From “Ghost Stories: St. Petersburg, Florida” (Tim Reeser)
Ft. De Soto was originally built to protect the Tampa Bay Area from the Spanish during the Spanish-American War of the late 1800s. It was abandoned by the 1920s, and eventually became a state park.
Stories of the fort:
*As the sun begins to set, hushed voices can be heard echoing off of the stone walls of the southernmost bunker.
*Phantom footsteps are heard and the apparition of a dripping wet, fully clothed man appears.
*Ft De Soto served as a morgue in 1980 when the ship, the Summet Ventura, hit the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Bodies of the deceased were stored there until proper facilities were available.
From “The Tampa Triangle: Dead Zone” (Capt. Bill Miller)
The ghost of the romantic trout fisherman:
*Just past the Ft. DeSoto Park toll plaza, the ghost of the Trout Fisherman may be seen in the grass flats.
*Likes females — he’s a lean, muscular man in his early 40’s, tousled, black hair, often wears dark sunglasses, a navy blue pocket T-shirt, dark shorts. Always wading in the water. Uses light spinning tackle and Love Lures (artificial shrimp).
*He flirts with women (two named in the book). They speak to him, he smiles. When they look back at him, he is gone.
*Possibly the spirit of Daulton Gray, who died in a violent death in 1994 (shot to death).
Word of Mouth:
*I have heard that a mother whose family was quaranteed at the Fort during a Yellow Fever epidemic is still looking for her children. The children contracted Yellow Fever and died; when she was told about this, the mother went insane. She started searching for the kids and never stopped — even after death. Her spirit is said to be wailing and crying out for the lost kids, even today. (Brandy)
*I seem to recall a story about a soldier or a man who appears to drag himself from the water and walks, dripping, through the Fort. (Brandy)
Note: My prior paranormal team unofficially investigated the site at least twice in the past 10 years. Each time, sensitives found nothing, equipment did not respond with anything abnormal. The paranormal pug brothers Odysseus and Achilles, did not note anything negative. Hence, we chose to follow up with this topic on the Urban Legends page. Both the fort and the story of the flirting fisherman were investigated by the team.