Ghosts among the grandeur inside the Tampa Theatre - FOX 13 News

Ghosts among the grandeur inside the Tampa Theatre

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Outside the Tampa Theatre, times moves by, but inside, it seems to stand still.

"Tampa Theatre opened in 1926 as a silent movie palace. We've been here ever since," said Jill Witecki.

Witecki can tell you about the visitors who have not left.

"Any old theater worth its salt has some ghosts," she said.

She says this one has five.

Like "Joe the Janitor." Witeki said he's worked here for years.

"After he passed, people started reporting Joe in the building," she said.

They know he is around when they hear his heavy footsteps and his keys jingling.

He is not alone. "The Lady in White" was here even before the Tampa Theatre was built.

"We think she died on this property, but we think it was before the theater was built. She was waiting for a stage coach on Franklin Street, and was hit and died on the property," Witecki said.

Few of the ghostly encounters are scary, but the Lady in White left one worker petrified. That employee vowed to never close again.

If you are sitting in a certain part of the theater, Witecki points out the first thing you may notice.

"The smells of coffee and cigarettes and lilac," she said.

That is "Fink Finley," who ran the movie projection machine. He decided to stick around after having a heart attack on the job.

"People who work up there feel like they are being tapped on the shoulder when it was time to switch over the film, or seeing a shadow rush over them," she said.

Patrons shouldn't be too frightened though, Witecki said these ghosts are not mean, they just don't want to be forgotten.

"There has been enough creepy stuff that's happened here that it's hard not to believe there is something still lurking around here," she said.

The Tampa Theatre's ghostly balcony tours are Saturday October 18 and Tuesday October 22 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

On October 25 and October 26 a "Lights off paranormal investigation" will begin at 8 p.m.

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