June 15, 2001
St. Petersburg, Florida
11/7/13 We got a mention here: http://downtownstpete.ilovetheburg.com/article/Good-Land-Series-Historic-Roser-Park/4225
As published in Bayside News, June 15, 2001.
By: Brandy Buchanan
Roser Park is the aged heart of St. Petersburg. It is a place that is both steeped in history and shrouded with mystery. Currently a historic district, the energies of ages-old Roser Park merge with new constructions, renovations, and families, setting up the contradictory conditions perfect for specters of the past to reveal themselves.
Originally, the land surrounding Booker Creek belonged to the first true Floridians: the Tocobagan Native American tribe. Though they had no metal, nor had they discovered the wheel, the Tocobagans lived off the land, they were well adapted to this region, surviving Florida in the time before the invention of air conditioning. Though a flourishing culture, the Tocobagans were quickly wiped out in the sixteenth century with diseases, warfare, and the cultural clashes introduced by the landing of the Europeans. They left behind little but their shell tools and mounds.
Fast forward time to just after the turn of the 20th century. Charles Martin Roser, a wealthy man, had just sold his unique cookie recipe, the Fig Newton, and his factory to Nabisco. In 1911, he and his wife Ruth moved into the area where his parents, John and Caroline Roser, already lived: St. Petersburg. Enthralled with the land, Charles immediately began to buy property along Booker Creek, and built a total of 80 houses between 1911 and 1921.
Roser was one of the first substantial contributors to St. Petersburg. He had 6th Street S. to Central Ave. paved in order to allow traffic to come into his new development. He built and furnished the first nurses’ residence for Mound Park Hospital (now Bayfront Medical Center) and helped to establish Mercy Hospital, St. Petersburg’s first hospital for African Americans. He donated land for the Roser Park Elementary School, originally located at Sixth Street and Ninth Avenue South (now a parking lot for All Children’s Hospital).
Yet, for all that, Roser’s dream ended, like many other men’s’ dreams, during the Great Depression when he had to sell his home for taxes. The house was later demolished. Still, he had created his own legacy in St. Petersburg, one that was destined to remain in tact for the next 60 years.
Which is where the S.P.I.R.I.T.S. team arrives on the scene.
We were called in to examine one residence in this area: a two-story house built shortly before 1920, a grand old place sitting atop the Tocobagan kitchen mound overlooking Booker Creek. In its long past, it had housed a number of residents including an enlisted woman, who was rarely home and a rather odd family who resided only on the first floor of the house. For a time it stood boarded up and vacated and became the home to several vagrant people before it was reopened and restored. In the next chapter of its existence, the house is the home of a family of three, “Jeff”, “Valerie”, and their 10-year-old daughter “Sydney”.
Since moving into the house 8 months ago, “Jeff” has sensed a male presence walking down the stairs and into the kitchen, then back up the stairs late at night. Valerie, who often works at home, hears footsteps on the second floor when she is alone at home. She has also noticed that things she sets down in the kitchen appear to be relocated when she returns to fetch them. Both parents experienced temperature fluctuations in their bedroom, particularly at night, in which the temperatures fluctuate from being very warm to quite cool. Even their daughter, Sydney, has had some experiences. She was the first to sense the presence and alert her parents to it, especially when it liked to open the closet door in the guest bedroom when no one was looking.
This was a most unusual ghost hunt, which proved to be rather enigmatic. Despite the total team’s agreement that there was something in the house very little registered upon tape, video recorder, or film!
Yet, the sensations were quite often immediate: shortly after entering the residence, one of the more sensitive S.P.I.R.I.T.S. members sensed the presence of an old woman in the computer room located downstairs. He did not feel that the ghost was happy or unhappy, merely confused.
Moving through the house to the stairwell, several members reported feeling cold spots and goosebumps as they climbed. As the team moved to the second floor, our EMF (electromagnetic field) meters registered high levels of energy in a doorway-lined hallway coming off the stairs. Four doorways face each other in a cross-like pattern, leading to a guestroom, the master bedroom, the daughter’s room, and to a bathroom. The readings remained consistent in the hallway itself, yet ended several steps inside each doorway. Only the bathroom held no energy inside (perhaps, as ghosts have no corporeal bodies they no longer need to use it!) Inside the guestroom, another member sensed moving energy, moving from one corner to the other, which she thought, was a male presence.
Lastly, the area of the fireplace held great EMF energy. Could it be that the house, built on or near the Kitchen Mounds of the Tocobagan tribe, channels energy through what might be considered the hearth of the home?
“This was the strongest energy level I have experienced to date,” Lee said. “This high energy level may be from one or more of the occupants, past residue from prior occupants, or may emanate from the Indian mounds which surround the home.”
It appears that, for now, Roser Park is unwilling to divulge its secrets to outsiders. Only time and repeated investigations may help solve the mystery of the miscellaneous tenants that reside inside.
History of house:
Built in 1920 and no records found before that by current residents though they will keep searching after given other avenues to try by Brandy. Other residents of the house included a woman who was in the Navy that lived there for 3 years though rarely home. After she left the house was abandoned, boarded up and occupied by vagrants. The tenants before Jeff & Veronica only stayed one month and according to Veronica refused to live upstairs on second floor. The laundry was the only sign of habitation and the rest was used for storage. According to Veronica the living room is built on top of a Native American kitchen mound. The entire area of Roser Park is built on Indian Mounds.
History of haunting:
Currents residents are a family of three: “Jeff” “Valerie” and “Sydney”. Jeff and Veronica have both had paranormal experiences in the past and have both seen ghosts before. Both are very open to the paranormal and the spirits in the house. Jeff has had OBE, past life, and followed many paths with different religions in his life. Valerie’s sensitivity runs strongly in her family. They’ve been in the home for 6 months and felt activity from the first month with Sydney being the first to realize something was in the house though Valerie had an idea. All three have witnessed/felt phenomena while alone or together including: dark shadows out the corner of the eye, footsteps upstairs when home alone day or night, doors opening and closing, frig door standing open, objects falling around the house such as the rods from unconstructed cd rack, small objects moved or not as they were left, master bedroom temperature changes of extreme hot/cold. F has seen a dark shadow of a man walk down the stairs and into the kitchen before returning by the same path on numerous occasions and always around midnight. The family feel this ghost is coming form the closet in the guest bedroom which has metal rings mounted along the wall. No idea what/why these are there. Sydney was reluctant to move in her current bedroom which is the purple room stating she felt uncomfortable. The family doesn’t feel threatened but would like to know what’s going on and confirm their thoughts on the haunting.
There are 2 ghosts in the home; the male from upstairs and the elderly woman in the office. The male is protective and curious especially of Sydney, though he doesn’t want to be a bother. I feel as if the male is making rounds at night, making sure everyone and everything is okay, and keeping an
eye on the house as well as the family. The family doesn’t feel threatened which I think is making the ghosts comfortable, too. The fireplace and the little landing on the second floor leading to the hall/bedrooms is like a vortex/crossroads for activity in the house.