Dishing with Mark and Carrie…Halloween in GaYbor – Ybor City

TAMPA PRIDE 2018 Launch Kick Off

TAMPA PRIDE 2018 Kick Off Launch Party was held with singing performances by Christopher Knolton & emceed by Desiree DeMorney, the Tampa Pride 2018 community theme – “Diversity in Our Community”, and a live performance of “Hocus Pocus” with comedic area performers Daphne Feraro, Kathryn Nevets and Chi Chi Lalique.

We want to Thank everyone who helped support of a Kick Off Charity event for TAMPA PRIDE 2018, which is set for March 24th, 2018 in Historic Ybor City.

The Kick Off was hosted at the Hamburger Mary’s in Brandon. A special call out &  THANK YOU to Hamburger Mary’s owner Kurt King and all the TP Board members for a great night of hospitality.

Rays Stadium Search:

Hillsborough County leaks Ybor location for Rays Stadium bid.


This Weekend


This Sunday, Oct 29

3rd Annual Hell on Wheels Classic Car Show

Enjoy a walk down 7th Avenue to enjoy a vast array of American muscle and classic cars and motorcycles in Ybor City with the backdrop of the old brick buildings culminating the food, raffles and other prizes, benefiting veterans charities.

Sign in at The Dirty Shame at Noon Sunday, October 29th.

Entry is $20.00 pre-sale | $30.00 Day of Event


100% of the money goes to a veterans charity.

For more information call:

Kurt – 863-640-3949

Richard – 813-423-9048

Tuesday, Halloween Night

Ybor City Museum State Park

Oct 27 – Dec 1, 2017

25 Years

Wine Society Presents

HalloWINE Themed

Wine Tasting

Wed – 10/25 – Ybor City

Thurs – 10/26 – Seminole Heights

$20 includes Wines & Food Pairings Served

Starts at 7 pm

Join us this week for one of our most fun Wine Society Events of the year. At our Annual Halloween Candy & Spooky Wine Themed Pairing Event, you will enjoy spooky-themed Hallowine paired with all of your favorite chocolate treats and more.

The cost for our weekly Educational Wine Society Wine Tastings is only $20 and this includes the wines & food pairings served. RSVP’s for our weekly wine tastings are strongly suggested for this week’s event. Please call 813-999-4966 or email us at to RSVP

For more information about our Annual Halloween Candy & Spooky Wine Themed Pairing Events please visit the Facebook event pages: Wed – Ybor City and Thurs   Seminole Heights City


Ghostly Lore Tales of and In Historic Ybor City


From our award winning past column in ” Dishing with Mark & Carrie” 2009 column of the ghostly times in Ybor City. We thought that would keep up the ghostly stories.

Talking with people about the historic Ybor City District reveals more and more ghost tales. Most recently, 3 weeks ago in fact at JJ’s Cafe, we met up with former proprietor of the former Lower Red Bar on 16th Street, Annie. Annie was with her boyfriend, Jay and one thing led to another. We made mention of the infamous Ybor gangsters and murdered gambling profiteer mobster, Charlie Wall. “This was one of his hangouts we understood.” I said. A ghostly trail of many lore and characters and who knows what in the earlier days of Ybor City. Gambling, prostitution, ethnic turf wars and the famed prohibition Ybor City bootlegging! Well, Ybor City is more than diverse!     The conversations went on to mention of ghosts. They had faces of horror on both of their faces.” We have a poltergeist demon in our upstairs apartment.” Annie said. as she pointed up. “ I mean it!” Jay went on to say that, ” (we’ve) have been living in our apt for over 2 years and unaccountable screeches, voices,, banging of pots, pots being tossed around, water turning on in the shower and our kitchen sink in the middle of the night and getting personally slapped and held down. Silhouette ghostly sightings are infrequent but both have observed white cloudy orbs! It is a weird experience.”     They both looked at each other puzzled and then said, ” We have to surround our bed with glass and candles every night or else!!” More info forth coming…    Ghostly Lore Tales of and In Historic Ybor City

In the almost thirty years in Tampa area we have always loved the uniqueness and historic aspect of Historic Ybor City. Yes, it is quaint, historic, ethnic and very open to a variety of cultures that keep it vibrant. No one group has a ruling hand in Ybor. It is a melting pot of kind. Just by its early beginning it served as a non-segregated community in Tampa. Often the beginnings of a village, are filled with terrific lore stories of ancestry or ghostly spirits of the past. I went out with pen, paper & camera into the historic area to find and hear about some of the historic Ybor City ghost lore stories. I started out with some old stories we have heard as being, “Oh that place is haunted.”     

    My reply is ,”Why and what have you heard that makes you tell me that… that place is haunted?” Here are a few of my interesting findings.


    Teatro on 7th, now closed in Centro Ybor (previous Big City Tavern) I had been told has a cynical spirited ghost in the 2nd floor of El Centro Espanol’s Building restaurants hallway from the kitchen to the dining room. Often tripping or pushing servers with a tray full of plates of food. Some servers say they feel like a rope came up and tripped their legs or someone pushing them on their shoulders. Owners chef, Bill and Leigh have more interesting stories. Many guests and workers have seen a beautiful Latino lady in a full floor length white dress in high heels and has been seen there in the restaurant numerous times. Very period piece timing and she is gone as quick as she is identified. Most recently a mischievous ghost has been making waves in Teatro with a quick push down the kitchenway. One of the owners, Jill was pushed from behind in the front of the bar and had bruises on her back to show for it. Nobody was around! This I was told, “happens a lot!”

And in a very eerie moment, workers were stripping and sealing the wood floor. They closed up late and when opened the next morning candle wax was puddled all over the floor near the huge floor to ceiling windows. The only candles around were new and had not been lit!  Yes, doors open and close by themselves at Teatro and yet nobody is around. And now it is an FBI office furniture store.


    King Corona on 7th Avenue had a lot of different operating tenants prior to the famous cigar /coffee shop. Previously Raul Vega for decades sold the finest in women’s clothing then La Nica Fashions was there up to 1997. Owner Don Barco gave me some of the chilling accounts that he has experienced and were told of his establishment. First was a taut cigar smoking gent who looked like a boss of the place. No it wasn’t present owner Don! This business gentlemen spirit had been spotted by customers and was said to be wearing a light colored fluffy shirt and the sleeves rolled up on this hairy armed ghost. He seems to be curious as to what customers like to buy!

Secondly is the sighting of a small smiling little girl. Store employee Sarah has seen the little girl and thought that her parents were around. She vanished. She has been seen by many customers and salesmen that call on Don. ” That is a cute little girl Don! Who is she?” he has been asked by a number of  reps and patrons. All describe a smiling little girl in a turn of the century Sunday dress. Is anyone missing any children?


    Island Florists on 7th Ave is a most unlikely place for a ghost. Flowers and gifts fill the local shop owned by Mario. I had heard of a co existing ghost at the store. HE is said to have been in the big fire in the 1920’s when a large portion of Ybor City was burned down including the brothel and the unlicensed casinos directly behind Island Florist. Mario showed me the fire and smoke marks still scoring the bricks almost 100 years later. The ghost makes the dog bark as he comes in through the ally screen door entry. He comes in quite frequently some days. It is said that he was burned to death in the fire leaving the brothel! He still marches around looking for an escape in the 15th street ally.


    The Italian Club of Tampa ( est. 1894) on 7th Ave is an ethnic pillar and the social outlet for many decades as a plaza auditorium for dances, dinners, card playing and community social events. This historic building has a singular aspect that isn’t scary but memorable. A number of members have seen past Italian Club President Paul Longo and a long standing board member (1920-1980’s) ghost walking around inside the huge social club auditorium and in the basement bar. Always working to keep it in ship shape condition.


    The Italian Club Cemetery on 22nd Street North is a private Italian Member Cemetery. But one of the most recalled stories that I was told from early 1980’s is the story of Italian club women working one day at the cemetery sprucing up the cemetery for the annual Italian Cemetery picnic putting in plants and trimming around the family gravestones. A lady on her knees was trying to get up from working when a smartly young dressed soldier came up and offered her his hand to help her up. She ‘Thanked Him very much’ and asked for his name not recognizing who he was and thought one of the other ladies had a relative coming to see the cemetery.

After she looked around and yelled to the other ladies, the well dressed muscular smiling soldier spirit vanished. Others have said to have experienced the same uniformed young gent at different times.


    Gaspar’s Grotto on 7th I talked with owner, Shere Schiller about the ghost appearing hands in pictures taken at the eatery and bars location. The pictures when they were developed have ghostly long hands around a small boy. Easy to see but unexplained! Noises are heard by patrons and employees in the back of the bar still occur. And nobody is back there! The pictures are still displayed!


    The Ritz on 7th has recently had a multi-million dollar makeover. It is a spectacular historic theatre and something else is too. Children are heard running, screaming and playing in the upstairs apartments corridors by a lot of the tenants. Sometimes disruptive, the playful noises come and go in this adult only apartment complex! Carla V. a manager of the Ritz, says she has had a few of the 2nd floor tenants tell her more suspicious stories. The residents look in the hallways and see nothing but faint to loud noises of children playing being heard, often! And as the story is told It seem some of the children living there in the 1930’s were playing “horsey” with friends and a younger brother who he fell over the 2nd floor balcony accidentally hanging himself.

And after that in the early 1970’s, the theatre projectionists, Beemer, knew the dazzling Ms Melanie Minyon. On occasion the  infatuated admirer of a very young Melanie had her come over to the Ritz. “On many occasions the projector in the projectionist room would just start running and show what ever movie was on the reels or with nothing on the movie reels. It just had a mind of its own.” Melanie said. ” Very eerie.”


    The Social (former Ybor Eagle) is a new phenomenon sighting that occurred by one of the bartenders, Shane. Working on opening and setting up the bar, all alone, noises came from the back of the bars restroom areas. Doors opening and closing. He was sure that he was the only one there but went to investigate the situation after a couple of doors started banging. Seeing that nobody else was there he walked back to the bar. Around the corner he heard chains rattling and taps on the wall. He left screaming and didn’t stop until he could go to the old Streetcar Charlie’s for some water. And probably a couple of beer!

Oh I just love gothic, terrorizing paranormal and ghostly stories.


    Czar ( former Tracks, Pleasure Dome, El Goya) on 7th has a lot of friendly ghost beings. I had to talk with the Ybor Diva Joey Brooks about encounters and stories she had heard. “Need not go any further. These are first hand encounters.” she said. First when a youngster, she started working at El Goya in the spot light room upstairs next to the office she and co-worker friend and small dwarf, Dolly were working the spot light in the very small cubby hole. The infamous drag show was getting ready to start. ” You have to realize this area we worked in was a tiny space right over the main bar.”  They heard footsteps and thought the manager (Warner) was checking up on them. But they noticed the manager down stairs next to the bartender. They waved for the bartender to have the manager go check upstairs as someone was walking around in the office. Security went and didn’t find anyone and locked the door. The show started and the lights were on stage with the performers and they heard the definite footsteps overhead again. Joey slipped a note for the bartender for the manager to check upstairs again. Again nothing and was yelled at by the security guy. The show was almost over and again the steps were loud above their heads in the little spot room space. All of a sudden a ghostly man in his white pant legs dropped through the cubby hole where they were working. Then just disappeared. Yes, it scared the ‘begeebers’ out them both!!! The lights went out…Sorry who was ever on stage.

Then in the back western themed bar one night Joey and a couple of other performers were getting ready before the club opened and walked down the hallway and there was a man in a white tailored suit, large white hat, smoking a stinky cigar.

    ” Are you suppose to be here?” Joey matter of factly asked then turned around and left. Calling a security guard to check it out as no one was suppose to be in the club yet. No one was there as they returned but the cigar smell was strong and smoke still was there. Others have seen this same ghostly man in white in all parts of the club. Upstairs and down!

A story Joey also shared was about the club was when it was the Havana Hotel and the Las Novedades  Restaurant. A chef and hot headed waiter had a quarrel and turned into a deadly knife fight. The dead waiters ghost has been seen in the club in a white waiters outfit.


    Don Vicente Hotel (old Gonzalez Hospital and Clinic) on 14th and 9th Ave we have been told that the basement bar of the hotel has had many visiting guests see spirits, and not from the bottle spirits kind either! This was the previous area of the past hospitals morgue. Known as “The hospital of the ‘un-dead’” as patients whom were thought to have had passed away were put in the cool basement morgue and miraculously came back to life. Some say hot weather outside in the hot summer Florida heat revived many and some say no explanation! In 2011 a family staying at the historic inn had a group picture taken on the classic stairwell. When they looked at the pictures later on, there was an older gentleman and a young girl in a white lace dress looking from the inside of the mirror out to the family. They sent a copy back to the hotel. Bizarre!


    Ybor Resort & Spa ( former Trelles Clinic & Hospital) on 8th Ave is another very bewitching and scary place. The building sat for years without any tenants or maybe they spiritly did. Before the remodeling to the new resort I personally can say this place was like going to the halls of a haunted house. Equipment left; a huge sanitizer machine, a bone crsherthe pot shape bone crusher in the morgue and the medical surgery room with the surgeons sinks. It wasn’t until I met up with owner, Fred Schwartz about the windows closing on their own. The doors on the 2nd floor rooms would never stay closed. The feeling of someone putting there hand up the back of your neck and hair line. It would end chills up your spine.

I remember calling televisions Sci Fi  Network TV Channels “Ghost Hunters” about this scary place. They responded as did HBO’s TV show, Paranormal, former local group leader of Bill Sharpe’s Ghost Watchers and SFPRS. On many 30+ tours of the old medical building we experienced anomalies, spirits, huge temperature changes, and things you just knew were ghosts and not tales!  We met the child in the pharmacy who yanked on a number of peoples clothing and said in Spanish on digital recording, “My name is Juan.”   I and others also met up numerous times and even filmed with the ghostly spirit Conchita Trelles, beautiful wife and nurse at the medical center to the womanizing Dr. Jorge Trelles. On one specific tour someone taking pictures didn’t realize it at the time but captured an image of a dark hazed ghostly person in the 2nd floor hallway.

Well, that is only a few sampling accounts of lore tales, unexplained spirits and stories in Historic Ybor City.

I know that I will be receiving more fun stories.


Ghosts Lore Adventure Stories and More of My Growing Up Years …

I just love the crispy fall season. It is reminiscent  of my younger days growing up in the colorful leafy wooded area in northern Wisconsin. I encountered many paranormal and ghostly stories of lore growing up. A few that really got my mind  going was the story of a Wisconsin River ferryboat captain murdered and was an American Civil War deserter  and ferry boat captain, Capt. Calvin Blood buried near St. Point, WI. The irony is that he was buried in the Blood Family Cemetery alongside the river. A lot of area kids, college students and residents went to see the grave site and often saw what appeared to be a ghost who was said to have whispered to many,  “I’m  Capt. Calvin Blood!”  He is said to have been murdered by a couple of crazy robbing ferry patrons. His ghost was here, there and everywhere!

I went to the cemetery one evening with a family friend St. Point Police Detective Audrey on a cool fall night to see if we would see the infamous Calvin! We took the police cruiser out to the cemetery in the early evening hour. We arrived at the tempered care cemetery and walked around to see where the Blood gravesite and stone was. Definitely a party place for young crowds in the area with beer cans spread around.

To our surprise the portable police radio started to screech and then went dead. We walked back to the cruiser and the car didn’t start. The battery was totally dead. We were a little on edge with both of the incidences that just occurred. We were stuck out in no where land. And not along a well traveled road. We walked around the fenced hallowed graves and grounds. The wind was whistling through the tall pine trees and we were sure we would see something out of the ordinary – ghost or something! Nothing but a sense of eeriness.

An hour later the police radio came back on unexpectedly and we called for a tow truck. The car was started by the truck driver. Oh well…. No signs of ghosts or apparitions but a truly weird northern night experience.

The second personal experience was also very surrealistic and genuinely honorific. I think everyone knows Alfred Hitchcock’s famous country motel movie, ” Psycho” a haunting Halloween season timed classic. The deranged movie is based upon a guy from our neighboring town. His name was Ed Gein; loner, handyman, farmer, murderer, taxidermist and cannibalist. He was one of America’s worst documented psychopaths, serial killers and a big ‘momas boy’! In fact he preserved his dead mother and had her body sleep in his bed with him.

As a youngster I recall, I went with my parents to see his farmhouse just a day after the cities newspapers breaking headline report. The county sheriff said that he was arrested  for murdering a hardware owner, Bernice Worden in rural Plainfield, Wisc. She was well known as the owner of the country hardware and farm store and both my parents and family knew her. The 2 lane rural highways around the isolated farm were packed with sheriff & police cars, TV trucks, cars and hundreds of neighboring rural people. He was known by our family because he had bought fresh vegetables and fruit from my Aunt Grace who had a fresh vegetable/ fruit roadside stand. Police traced him from the last receipt at the small country hardware store. They found the shop owner decapitated and strung up in his barn. Neighbors said that Gein would often offer them sausage meat saying it was deer meat and he was a known hunter. Hmmm.

Police investigators found human skull bowls, tanned human skin lampshades, human skin belts, ground up human meat, human made sausage and human organs in the refrigerator. Weeks after we had visited the gruesome site neighbors burned the farmhouse and out buildings down so it wouldn’t turn into a cult museum attraction. The whole area called Gein’s house the “house of horrors.”  Gein’s old pickup truck was sold to a circus as a sideshow exhibit.  Police said that they found a list of older area women’s names on a pad in the trashed dilapidated unkept farmhouse kitchen and Aunt Grace’s name was on the list.

Other movies also used this schizoid psycho mania guy as inspiration including  “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Silence of the Lambs.” They say ghostly sightings and paranormal odd things still are found around the Plainfield farm property today. He died in a Wisconsin Mental Asylum 1984.