Spooky Sarasota: the Ghost of the Gator Club

Sarasota’s beaches and amenities don’t just appeal to the living. Apparently, some former residents love it so much, they stuck around after death.

“We definitely have our scary ghosts,” says Sarafina Murphy-Gibson, a tour guide with Discover Sarasota Tours. “But there are a lot of happy ghosts. We’re kind of like the land of Caspers.”

Murphy-Gibson says a hub for paranormal activity in downtown Sarasota is the century-old building on the corner of Main Street and South Lemon Avenue, home of The Gator Club.

“The Gator Club is one of our most haunted establishments on our tour,” she says.

Built in 1912, The Gator Club is home to some of our favorite spirits, including former grocery maven Mrs. Worth, who lived upstairs above her family’s grocery store in the building's early days.

Worth is known for moving objects around inside the club, and one longtime bartender claims to have seen her over 50 times, including a chance meeting at the top of a staircase.

“He says she physically passed through him,” says Sarafina. “He described the experience as cold and a little damp feeling.”

Worth and other spirits stake claim to their former haunt by making their presence known in the form of mischievous pranks, chilling apparitions, and eerie whispers in the night.

People are kind of surprised by all the different ghosts,” says Sarafina about some of her tour guests. The self-proclaimed “ghost host” enjoys showing visitors and locals something different than the arts and beaches more commonly associated with Sarasota.

“It’s kind of fun we also have this supernatural history that we can play on too,” she says.

The ghosts of the Gator Club, Sarasota’s longest running watering hole, are featured on Discover Sarasota’s Ghost trolley tour called “Ghosts of Sarasota: History, Hauntings & Hi-Jynx” running Thursday nights October- May.

Sarafina says the tours feature much more scandalous ghost stories from Sarasota’s past.

“It’s fun to be scared, and it’s fun to be a little shocked, and I think it’s just the right season to be doing that.”