TAMPA —The paranormal investigative team known as the Ghost Brothers — stars of the “Ghost Brothers: Lights Out” television series — love two types of buildings: old ones and haunted ones.
That’s why the 96-year-old Tampa Theatre was on their “haunted wish list and bucket list,” Dalen Spratt said. “Of all the places people come to us about and flood our inboxes with, Tampa Theatre is near the top of that list.”
Spratt and fellow Ghost Brothers Juwan Mass and Marcus Harvey investigated the building in April.
They will return at 7 p.m. on Wednesday for a free screening of the Tampa Theatre episode.
It premieres on discovery+ on Friday and will continue to be available on the streaming service.
Of the more than four dozen hauntings they have investigated for television since 2016, they said, Tampa Theatre was among the more bizarre.
“I would not have wanted to investigate that one by myself,” Mass said.
Over the years, Tampa Theatre’s staff and guests have contended that the building has four prominent ghosts.
A female apparition haunts the balcony in a flowing white dress.
“We definitely had an experience with a woman figure on the balcony,” Spratt said.
A male spirit wearing a fedora has been spotted sitting in seat 308.
Fink Finkley was the theatre’s beloved projectionist from the 1930s through the 1960s. He died of a heart attack in 1965 and apparently decided to spend eternity in his favorite building.
And then there is the former ticket taker Robert Lanier. In the 1950s, according to local lore, he was found murdered behind his ticket booth. The cause of death was head trauma.
“That’s the most messed up one,” Harvey said. “He was just minding his business and then gets killed in the lobby.”
The trio believes they met Lanier’s ghost.
The friends from Atlanta decided to make a career out of paranormal investigations after realizing that there were no Black ghost hunters on television.
“There was a genuine lack of representation,” Spratt said.
In 2011, they began filming investigations and posting the videos on YouTube.
That’s how executives with Destination America discovered them. “Ghost Brothers” premiered on that channel in 2016. A second season aired in 2017.
They moved to the Travel Channel in 2019, rebranded “Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests.”
The first season of “Ghost Brothers: Lights Out” premiered on discovery+ in 2021. The Tampa Theatre episode is part of Season 2.
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Over the years, they have investigated a World War II aircraft carrier, a gold mine and a plantation. They claim to have been in contact with shadow ghosts and to have opened a portal to hell.
So, how do Tampa Theatre’s ghosts stack up?
“They’re good,” Harvey said. “They are not malicious. They are not going to push you down the stairs.”
But they can be mischievous, according to Hillsborough County film commissioner Tyler Martinolich.
“One night, after the opening of the Gasparilla Film Festival, I was among the last to leave,” he said. “While trying to wrap up the dressing room, the door swung shut on its own. The doorknob wouldn’t turn, and the door remained held shut for the better part of a minute, and then suddenly released. You don’t need to believe in ghosts to take a hint from the universe. I ran out of the building without looking back.”
If you go
Free screening of the “Ghost Brothers: Lights Out: Tampa Theatre” episode
When: 7 p.m on Wednesday
Where: Tampa Theatre, 711 N Franklin St.
Tickets: RSVP at tampatheatre.org/live/an-evening-with-the-ghost-brothers