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Sarasota's Ghostly Spirits

John Ringling's Gravestone
Sarasota’s most famous residents were John and Mable Ringling of the Ringling Bros. Circus fame. If you are a resident of Sarasota you already know this. But if you are planning to visit Sarasota then you may want to plan to visit the Ringling Museum and even the home of the Ringling’s, Ca d’Zan (House of John). These are not only great tourist spots, but absolute must sees for history & circus fans alike.

Many spirit seekers go on the Ca d’Zan tour in hopes of running into Mable on the terrace, and a few actually claim that they may in fact have. There have also been many stories of cold spots and the feeling of not being alone when alone in a room at the old mansion. But besides Mable, it is said that one spirit who roams Ca d’Zan has actually been seen on more than one occasion. That is the spirit of the circus Priest who worked for the Ringlings in the 1920’s.

But where is John Ringling? Is he at the Ca d’Zan with his wife, or could John be the ghostly presence who wanders the Ringling Circus Museum? Actually, the museum is on the grounds of the Ringling estate, so that would make sense. John did love his art, as he is quoted as saying, “For though life is short, art is long.”

Even a dormitory at the Ringling School of Art and Design, which the Ringlings contributed to the building of, is said to be haunted by a girl who perished in the stairwell. She is seen wandering the halls and many residents of the dorm report eerie things happening in the room that is believed to have been hers.

Theaters seem to all be haunted, don’t they? But who do you think it is that haunts the Sarasota Opera House? Could it once again be someone associated with the circus? The theater did host the premier of Cecil B. DeMille’s movie, The Greatest Show on Earth in 1951, which was partially filmed in Sarasota, of course. But no, the Sarasota Opera House ghost is not, as far as anyone knows, connected to the circus. He is apparently a theater guest who has stayed behind.

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