Tampa, FL

Would you visit the (allegedly) haunted Old Tampa Book Company in Tampa, Florida?

Evie M.

There is nothing quite like a good book store. I love the smells, the gentle sounds. I could melt into a good book and lose track of time for hours. I wonder if that would change in a haunted book store, though.

If you've been out to Tampa, you'd know it can be quite an exciting place. But did you know it is stuffed with paranormal activity and ghosts stories as well? I didn't. Or at least, not to the extent I do now. One such place caught my eye, too. The Old Tampa Book Company.

What makes the Old Tampa Book Company so haunted?

The Old Tampa Book Shop, though permanently closed since 2017 due to a "maintenance issue", was once a staple of old Tampa and a historic stop for decades.

Originally, the book shop was the Richard Bennett Tailor shop, but in 1989 the entire store lay abandoned, with every machine and stitch of fabric left behind. David and Ellen Brown saw an opportunity, and made a deal to earn three free months of rent if they gutted the shop. From there, the Old Tampa Book Company took off.

After arriving in Tampa from Rochester New York in 1992, David was unhappy with his job, and, an avid lover of books (with a collection of 4,000 before he even came to Florida), the Old Tampa Book Company seemed like an easy fit.

Ellen and David ran the shop faithfully for twenty long years until Ellen's health took a turn and they wanted to move closer to family again. The shop was sold to her long-time trusted employee Carrie Carnes and her husband.

After taking ownership of the shop, Carrie started noticing strange things happening. Unexplainable things. Carrie claimed she often thought that the books "might contain the energy of their previous owners.”

Carrie said she would leave for the night and come back to "subtle changes". She'd leave, turning off all the music and lights only to come back and find them on again. Chairs move on their own. Most interestingly, one night the burglar alarm went off. Carrie rushed over to find nothing but a pair of bloody scissors on the ground along with blood.

The mystery leaves you wondering if the crook cut themselves trying to get in, or if they were trying to defend themselves from something, or something was defending the shop?

Can you take a ghost tour of the Old Tampa Book Company?

Considering the closure back in 2017 and that the shop has yet to reopen. (If you Google it, sadly, it has a big red "permanently closed" note right beneath it). However, that doesn't mean you can't take a tour around the outside, plus all the other amazingly haunted places Tampa has to offer.

There are many different companies offering guests tours of historically haunted Tampa and Ybor as well. One of the top companies offering their guided services to ghost enthusiasts would be none other than "Tampa Terrors". Their tour offers guests a one hour, one mile walking tour of all of Tampas haunted hot spots, and yes, that includes taking a peek at the closed Old Tampa Book Company and hearing the history.

Tours are held nightly "rain or shine", and guests will meet in the middle of Historic Tampa, right beside the also haunted Tampa Theater at 711 N. Franklin Street, Tampa FL. For those interested in a synopsis, the website says, "Tampa Terrors will take you to some of the most fascinating, spirit infested corners of the city. With a proud history of piracy, blockade running, bootlegging, and organized crime Tampa has a rich seam of hauntings to mine."

Sounds like a fun time to me. I can't wait to book a tour. My only question is: Who's coming with me?

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"Reader beware, you're in for a scare!--R.L. Stine"

Orlando, FL

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