Ghost Tour brings the spooky stories of Ybor City to life

TAMPA - As the sun sets along Seventh Avenue, Ybor City's Dark side starts to shine...

And Joe Howden couldn't be happier.

Joe is the man behind what has to be one of the coolest walking tours in town:  Showing off the Ghosts of Ybor City, and telling their stories:

"Well, it's a lot of fun," he told me as the two-hour-plus tour got under way.  "First of all, its a way of getting history in to the minds of those (folks). Sugar helps the medicine go down.  They get to learn a lot about history, they have fun and we investigate the paranormal so, its a lot of fun."

Especially so on the nights when Ybor is slow -- like on a recent Sunday session well attended by folks interested in history -- as well as "his" stories.

"People really enjoy it," said Joe.  "The tour is highly rated and I just love doing it.  I love being with the people and sort of exposing them to this.  I like to see the reactions on their faces as they have fun."

Fun that includes everything from a visit to the old morgue in the basement -- yes basement -- of the Don Vincente Inn with spirit sensors in hand...

...to sneaking into the dark Cuban Club and investigating the countless souls who would rather stay here, than move onto eternity...

"I've lived in Ybor City for 21 years," said Joe. "I've become a historian in Ybor City and and in the process, because I am also a paranormal guy I also was -- as I was collecting the history of Ybor City -- I was sort of collecting the ghost stories of Ybor City."  

"This is your time of year?" I asked.  
"Yes," he said. "This is it, we have a lot of fun now."

And you can have fun too -- tours are set up through the official Ybor City Ghost Tour website www.yborghosttour.com

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