When you hear the term “ghost town”, especially around Halloween, you think of big, creepy haunted houses, the ethereal manifestation of residents past and things that go bump in the night. While these things all bring a chill to the squeamish bone, ghost towns are not always synonymous with hauntings. However, some truly are!
Some of the better known ghost towns are places like Tombstone, Arizona; Bannack, Montana and Elizabeth Bay. But what I’m going to give you is a list of some of the sincerely scary ghost, warranting a visit any time of the year that you want to be scared out of your wits!
When you think of ghost towns and hauntings in the South East, your mind immediately goes to the French Quarter of Louisiana. Full of mystery, history, voodoo and its share of ghostly secrets and tragedy …and thanks largely in part to Anne Rice’s novels, one would easily gravitate towards there for their first destination. However, if you go south a bit more, to Florida, there are many ghost towns and attractions to satisfy even the most macabre imagination.
In Saint Petersburg, Florida, a mere half hour from Tampa International Airport, and roughly 45 minutes from my own front door, you’d come across Jannus Landing Courtyard. Jannus Landing is a popular outdoor concert venue, hosting upwards of 50 concerts a year. Named to honor D.C. born Tony Jannus, who was the pilot on the inaugural flight in January 1914 when the first St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line took off from downtown St. Pete with its first passenger for a scheduled 22 minute flight. The history behind Jannus Landing and the concerts held there aren’t the only reason why people come to see it. Jannus Landing is reported to be haunted by a phantom boy who died there in the 1980s.
A stone’s throw from Jannus Landing is the 1888 Detroit Hotel, where owners found an unidentified portrait thought to be an old mayor. While an old picture might not sound very scary, many women who tour the Detroit Hotel have reported strange happenings while in the presence of this portrait – so many that tour guides now have to warn women in the group to not get too close!
Finally, on the tour of Saint Petersburg, the most popular hauntings occur at The Renaissance Vinoy Hotel & Golf Club. While they’ve occurred for years, the hauntings recently found new acclaim when in 2003, baseball player Scott Williamson told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he felt a ghost on the fifth floor. With its high tower and “lady in white”, the Vinoy is one of the best places to come and scare yourself silly listening to the tour guides and trying to catch a glimpse of one of the ghosts yourself!