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Tampa Bay, Florida, Hauntings: Belleair and Clearwater Beach
Hauntings in Florida
If you have visited Clearwater Beach, Florida or even the state of Florida, you might not realize how much paranormal activity really occurs here. The sun's rays and pristine beaches mask the fact that the state of Florida has a deep historic past, and a very haunted past at that.
Some of the hauntings in Florida include places in Clearwater Beach, Florida and also in Belleair, Florida. Let's explore some of the creepiest ghost stories in the Tampa Bay area.
The Haunted Belleview Biltmore Hotel
The Belleview Biltmore Hotel in Belleair, Florida is one of the most haunted places in Florida. It was built in 1896 and opened its doors to the public in 1897 and owned by Henry Plant, the father of Morton Plant, a pretty well-known name around Pinellas County, Florida. The Belleview Biltmore Hotel is even on the list of National Historic Landmarks.
Among the dark, yet elegant hallways of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, something ghostly lingers. There have been dozens and dozens of people, both paranormal investigators and non-believing guests, that have witnessed ghosts' apparitions, ghostly voices, and extremely odd feelings in many areas of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel. The third, fourth, and fifth floors of the haunted Belleview Biltmore Hotel seem to give way to the most paranormal activity, as well as the creepy hallways.
Ghost apparitions dressed from many different decades past have been seen wandering the halls and in different guests' rooms, including ghosts that appear to be dressed in 1930s garb. One particular ghost that appears to be a pretty lady in white and wearing a hat from the early 20th century appears on the grounds of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel quite often, and many believe her to be the ghost of Maisie Plant, the wife of Morton Plant. Apparently she was famed for wearing a set of 1.2 million dollar pearls (keep in mind this was purchased in the early 20th century) of which she traded her New York penthouse in order to acquire, and many people believe that she lost this set of expensive pearls at her husband's hotel, the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, and that she is still searching for her pearls...even in death.
Another infamous ghost story of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel is about a young bride who lost her new husband in a car accident. Apparently she jumped to her death from a fourth floor balcony and can be seen from time to time staring out from the very balcony she jumped from years ago. Many claim she's wearing her bridal gown and veil when they see her.
Children's ghosts have been seen and felt in the Belleview Biltmore Hotel by many different guests and psychics. Strange noises such as sighs, groans, and even full-blown arguments can be heard by some guests but the source of which can never be found.
Unfortunately, most of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel has been demolished, as it was removed from the National Historic Landmark Registry in 2017. A small part of the hotel was moved 230 feet from its original location, and it is said that it will be used as a "boutique hotel" in the near future. What a shame! The ghosts will be especially restless on the property following this demolition.
Hauntings in Clearwater Beach, Florida
Of the hauntings in Florida, and in addition to the Belleview Biltmore Hotel hauntings, Clearwater Beach itself is haunted by a white ghost lady. Many witnesses have seen her running down the beach in an utter panic, then to disappear at some point in her chaotic run. The ghost woman appears to be in her twenties and it is believed that her soon-to-be-husband or new husband was shipped off to war during WWII and was probably stationed at Clearwater Beach during the 30s or 40s. There used to be a Coast Guard station, as well as a Military Police Training Barracks on Clearwater Beach back in those days.
If you're thinking, why is Clearwater Beach a haunted place in Florida? Before the state of Florida was a part of the United States, there were Native Americans here just like all of the other states in the US. These Natives fought with the Spanish in many bloody battles all over the state of Florida. There is bloodshed in Florida dating back hundreds of years. That coupled with the fact that pirates used to scavenge up and down the coast of Western Florida adds to the mysterious energies and hauntings in Florida.
Besides ghostly hauntings in Florida, specifically in the waters of Clearwater, Florida, there have been sightings of strange creatures as well. The reports refer to it as the "three-toed beast of Clearwater". Apparently in the late 1940s, a beast emerged from the waters off of Clearwater Beach and left its terrifyingly ugly tracks up and down the beach. The tracks were fourteen inches long and consisted of three toes; these tracks seemed to be bird-like but also appeared to be reptilian in nature. As of recently, there was a man that came forward and said the he had made the tracks as a hoax back in the 40's, but sightings of the beast have also occurred...so who do we believe here?
The Royalty Theater in Clearwater Beach is another locally famous haunting in Florida. A ghost by the name of "Captain" wanders the floors of the Theater and is said to look like a Captain of a fishing boat with a blue coat, long goatee, and fisherman's hat. There are other ghosts in the Royalty Theater, as well. A little girl is said to be one of the ghosts, as well as a previous owner who was killed in a hate crime.
Clearwater Beach is a beautiful and happening tourist attraction and a local favorite. It's beaches are gorgeous and family-friendly...for the most part. Even with Clearwater Beach's beautiful sandy beach and busy restaurants and shops, there might be ghosts around every corner...maybe the ghost of a pirate from Blackbeard's days, or the ghost of a Native or Spaniard from the battles hundreds of years ago, or maybe it'll be a ghost that no one else has seen before.
There are hauntings in Florida...and more than any tourist and most locals could even imagine.
Haunted Clearwater BeachClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2011 Nicole Canfield