TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Those who love the paranormal and history buffs alike can take a guided walking tour around Tampa’s iconic Ybor City, but there’s no telling what may be seen inside some of the buildings.
The Official Ybor City Ghost Tour takes guests on foot to six stops around Tampa’s “most haunted” neighborhood.
“We take you all through all the social clubs of Ybor which were designed by the immigrants that came this way from Italy, from Spain, Germany, Romania and, of course, Cuba,” said Max Herman, tour guide and manager of the Official Ybor City Ghost Tour.
The tour will also stop in places like Rock Brothers Brewing and Cerealholic to tell some of the “hundreds” of ghost stories around Ybor City.
The tour is the only tour in Ybor City that has access inside the Cuban Club, named by the Travel Channel as one of its Top 10 Most Haunted Places.
One of Herman’s favorite stories is in the building built in 1917. He said it’s hard it’s to pick just one favorite, because these stories of history are “all his babies” and he takes pride in bringing people into the building and telling groups about the spirits that occupy them.
“I have one dear to my heart that’s in the theater,” he said of the Cuban Club. “Don’t want to give away too many details, but I always save the theater for last because it is the most haunted room in this entire building.”
There is nothing “hokey” or “cheesy” about this tour, nothing jumps out at guests like a haunted house at a theme park, so different groups will have different experiences with the “other side.”
“People [ask] me all the time, ‘am I going to see a ghost?’ I can’t guarantee that, because there is no machine, [nothing] I can do to make him pop out or anything. They’re not in cages like the Ghostbusters,” said Herman.
He said what he does is simply bring his tour groups into these historic buildings and tell factual stories about what happened there, as well as some personal experiences he has had himself.
“Then after that, well, I pretty much let the spirits in the buildings do the rest of the talking,” he said.
In addition to being the only tour with access inside the Cuban Club, Herman said tour guides’ passion for what they do sets them apart from other tours in Ybor City and even around the nation.
“Our guides have a lot of pride in what we do here. You know, from Steve, to Tom, to myself we’re pretty well-versed in all the history of Ybor, Tampa, Florida. Bringing people into these haunted buildings, well it’s a dream come true for us. So every time we have a tour, it’s the best job we’ve ever had,” he said.
Tours are available seven nights a week and capacity is capped around 25 people. The walking tour lasts around 90 minutes. If the scheduled tour times fill up, another tour around 10:30 p.m. will open up.
A 10:30 p.m. tour is available every weekend during October.
“So if you’d like to come a little bit later, when things get a little crazier around Ybor City, then I would suggest booking that tour,” Herman said.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 8-12.