As the oldest European settlement in the United States, Pensacola is one of the most well-known vacation destinations; for good reason. Its ghostly white beaches, breathtaking vistas, and immersive tours are some of the best the country has to offer. Perhaps the most significant reason Pensacola is such a tourist haven and all-around intriguing destination is its rich haunted history.
Pensacola boasts a long and well-documented supernatural past. Every corner brims with
paranormal sites and urban legends. Among these sites are Coon Hill Cemetery, civil war era Fort Barrancas, and the famous Pensacola Lighthouse. As a matter of fact, the “City of Five Flags” has been featured on dozens of TV shows such as; Ghost Hunters, Ghost Brothers: Light's Out, Second Sight Paranormal TV, Haunted Collector, Pensacola: Wings of Gold, and Destination America.
Of all the haunted locations Pensacola has to offer, none are as haunted as Seville Quarter entertainment complex. Seville Quarter consists of ‘seven rooms of fun’ with varying themes from dancing to fine dining and everything in between.
For centuries, Seville Quarter and its surrounding areas have seen a great deal of unexplainable ghost sightings, disappearances, and hauntings so spooky, it will make your heart throb. But what exactly separates Seville Quarter from other haunted Pensacola locations? To answer that question, look no further than Seville Quarter’s torrid yet exhilarating history.
Founded in 1967 by Bob Snow, Seville Quarter originally opened as Rosie O'Grady's Warehouse. It is one of the oldest restaurants and nightclubs in Pensacola. However, the building was built in 1871 as the Pensacola Cigar and Tobacco Company. The building and area have played host to many businesses over the years; not to mention an array of chilling true-life stories.
One such tale is the tragic story of Sarah Wharton and her father in the early 1800s. Her life was cut short when pirates attacked her and her father as they took an evening stroll. After witnessing the bloodthirsty buccaneers shoot her father, she made a spirited attempt to fight back. In turn, she was decapitated and her mangled corpse was left for the townspeople to find the next morning. There have been several sightings of her headless body floating down Romano and nearby streets. Others report having experienced her manipulating lights, phones, and office machines.
In the late 1800s, Pensacola benefited from a thriving downtown seaport, compliments of the lumber industry. Port of Pensacola’s success also resulted in thriving brothels & saloons. Though prostitution was illegal, the police turned a blind eye to the red-light district, and the brothel business continued until the early 1940s when it was shut down. It is generally believed that the upstairs office area of Seville Quarter is where the brothel operated. Many perished during those booming years. Illnesses, poverty, inadequate medical care, and deplorable living conditions strongly contributed to many of their deaths. The upstairs area of Seville Quarter remains haunted by the brothel women as many visitors report seeing, hearing, and sensing their spirits on occasion.
Ghost children are also seen upstairs. Older blueprints suggest that the upstairs ladies' restroom was previously a bedroom used to seclude the children of “working ladies” from the brothel activity. Locals and visitors report sightings of ghost children playing with a red ball and hearing children’s laughter throughout Seville Quarter.
Another spirit haunting Seville Quarter is that of Angela Buchanan, a secretary who worked there. She was brutally murdered off-site by her boyfriend in June 2000. A few of her co-workers still feel her presence today. When Buchanan was alive, she used to playfully push one of her co-workers from behind when they walked up the stairs together. Oddly enough, the co-worker states that whenever she is on the stairs, she often feels a soft nudge from behind on exactly the same step every time. She believes it is her beloved co-worker and friend’s way of saying hello. Seville Quarter hosts “A Night of Stars;” a silent auction fundraiser; every October (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) in honor of Buchanan, who loved astronomy. Proceeds are donated to Favor House of Northwest Florida, a certified domestic violence center.
The most famous spirit of Seville Quarter is that of doorman and bartender, Wesley Gibbs. While cooling off in the beer cooler in 1990, Gibbs experienced a heart attack and was knocked unconscious as he slumped to the ground. After being found unresponsive hours later; employees, police, and paramedics attempted to revive him. Sadly, it was too late. Gibbs was only 27.
Virtually everyone who visits Seville Quarter has had a glimpse of or encounter with the spirit of Gibbs. Having spent plenty of time there before being hired, Gibbs loved Seville Quarter. Those who have seen him in ghostly form report varied appearances. To some, he appears more like a smoky entity that lurks around the corners late at night. Others have witnessed his spirit in human-like form. Then there are those who report spotting him as merely a tall, slender silhouette.
Gibbs is more of a prankster than a frightening entity. Staff members say his spirit is as mischievously jovial in death, as he was in life. Gibbs loves to spontaneously flip light switches, trigger copy machines, move things, and turn the water and hand dryers on and off in the men’s restrooms.
The hauntings of Seville Quarter have attracted the attention of psychic mediums and paranormal investigators worldwide! Internationally renowned psychic medium and founder of Second Sight Paranormal Investigations and Pensacola History & Hauntings, Ericka Boussarhane, states: “The spirit of Wesley Gibbs is often seen and felt by visitors. Children visiting Seville who know nothing about the history will often say they see a little kid in the hallway. We’ve also had women feel very uneasy in the upstairs bathroom and some will see an apparition of a woman in there. The spirits are definitely here--and NOT just the spirits you drink!”
Pensacola History & Hauntings leads weekly ghost tour investigation experiences at Seville Quarter. Tours can are offered at their site Pensacolaghostevents.com With more sightings and harrowing tales emerging each day, there is no denying the haunted status of Seville Quarter which makes it a great destination to consider touring or investigating--assuming you are brave enough!
Special Thanks to:
Pensacola History and Hauntings
Ericka Marcia Boussarhane, Contributing Writer
Valarie Shakespeare, Contributing Writer/Editor