Ybor City is a historic section of Tampa that has met with many unfortunate fates. Once a blooming, industrial sections of the city, Ybor was once considered one of the largest cigar manufacturers in the world. However, many of the little city’s inhabitants grew sick with Tuberculosis during the early 1900s and passed away.
A Series of Unfortunate Events...
Many lives were lost, but business continued…until the fires began. Two large scale fires brought down several buildings in Ybor, including some of their largest cigar headquarters. The little city itself survived, but cigar manufacturing did not.
Today, Ybor City continues to exist, but in a very different way. It is mostly comprised of shops and nightclubs—attractions for tourists who show an interest in the historical section of town. Despite having grown up in Tampa, Derek (Name changed for privacy), a local lawyer, enjoyed spending his lunch hour at the Ybor City Museum State Park.
“I’ve always enjoyed history, and I definitely liked the idea of working and spending time in an area of Tampa that wasn’t just loaded with junky tee shirt and surf shops,” he said. “Had I heard the park was haunted? Of course.
"But I didn’t believe it for a second. Ybor City continues to survive solely based on tourism, and telling the world a place is haunted helps boost its attraction,” he shrugged nonchalantly. “It was an intelligent approach on the city’s part.
Whispers in the Dark
"So I began my new job and loved everything about it—the work, the people, the historic warehouses nearby. I discovered the park was within walking distance. I would go there during lunch, and sometimes, if work was especially stressful, I would walk around there at night.
"One day I was walking through the park…and the next thing I remember I was waking up on the cold hard ground. The park was completely dark and I could sense that some amount of time had passed and I had somehow lost consciousness. I looked all around me but nobody else was in the park at the time.
"I stood up and stretched and that’s when I began to hear the whispering. It was quiet but close. Somebody was ranting in Spanish to himself.
"I could hear his footsteps getting steadily louder as he moved closer to me. I could tell that whoever it was was speaking to himself, despite getting closer and closer,” Derek recalled. “I didn’t start to get worried until I realized he was very close to me and yet I still couldn’t see any faint outline of his body.
"That’s when I began to worry about who—or what—was in front of me. ‘H-hola?’ I called out in a shaky voice. All of the sudden, this huge, cold and unnatural wind rushed over my face, making all the hairs on my arms stand up.
"I immediately ran out of the park, scared out of my mind. I stayed in Ybor City for about a year after that, but I did my best to avoid going to the park."