The legend of “Cecil the Ghost” dates back to the very early 1970s where it was reported that a certain cemetery in the Safety Harbor area contained a spirit that could be summoned using the following invocation: “Cecile Cecile I believe, Cecile Cecile come to me.”
My best friend from both Junior High and High School relayed this tale to me and I consider it a first hand accounting of this legend. For the sake of this report I am calling my old friend, PB.
PB was a girl who was very level headed for a teenager. She did not possess any interest in the paranormal or ghosts and was pretty much a non-believer of such “stuff”. It was well after high school and while we were roommates that PB gave me this account of her first hand experience with Cecil the Ghost.
During high school, her boyfriend and one of his friends took PB down to the Cecile [sic; entry references Cecil and Cecile] cemetery in an effort to “scare her”. Though PB remained in the car while the two boys went off to summon Cecile in the graveyard in the middle of the night. Becoming bored, PB started to tell the boys that it was getting late, she was tired and that she didn’t believe any of this and it was time to leave. After becoming less than happy with her boyfriend about this “nonsense” they finally left the graveyard and took her back home.
The next evening, PB was babysitting for her sister’s two little children. As she slept next to her little niece, PB woke up around midnight and there on the wall opposite the bed was a silhouette shape of a man wearing a long cape and a large rounded brimmed hat. Startled, PB closed her eyes and shook her head and when she reopened her eyes the shadow was gone. Thinking she had just imagined the image on the wall, remember PB had no beliefs in ghosts; she got out of bed and went into the kitchen for a glass of water. She looked at the kitchen clock for the time and was horrified to see the face of a man staring back at here from within the clock. Somehow, this still did not convince PB that ghosts exist as she rationalized it away as many people will do when encountering the paranormal.
However, just a few days later after leaving the same sister’s house, PB drove the usual route home stopping at the same T-intersection she always stopped at. Though I cannot describe the make and model of her car at this time, as she was the only one in high school to have this very stylish car, I will tell you it had white leather interior. When PB pulled up to stop sign looking first left then right, again as usual, only this time when she glanced to the right, there sitting in car with in her the passenger front seat was the same shadow she had seen on the wall.
PB was terrified and could only think of one thing to do. That was to shut her eyes tightly and start saying, “Cecile I believe in you, I believe in you, please go away.” When she reopened her eyes the shadow was gone and she drove home and never saw Cecile’s ghost again.
What really validated the honesty of PB’s account besides her being my best friend, was once she had finished telling this tale to me, I jokingly began to recite the, “Cecile Cecile come to me” invocation and PB dove for cover nearly crying and shaking like a leaf at the thought of this apparition reappearing. She literally begged me to stop. In fact, even this partial invocation frightened PB so much that she moved out of our apartment and back in with her parents within 24 hours of relaying this tale to me.
4/15/19: When asking about this story to others, I finally had one verbal response from one young woman. She "heard of the name" when she lived in Safety Harbor, but heard nothing else on the legend. It's the first "hit" I've had on the information since posting this story nearly 10 years ago.
4/18/19: Another person who lives in Safety Harbor said that they thought that they heard a story like this. They remembered being told about a ghost with a "C" name, but that was all. They did know about the ghosts of Safety Harbor Spa, the mound, and even said that there were reports of Conquistadors' ghosts seen in the area of Safety Harbor. She also reported volunteering in the library and feeling odd temperature fluctuations. (This is the first I've heard of any issues in the library).
Submitted via email on 4/15/19 with second part 4/19/19:
This is really bizarre, but today (4/15/19) I happened by accident upon your synopsis regarding Cecil the Ghost. I have information that you will find interesting that I have kept to myself for many decades. First, the Cecil story goes way back BEFORE the 1970's. Here's what I know. When I was a Junior at Clearwater Central Catholic High School (CCCHS) back in the late-1960's, students in my Junior class and in the Sophomore class who lived in Clearwater and north of Clearwater, would talk about "Cecil's Graveyard" in Safety Harbor. I know that those kids were friends with other students who went to Clearwater High School, Gulf High and also Clearwater Comprehensive. I know the CCCHS kids went up to "Cecil's Graveyard" at night because I would hear stories about the place. One of my Junior friends, ("name withheld but I would love to give his name") drove a new Ford Shelby and I assumed that he went up to "Cecil's Graveyard" as it was called at the time. Classmates told of an older man they would see holding up a lantern and a rifle who would chase the kids from the area at night. I was told by more than one Sophomore of a "blue hue" light that would glow upward from the area of the grave around midnight. Some of this talk might have been exaggerated by the CCCHS Sophomores that went up there at night. I did hear REPEATEDLY that Cecil's headstone had the inscription, "My Light Shall Shine Forever" and I do believe that because I heard it from different CCCHS students. I gathered from what I was told by the CCCHS Sophomores that the man (Cecil) was executed for whatever reason and he wanted those words placed on his tombstone. I am just relating to you what I heard way back then. While I was in my Junior year at CCCHS, I was subsequently told that the grave headstone came up missing (possibly stolen) and was gone and the grave was unmarked. This was back around 1969. I personally never went up there because I lived down in Largo and did not drive at the time and all these "Cecil Graveyard" students lived in Clearwater and to the north towards Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs. All of us CCCHS kids would be 65 and 66 years old today. I hate to give names of CCCHS students that I believe went up there out of concern for privacy, especially after all these decades, but I'll bet some of those CCCHS students from the late-1960's could fill in some of the blanks about "Cecil's Graveyard". I will add that I never heard it referred to as "Cecil the Ghost" but only as "Cecil's Graveyard" that was somewhere up in Safety Harbor. I now am a Dual National and live permanently in Toronto, Ontario Canada. I hope all the preceding information is helpful in "filling in the blanks" regarding "Cecil". As a footnote, back in 2007, we named one of our kittens "Cecil" after this Pinellas County legend. He now is 11 years old. ---- John
The Cecil's graveyard story is very real and I have been wracking my memory since I happened upon your website on April 19 trying to remember anything more. There are definitely "older" people down there in Pinellas County who know about the Cecil story, but you would have to go searching for it. A good place to look is people who graduated from high school in 1971, 1972 and possibly even 1973. First, I do not know the location of the cemetery where the grave was located, but I know that classmates from CCCHS went there at night. I now recall that one good friend I had at CCCHS told me things about "Cecil's Graveyard" that I related in my previous message. His parents owned Biscoe Memorial Services in Safety Harbor and they probably knew of that cemetery. Biscoe is no longer in business. When looking up my high school friend on Google, I found an obituary from 2001 that quite possibly could be him (passed away at age 47). If you want to determine the location of the cemetery ("graveyard"), I'm sure the City of Safety Harbor could provide information. Also, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has always provided law enforcement for the City of Safety Harbor and they would know where that cemetery is/was located by virtue of any past PCSO incident reports regarding late night teenage drinking or trespassing on the cemetery property. In thinking about it, I was probably mistaken when I mentioned "Gulf High" in my previous message, but many of the students at CCCHS, especially in the grades before me, had many friends at Clearwater HS and Clearwater Comprehensive. I'm sure if you proceeded with investigating the Cecil story in your professional capacity, I would assume you would get cooperation in order to "connect the dots" regarding this interesting story. ---- John L.
John has been working hard to track down this legend. He has provided another entry for this page as of 5/1/2019 --ed
The following is another story of Cecil's Graveyard in Safety Harbor, Florida that was passed along back in the late-1960's. I recently spoke to an individual who is quite familiar with the story about Cecil's Graveyard. She wishes to remain anonymous. She attended Clearwater Central Catholic High School (CCCHS) and also Largo High School and graduated in 1972. The story about Cecil's Graveyard that she heard at school is, as follows: .... "A couple had driven up to Cecil's Graveyard late one night. They knew of the place prior to that night. Once they arrived, they parked under a tree that was in the area near Cecil's grave and were making out. All of a sudden, they heard and felt a loud THUMP on the roof of their car. It wasn't anything that fell out of the tree because nothing fell on the ground. Scared out of their wits, the boyfriend started the car and they sped away from the cemetery, not stopping until they pulled into a business establishment 'like a gas station'. They got out of the car to inspect the roof to see what had hit them. Under the bright lights in the parking lot they discovered that the center of the car roof had been dented in and the dent was in the shape of a large hand with the palm and five fingers imprint clearly visible." ... This is the story that the girl I spoke with heard from others when she was in high school. In our telephone conversation, she told me that she had actually been to Cecil's Graveyard one time while she was attending Largo High School. She went up there late one night sometime around 1969 or 1970 with her boyfriend and a friend of his. There were three of them in the car and it was late at night. Her boyfriend and the other guy got out of the car to walk around the "graveyard" but she stayed in the car and did not go with them. Unfortunately, she does not remember where that "graveyard" was located. I subsequently telephoned her again two different times, questioning her, and she does not remember where her boyfriend took her or where she was that night. She only specifically recalls going up N. Bayshore Dr. in the general direction of Philippe Park, but that's all she remembers as she said that was nearly 50 years ago. She cannot remember where that "cemetery" was located, but she did tell me that it was NOT in Philippe Park. One additional thing this individual told me was that she was also told by her friends in high school that the gravestone on Cecil's grave had been stolen (i.e., had been taken and was missing) and the grave was apparently unmarked when her boyfriend took her there that night. Of note, I personally heard the very same thing in 1969 regarding the missing gravestone when I was a student at CCCHS, so I wasn't the only person who had heard that bit of information. ---- John Longo
Special thanks to Mr. Longo who has done so much research on this legend that he located historic information and the cemetery!