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Case # TS31HA
Island Hotel & Restaurant (Cedar Key, FL)
Built in 1859, the Island Hotel was owned by Major Parsons, commander of a detachment of Confederate volunteers. During the outbreak of the Civil War, Union troops used the property for barracks and warehouse as they invaded the town and burned down nearly every building. It may also have been used by Confederate troops during the times they managed to retake Cedar Key.
Established in 1859, Major John Parsons and Francis Hale purchased the building, and opened it as the town’s general store. However, it soon served as a barracks and a warehouse during the civil war. At the conclusion of the war, the general store reopened and by 1884, an expansion was made to allow for a restaurant and rentals of furnished rooms. In 1915, Simon Feinburg purchased the building, converting the general store into a hotel.
Ownership and managers had changed hands over the next several decades to include J.B. & Pauline Witt, George T. Lewis. Mr. Fowler, and Mr. Crittenden, Mr. Ray Andrews, Forest and Nettie Andrews, Bessie and Loyal “Gibby” Gibbs, Charlie and Shirley English, Harold Nabors, Marcia Rogers, and Tom and Allison Sanders.
Simon Feinburg died in the hotel under mysterious circumstances on 05/11/1919. Apparently, Mr. Feinburg had visited Cedar Key to collect rent from his managers. Being a religious man, he was unhappy to learn that the manager was operating a whiskey still in the attic. These were the times during the prohibition. The manager treated Mr. Feinberg to a large dinner, and when Mr. Feinburg had gone to sleep for the night, he never woke up. He has been reported being seen roaming around the hotel, predominantly at night.
Legend has it that a small African American boy was hired to sweep and help around the general store and had been caught trying to steal an item. The boy ran out of the store and was never seen again. Approximately one year later, the basement water cistern was being prepared for liming, and workers discovered a boy’s skeletal remains inside. It is said that the ghost of the boy remains in the basement.
Without much historical information, it is said that an apparition of a soldier in a Southern Army uniform has been seen by dozens of people, standing guard at attention just inside the balcony doors.
Rooms 27 & 28 have reportedly had visits from an alleged former prostitute. She is said to sit on the bed during the middle of the night and gives a kiss on the cheek of hotel guests before disappearing.
Room 29 is said to be the room of Bessie Gibbs. Reported to roam around the hotel moving items such as furniture and pictures, Bessie has also been the one to blame for closing doors as well as locking guests out of their room. Guests have also reported seeing her apparition in their room and state she is able to walk through walls during the middle of the night.
Investigators Bobby and Dianne conducted video surveillance and audio recordings in room 29. In addition, audio recordings and photographs were taken in the basement, dining room, front lobby, upstairs sitting area, and the lounge.
During the middle of the night, Bobby’s cell phone, that was charging on the nearby nightstand, had fallen without explanation. An hour or so later, an unknown caller called Dianne’s phone. The voicemail received no verbal message, but only what appeared to be a television on in the background.
During an EVP session in the dining room, a faint whisper appears to have been captured. However, it was so light that we were unable to make any sort of determination.
No conclusions have been made about this location. Integrity Investigations plan on continuing investigations of this location.
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