This challenge was sent to us via email:
I would like to see what she can find out about the the “mini-lights” stories involving the area around Boca Ciega High and the nearby cemetery. Not sure if anyone still knows what I’m talking about…
Mini Lights, Midget Lights
The information I have on the urban legend of the “Midget” or “Mini Lights” was told to me from my masseuse, Josh. One day I was enjoying Josh’s most wonderful massage and we were discussing strange occurrences in Saint Petersburg and this story just came out of nowhere. Josh told me that he used to hang out with his African American high school friends at the park while enjoying a few beers and social time. The story of the “Mini/Midget Lights” is mainly a local African American urban legend.
The legend states that there was an old woman who lived on 5th Ave S, just off of what is now 16th St S. She lived in a nice home and had either owned the land in front of her home or it belonged to the city. Either way, the land was eventually taken and a park was built. This did not sit with the old woman and that is when it all began.
This woman was known to be affiliated with the circus (Ringling???) and had two midgets living inside her home. It is said that at dusk she would send out these two midgets with bats to drive out the “trespassers” from the land she so loved. These midgets turned into two balls of light, thus the “Mini Lights” as the tale has been passed on through time.
Josh said that at dusk his friends would become agitated and the park would quickly empty. He swears they were all very serious and scared to death saying the “Mini Lights” will get you.
Josh took Vicky and I to the small bridge that covers a small creek in the park. This apparently was the only way to get out of the park and this was the prime area of attack by the mini lights. As we were on the bridge we encountered a man and Josh asked him if he had ever heard of the mini lights and explained it to him as he did not know. He just moved to the area.
This urban legend is a hit or miss. Some people who are familiar with this legend refuse to even talk about for fear of bringing the “Mini Lights” about. Almost like it is taboo to even mention them. I was amazed that someone even sent an email inquiring about this urban legend. I wish she would write more on what she knows. I am highly curious.
I see that this is listed at Boca Ciega, which is in Gulfport. I’m not sure what to make of this.
Update. the woman lived on what is now 7th Ave S. The park is Campbell Park.
Merry Lights, the Troll: This reminds me of a second myth that I have heard relating to the Brooker Creek area. It is that of “Merry Lights”, the troll who allegedly lives under the Brooker Creek Bridge. The story I heard is that he can be summoned by calling out his secret name three times. I have heard similar stories of people being terrified to be out there, or of kids who try to summon the troll by using a secret name for him. I don’t know if these are related or not.
Sumbitted by reader (July 18, 2008): I’m 28 years old I was born and raised here in St.Petersburg. I grew up hearing
About the Mini- Lights. I wonder about them and know so many people that believe in them. Most of my family believe in them also. Don’t even speak of them to my sisters! From what I know of the story is that they are little green people who
will chase or kill u and that you — better not speak disrespectfull about there mother! They live around or between the park and Booker Creek. It is also said they live near or on railroad tracks mostly on the tracks on 31 St S. I know the creek is a scary place mostly at night but you it must be night to see the Mini-Lights. Ask anyone who grew up in st.petersburg and they will tell you about the Mini- Lights well those who are not scared to speak of them. I would love to hear more or help in busting the myth. I that most people that grew ip in s st.petersburg believe in them.
Memonite, Minnie Lights, Midgets
These versions were given to me by a co-worker whose family moved here in the 1940s.
All versions have the midgets and a woman in them, but the location and the “word” change. No one seems to know exactly where the midgets came from, but they apparently lived with the woman or at least on her property
1) If you walked around her house 3 times at night and said the word “Mennonite” then she and the midgets would come out and chase you. This version has her living near a church off of 22nd Av S between 16th and 19th St.
2) The lady’s name was “Minnie” and this is where the name of “minnie lights” comes from. If you walked around her house 3 times calling her name, the same as above would happen.
3). In the other variation she would come out of her house, now in the urban legend located off Booker Creek, and would send the midgets to chase you down. This version was told to the kids at the Boys and Girls Club from what I understand.
The Tampa Bay Times did an article on the Mini Lights and referenced this page! Published 10/28/16 online and 10/30/16 in the newspaper. Here is the link: http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/have-you-seen-the-mini-lights-haunting-st-pete-these-people-have/2300409#comments
10/6/2017: I saw the Vitale Brothers yesterday as they were working on a mural. I stopped to chat briefly about the Mini Lights movie they are making. They had discovered a new article on the legends. It’s rather tragic, though it fits with Florida’s very dark history. As it was explained to me by Jonny Vitale, it was not uncommon to hunt alligators in this state. Hunters needed bait and so they would get their dogs, their lanterns, and their supplies to go gator hunting. In order to find bait, they would raid the homes of the African American community to grab their children and babies. These would be tied with a rope and left on the banks as a way to entice the gators to come out of the water. Thus, the mini lights legend relates to the saying in these communities that if you saw the mini lights coming (the men in the distance with their lanterns), to grab the children and run. This fits with the concept of being chased by the lights, and even the threatening undertone of the legend.
They learned about this through an article published in the Weekly Challenger. I found a copy of that article online. You can read it here: http://theweeklychallenger.com/mini-lights-folklore-as-a-way-to-deal-with-trauma/
Area 3: Debbie reported a dark/heavy feeling on this bridge (below) She stayed to try for video and EVP, with no results.