The Haunted City

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Ybor City is haunted. Specific buildings are haunted. But I think there is evidence that many…if not all the buildings of the old ‘Latin Quarter’ are sites rich in paranormal activity. As a resident of nearly twenty-five years and as a ‘paranormal enthusiast’, often in those early days I would walk into small shops owned by Cuban or Spanish or Italian families and introduce myself. “Hi…I live here in the neighborhood. By the way, does anything ‘weird’ ever happen in your shop?” Usually the wife would say, “We have a guy who roams around late at night and…”…then the husband would say “NO! Don’t talk about that!” Why? Because they thought it was bad ‘juju’…bad luck…because they thought something bad might happen…or, you may not come into their establishment. But today, many years later, one has to be concerned that ‘hauntedness’ is being used as a marketing tool…”Oh yes, we have a ghost. Come on in!” (see the blog “Everyone Wants To Get Into The Act”).
I know of a many haunted sites in Ybor City. Along 7th Avenue, the central promenade of our old historic district, there is building after building which carries with them ghost stories. Restaurants, clothing stores and bars, many of which have multiple accounts of ghostly encounters. There are owners or employees, past and present, who have seen or felt the remnants of the dead. Why would there be so many hauntings? History? Certainly many have died here.
But…here’s one theory for you to consider. When I came here one of the first residents I met was an elder cubano named Raphael. His family was rooted in the craft of cigar making. His grandfather had come to Ybor City not long after Vicente Martinez Ybor founded his cigar manufacturing city. I often found Raphael parked on a wrought iron bench, resting in the warm Florida sunshine. I would sit with him and we would talk. Mostly, I would listen. He spoke of the city in magical ways. He was an observer of the ‘unseen’ and was the first person that made me aware of the old village’s ghostly stories.
One day he said to me…” You know, in the old days communities and cities often formed in an area for reasons that not even it’s inhabitants understood. Oh yes, it might seem obvious…a river or a railroad. But it might be that they were attracted to something they ‘felt’. It was such with Ybor City!” He had my curiosity now. “How?” I asked.
“This area is ‘special’. There is a ‘vortex’ here. A place where energy collects in a very unusual way. There were two separate natural aquifers here, where drinkable water just flowed out of the ground. It’s part of the reason that Ybor settled here. The vortex is in the center, and it fans outward like a small but powerful hurricane.”
He then said something that I cannot forget. “And these kinds of vortexes ‘attract’ energy…and people to them. And when they die…some of them…cannot resist it’s pull…and they REMAIN!”
And so I wonder sometimes, could Raphael…now long gone himself…be correct? Could it be that the level of paranormal activity here in Ybor City is, in part, because this is a special place with a mysterious influence on the surface of our planet?
Could it be that ‘where’ an entity attaches is as important as ‘why’? It’s something to consider.

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