The grand finale of the tour was a visit to Circulo Cubano de Tampa, or the Cuban Club. Lots of photos here, so let’s throw this under a cut.
It’s the fourth-most haunted building in the United States. Lucky, lucky us.
Even luckier when, as we stood outside listening to the history, Greg spoke of a board member that was shot in the face by another member in one of the rooms on the second floor, and how he’s a spirit that loves to make himself known. He pointed at me, directly, saying it wouldn’t be unusual for my long locks (erm, extensions) to be affectionately flicked about, as said board member had an affinity for beautiful women.
Cue the nausea.
We were handed EMF (or electro magnetic field) readers to be able to cue into the ghost’s energies – and I was the one to take it from Greg’s hands, while Boy was tasked with using his phone to photograph whatever he could in the hope of capturing something spooky.
The building was enormous and hot as hell; sweat was dripping down my back within the first ten minutes.
Let me start this off by saying that I have no idea where the balls I grew in those moments spent inside came from. I not only readily grabbed an EMF reader, I ventured into darkened corners un-assisted, dared to sit in exact spots where the deceased saw their last moments, and even pushed it so far as to attempt a conversation with one of the departed. I have no idea where the butterflies that flitted deep in my stomach as we stood on the sidewalk went to, but it was safe to say they were long, long gone.
Our first stop was a theater on the second level where an actor hung himself center stage after being ridiculed during an opening performance.
There was also a women’s dressing room that made our readers go off the charts, and Greg said he believed that many women underwent some unsavory things at the hands of men in said room, making it a hot spot for ill-tempered ghosts. It was pitch black the entire time with only three flashlights to guide us, and the smell wasn’t the best. I felt nothing strange, though, and Boy didn’t capture anything worthy via camera, so I’d call it the most inactive floor of the bunch, though it was cool to stand in the middle of a stage where countless talents traipsed the floorboards.
The stairwell to the third floor was divided in two and was what Greg called “marriage stairs”; one side was for the bride to walk up while the other was for the groom, the two able to meet in the middle before ascending another set of steps to their waiting guests. Greg said many of the current employees of the Cuban Club hear footfalls on those stairs – lighter on the bride’s side and heavier on the groom’s.
Once the five of us gathered at the top of the steps, I had to stop to catch my breath. It was unusual, because the number of steps was nothing to write home about and I had taken them slowly, admiring the large mirrors that sat at the top of each and the architecture around me. It seemed, however, I was not the only one with this problem. Or the problem of a weight on my chest.
“I just want to know how you guys feel right now,” Greg said. Short of breath, we all answered. Unable to catch it. Heavy. Hot.
“It’s a common feeling when you get on this floor,” he explained. “I had a marathon runner come up here and tell me he had no idea what was wrong with him, but he found he couldn’t breathe right. I feel it, too, every single time I come up here. This floor, to me, is the worst of them all. There are some very evil things here, and I will never come up here alone. And now you get to feel it for yourself.”
We continued our exploration of the theater, this time walking about the balcony area. For some reason, as I walked along the fourth row from the top, my EMF reader died – but only in that row. I would move slowly to the left and the beeps would pick up once they passed the tops of the seats. Back to the right and dead silence – until the reader passed over the top of the next row of seats and picked up beeping. This happened down the entire row, and I have no idea why.
It was then time to hit the spot I was dreading most – the board room. Greg explained that the thermostat in the room had been known to drop from 60 to 40 in the blink of an eye while in there, so to keep our eyes on it. I, however, was concentrated on the head of the table – right where someone was shot point blank in the face.
I guess I totally forgot about the fact that a spirit could be flicking my hair or touching my lower back at any moment, because I actually heard a voice (my own, as it turns out, like what in the actual fuck?) ask, “Can I sit here?” I sat at both ends of the table, reader in hand, and dared something to happen.
It didn’t, sadly, for anyone, so we were on to the top floor, or the ballroom.
You have to know that the Cuban Club was mainly considered a happy place back then, and now. It’s a place for weddings and celebrations, so the few horrific incidents that happened back in the day were just that – few. Therefore, much of the ghosts associated with the building are those who are relishing still in a happier time, and I found that out up in the ballroom area, which you’ll see here from the back.
It was cavernous, gorgeous, and I walked wall to wall with a reader. Suddenly, Greg yelled for me, as one of the other girls had snapped a photo that astounded him – and I was in it.
I had been in the far left corner of the ballroom, all by my lonesome while everyone else was on the right side, when one of our fellow tourees snapped a picture of me facing the wall. There in front of me, a height that towered maybe two inches over mine, mere inches from my body, was a white….something. I don’t want to say figure, and I don’t want to say orb. It’s sheer size would put me off of calling it that, and there was no distinct shape to make it a figure, but it was something. It was, as Greg said, a dance partner.
Boy snapped a photo of where I was standing to see if he could catch it, too, but nothing.
I tried texting the photo to myself from the girl’s phone after the tour, but it never came through. I wish I could show you; It was honestly something that sent chills straight up my spine, and I wish I could have it to gaze at forever.
From the ballroom balcony once fell a dancer- possibly on purpose? – and her ghost actually sent area detectives on a wild chase years ago. Her screams were heard from the ballroom, but when they entered there they could be heard from the basement. As they went downstairs, the screams started back up – in the ballroom. The cops continuously followed the noise, only to come up with nothing but a headache and a new-found appreciation for the paranormal.
Our last stop was the ground floor, and the place where all the action happened – though not for me. Even though I am the one who believes in ghosts, Boy was the one who had not one, but two experiences. Not to say he doesn’t believe in ghosts; he’s just more practical than I and thinks they’re unlikely.
The basement of the Cuban Club once held a pool in the back corner and it was said that a young boy, Jimmy, drowned there. His ghost is one that still haunts the basement, but only to a select few. It won’t interact with you unless you’re alone. The back left corner, up the steps, is where the body of water was. Behind the solid beige wall you see runs a hallway with a double set of doors on the right – and those proved very important to our night.
Greg told us about a young girl who spoke Spanish and scared the shit out of her father by standing in the back corner of the ground level, talking Spanish to seemingly no one – only to turn around and tell him it was Jimmy.
I told myself the ghost of a kid couldn’t be that bad, so I sat my ass down smack in the middle of the floor area and started talking to Jimmy in what limited Spanish I knew. I did it for about 5 minutes and the only thing to happen was that my EMF reader shut off for a good 30 seconds, then nothing. Jimmy just didn’t want to come out to play.
Someone else did, however, a couple minutes later when I was standing in the corner by the bar. I was slowly pacing with my reader when suddenly a chill shot up my neck and down both of my arms – which immediately felt like they were being lightly brushed over by someone’s hands. It was enough to stop me dead in my tracks. The sensation lingered going on half a minute, then disappeared altogether. I found myself stammering when telling Greg what happened, and he said it wasn’t unusual, just a good indication of someone trying to connect with me. This is me seconds after it happened, and you can see a smile on my face. Look, I really wanted a ghost friend, okay?
For all the time we’d gone through, and the things we’d heard and seen (or felt) I still had my doubts. What if things were placed strategically to make the readers go off? What if Greg was spinning convincing stories, instead of actual things that happened on previous tours? This was the most fun I’ve ever had doing something and, yes, I had a bit of my own experience, but I was still doubtful.
Until Boy turned from the back doors of the ground level and hustled over to me, murmuring something I never thought I’d hear him say.
“I think something is behind that door. It scared me so much that I actually just jumped. I just…I don’t know.”
As I said, Boy is logical. I’m the one that slips into worlds of fantasy and “what ifs,” whereas he keeps a level head. To hear him tell me this was a bit of a shock – and also some validation for the world of the paranormal, at least in my mind.
The doors were a double set much like you’d see in a gymnasium. They opened to a small courtyard surrounded by an 8-foot wall – meaning there was no possible way someone could be back there. However, when Boy was walking by the door, it suddenly begin to push inward then outward, as if something were trying to open it. It was too heavy to be moved by wind, too untouchable to be grazed by something outside. It was an enigma – and one of two.
As I was trying my best to speak to Jimmy, Boy was in the back hallway by the pool the boy drowned in, snapping photos. This was the second time he hurried over to me with a look of bewilderment on his face.
“Something just did this,” he said as he reached out to push down on my left shoulder. “And I took a picture as it was happening, and it looks like this.” Blurry, the entire thing, as if something foamy were standing right in front of it. He snapped one directly after just to be sure it wasn’t his camera and it was crystal clear. Had someone passed by him, touching him in the process?
He wasn’t sure, but it was the second time I could see he had been spooked, a highly unusual demeanor for him. And it was the second time I felt sure that, though there were a lot of busts at the Cuban Club, there was also something very real happening there.