Tampa’s Haunted Oaklawn Cemetery

January 22, 2016

Channeling a Ghost in Tampa’s Oaklawn Cemetery

By:  Rebecca Genesis 

—– Known for its sightings of ghosts and apparitions, Oaklawn Cemetery is the area’s oldest public burial ground located in Downtown Tampa, Florida.  Established in 1850, It is the final resting place to many notables of the area throughout history, including cigar magnate Vicente Martinez-Ybor.  There you can discover the graves of pirates, slaves, victims of Yellow Fever, and confederate soldiers.  You will also notice it has a collection of very unique graves.

—– Although I grew up mostly in the Tampa Bay area, I hadn’t heard of Oaklawn Cemetery or it’s haunted reputation.  At least until I came across a video documenting evidence of a haunting on the city’s oldest graveyard.  It was the very next day when I felt compelled to pay what I’m sure will be the first of many visits to Oaklawn Cemetery.

—– Here is the video I watched showing two separate clips of what I would consider to be a large orb and an apparition of a woman in an old-style dress, respectively.  You can watch for yourself below:

—– Intriguing, right…?

—– Upon arriving to the cemetery in downtown Tampa, I couldn’t help but feel a tingling in my stomach.  I have visited other purportedly haunted cemeteries before, but this time, it felt different.  My excitement grew as I realized that I was also the only visitor to Oaklawn Cemetery at that particular time.  I greeted the spirits of the dead as I walked through the entrance.  I announced that my name is Rebecca and that I was there for evidence of the afterlife, and to know their stories.

—– Taking pictures of the beautiful Oaklawn Cemetery grounds felt like an honor.  I continued to speak with the departed both out loud and in my mind as I passed their gravesites, even clearing some of any debris.  It was amazing to connect to various lives from the past by reading epitaphs of who they once were, when they lived, died, and sometimes even how they perished.

Mystery grave of unknown soldier.

Mystery grave of unknown soldier.

—– After making my way around the graveyard, I wanted to find somewhere to conduct a quick Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) session and also attempt some channeling with my pendulum.  I found a set of stairs coming from an old dilapidated white building that serves as maintenance shed.  I didn’t realize until later I was facing the exact place where the large orb and full bodied ghost woman wearing a dress were captured.

—– Once I wrapped up my EVP session, I retrieved my crystal pendulum from my bag of ghost hunting gear.  What I wanted to know more than anything else was which grave belonged to the ghost woman who made herself known on video.  I felt as if something cool was going to happen, but I just wasn’t sure what.  Anticipation ran through my body as I began channeling.

—– For those who aren’t familiar, when using a pendulum you have a “yes” answer and a “no” answer depending on which direction or how the crystal moves.  These movements which represent “yes” and “no” can vary from one person to the next.  I established my corresponding movements in the beginning of my relationship with my amethyst crystal pendulum.  I’ve found it’s a surprisingly easy way to commune with those on the other side whether they be spirit guides or ghosts.

—– Once I knew I was connected with my own spirit guide, I asked him to introduce me to the woman who was showing herself as a ghost in the graveyard.  I quickly received confirmation that she was with me.  Next I requested she point the pendulum to the area where her grave was located.  Without hesitation, the crystal moved toward the northeast direction of where I was sitting.  I acknowledged her answer and then once again asked her to confirm I had the correct direction. The crystal responded with, “yes.”

—– I then asked the ghost woman to respond with a “yes” when I counted to the correct number of rows her grave was located at from where I was sitting.  As I counted, “1,” nothing happened.  I said, “2,” yet the crystal remained still.  But, as I spoke, “3”, the pendulum began to move to, “yes”.  I then looked straight at a gravestone that kept pulling my attention the entire time I was sitting on the steps.

—– It was a grave I had missed as I walked the perimeter of Oaklawn Cemetery, being that it was more toward the center of the grounds.  As I stared at it from a distance, I once again sought validation from the woman’s ghost by asking, “Is that your grave?”  The pendulum strongly swung to, “yes.”  I then told the ghost woman, “thank you,” as I closed out the channeling session.  Eagerly, I gathered my belongings to investigate the gravestone I had missed earlier while taking photos.

—– As I approached the supposed gravestone, once again, the tingling sensation came back to me from earlier.  But, this time it was stronger, and I felt in total suspense of what was to happen next.  I wasn’t sure why, yet, until I got close enough to read the name…

—– “Rebecca,” I read aloud, stunned.  The marker was so old, I couldn’t make out the last name, at least at first.  But, it didn’t matter, because I already had chills throughout my entire body.  That’s my name, I thought to myself.  And, the only other Rebecca I happened upon during my visit to Oaklawn Cemetery.

The grave of Rebecca Crawford.

The grave of Rebecca Crawford.

—– What are the odds?  I wondered.  Then again, I am the “Queen of Strange Happenings.”  As I got closer, I ran my finger on the gravestone to make out Rebecca’s last name.  “Crawford” I was finally able to decipher.  “Rebecca Crawford,” I said out loud.  “Pleasure to meet you, Rebecca.”  I immediately felt even more connected to the ghost who seemed to want me to know who she was.

—– I couldn’t make out the dates of the epitaph due to damage.  Like a lot of the other grave markers that looked like they had been broken by vandals, Rebecca’s gravestone had also been cemented back together.  I was able to find an older photo of the grave online which clearly showed the death date of “–54” which I knew had to be 1854.  I quickly realized that I would, without a doubt, be coming back to visit with the ghost of Rebecca Crawford and the other souls whose final resting places are in Oaklawn Cemetery.

—–As I left the old burial grounds, I bid the spirits of yesteryear goodbye and promised them I would be back.  Upon reviewing my photos and digital voice recorder, I wasn’t able to confirm any evidence of the afterlife.  However, I did have a very powerful personal experience, and that was enough for me.  At least until next time…

—– After my experience, I innately knew that I was meant to at least try to learn the story of Rebecca Crawford.  Sometimes all ghosts need are acknowledgement of their story so they are able to move beyond being stuck on the Earth plane.  An online search revealed nothing of her life or death, so further reasearch will require a trip or two to the local library in the near future.

—– I’ll be sure to write another article on any findings I can make about this ghostly woman claiming to haunt Tampa’s oldest cemetery.  If you want to pay a visit Oaklawn Cemetery, it is located at the corner of Morgan Street and Harrison Street, Tampa, FL 33602.  It is open to the public during daytime hours only.

—– In the meantime, feel free to check out my photo gallery, where you can also find my photos from my visit to Oaklawn Cemetery.

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—–Can you see them too…?