limit PAC money

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — In front of a large group of red-shirted campaign finance reform supporters, the St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday started the ball rolling on an ordinance that would limit individual campaign contributions to $5,000 from political action committees.

    A large crowd gathered Thursday to support passage of a controversial measure to limit campaign spending in city elections
  3. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  4. Peter Budaj loves 'vibe' with Lightning

    Blogs

    Two years ago, nobody was willing to give Peter Budaj a shot, the veteran goalie wondering if he'd ever play in the NHL again.

    Peter Budaj signed a two-year extension with the Lightning, worth $1.025 million per year.
  5. A test the Rays haven't passed

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — I have no idea what to think about the Rays. Not a clue.

    Tampa Bay Rays players celebrate their 8-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.