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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our sixth calendar year
    PCR #289  (Vol. 6, No. 40)  This edition is for the week of October 3--9, 2005.

Haunted Pinellas, Part 1
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
Alchemy. In Theory and in Truth.
 by Dylan Jones
Punk's Roots, Part 2
 by Terence Nuzum
Goodbye Don Adams & Nipsy Russell....Let's Stick a Fork in Music Videos...."The Fog" is Coming....Terence on Punk....Mike's Challenge
 by Andy Lalino
"The Corpse Bride"....The Green Lantern Corps Recharged....Axis and Allies
 by John Lewis
Passing On....Super Hero News....The Top 10 List....Speaking of Science Fiction....Jaws: The Story, Part 36
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Haunted Pinellas  

Saturday September 8, 2004:
I never really had much of a reason to visit Pinellas Park, Florida.

Some eleven years preceding 1984, my late sister Merry Moor Winnett, along with her friend Sonny Lamp and yours truly, ventured over on late Friday nights to the Beaux Arts Gallery in that Central Pinellas County town. We would take in the spirits of Jim Morrison and Jack Kerouac while drinking java and listening to book readings in that bizarre summer of my life that was 1973.

Once I relocated to Clearwater, Florida from Jacksonville and started work at the Montgomery Ward in Clearwater Mall, my jaunts down to Pinellas Park became far and few between with the exception of passing through it on a magical Saturday afternoon on September 8, 1984.

Saturdays off in retailing are rare, but I managed to score that day off, as I was owed a Personal Holiday. I had arranged for best friend Greg Van Stavern of Tampa to take us over to the Seminole, Florida home of Alan Burdette Jr., a fellow Founding Member of the Suncoast Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society. As I had missed remembering Greg's twenty-eighth birthday by little less than two months, I would use the occasion to purchase a native Florida Maple (Acer saccharum var. "floridana") that Alan grew as a present for Greg's belated event.

After witnessing the strange spectacle of a zillion worms covering Alan's Redbud tree and purchasing Greg's Maple, we headed east on Park Boulevard where Greg wanted to show me a recently refurbished "classic" 1950's car and introduce me to a restaurant on 49th Street North in St. Petersburg that he frequented during work hours called "The Biff Burger".

Love At First Sight, Love At First Bite:
Once in the heart of Pinellas Park, we passed by an auto upholstery dealership on Park Boulevard that had a beautifully restored mid 1950's Ford Crown Victoria, proudly modeled on a raised concrete platform. My love for classic American cars was born that instant!

Greg and I then proceeded down 49th Street North and went to the incredible 1950's era restaurant, the Biff Burger, which was and still remains, the last of its kind left in the country. We had lunch in this glorious tribute to neon, rock n roll, Elvis, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, in short, American pop culture at its best. As we gulped down Biff Burgers and Tater Tots, we peered out the tinted front windows at the spiked globe perched 30' in the air on top of a monument with the burger jpoints hsndle, calling to mind the beauty of Googie architecture.

We then proceeded to Greg's to catch a double horror feature on Channel 10. My magical day ended with my first viewing of "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark" in the Tampa Bay market with the WFTS TV presentation of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hype". Once my head was on my pillow for the close of that magical day, I smiled at remembering the great introductions and events of that day. But as I got closer to sleep my mind wandered toward one of those types of things that your deeper self does a better job at recording than your surface self.

I began to recall the glorious old wood frame house along the north side of Park Boulevard that were slated for removal or demolition for road widening and development. These old houses, now standing abandoned, were once filled with life and were the first structures to greet people to Pinellas Park as they entered from the west back when Park Boulevard was but a two-lane road.

Unbeknownst to me, one of those houses that my deeper self recorded and played back that night was about to unleash something terrifying on someone I would meet a year and a half later. - - And this person's encounters with the supernatural in Pinellas Park wouldn't stop with this haunting either…

Haunted Pinellas Park:
Those of you familiar with this column and those of you who have read my book "William Moriaty's Florida" probably are already familiar with the book's graphic artist, Ms. Lisa Clardy of F-Bod Studios of Orlando, Florida.

Ms. Clardy is an almost life-long friend of my wife Karen Cashon. I met Lisa in the late winter of 1986 when I first began dating Karen on a regular basis. She and Karen began to both tell me stories of a friend of theirs that we will refer to as "Linus Oliver". He lived with his roommate "Ludiwici Armstrong" in a one-level cinder block house that formerly belonged to Linus's deceased grandmother.

Many strange, unexplainable and at times terrifying things happened in this unassuming house in the heart of Pinellas Park, Florida - - but first, let's revisit one of the condemned old wood frame houses on Park Boulevard. A house that would demonstrate to its unwanted visitors one night that it did not want to relocate or die…

Linus and another friend of his who we will call "Pedro Mendez" and a group of their friends came to say their goodbyes to majestic old house, which was formerly owned by Pedro's mother. Most that was there felt uneasy, as if someone or something was watching them. As daylight began to melt into a sleepy red glow, one member of the party claimed that she was violently pushed by an unseen entity. Not long afterward, the group heard a shrill scream on the other side of the house. It turned out to be Linus who had wandered away from the crowd several moments prior to his shriek.

"The Light Turned Itself On!"
Linus stood trembling, pointing at the condemned house's porch. With labored breath he announced to the group that the porch light had "turned itself on!"

That's a pretty major feat for a house that no longer had electricity!

Next week we "pump up the volume" as Linus and Ludiwici's hauntings hit home literally with slamming doors, out of control audio speakers and footsteps by unseen entities on the ceiling. All right here in PCR!

Don't Miss the Thirteenth Annual St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading!
This event will be held Saturday October 29, 2005 between 10 A.M. and 5 P.M. at the University of South Florida Bayboro Campus. Florida writer Greg Jenkins, author of "Florida's Ghostly Legends and Haunted Folklore" will be there along with Florida Folk Hero and author Carl Hiaasen. For more information, link to: http://www.festivalofreading.com/index.html

Will's Recommended Websites

The Paranormal in Florida
Orlando Ghost Tours http://www.hauntedorlando.com/
The Original Key West Ghost Tours http://www.hauntedtours.com/
Ghost Tours of St. Augustine http://www.ghosttoursofstaugustine.com
Ghost Tours of Historic Haunted St. Petersburg http://www.ghosttour.net/
The Florida Jaguarundi http://www.pangeainstitute.us/expeditions/jaguarundi/
The Florida Skunk Ape http://www.floridaskunkape.com/
Florida Paranormal Research Association http://www.floridaparanormal.com/
SpookHunters http://www.spookhunters.com/
New Smyrna Beach Historical Ghost Tours http://www.nsbghosttour.com/
Daytona Beach Ghost walk http://www.hauntsofdaytona.com/
Florida Ghosts Haunted Index http://www.floridaghost.com/hauntedindex.htm

"La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.