It Looked Like A Normal House
At first glance, it looked like a beautiful and perfectly normal home in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida. The person who lived in it, Marina Terracciano, seemed like a perfectly normal suburban housewife as well.
But sometimes, secrets can be hidden where you least expect them. And they can be, as is the case with this story, secrets from a murky, wild, murderous past.
It Seemed Too Good To Be True
When the Terraccianos saw that house in Tampa, Florida, on an online advert, at first they thought it seemed too good to be true.
Had they known what the house kept inside, perhaps they had been a little more suspicious about the advert. But it was a true bargain, and they had no way of even suspecting what they were getting into.
Built In 1925
It was a historical house built in 1925, and it was sold for a meager price. And it wasn’t an old, neglected, ruinous house either; it had been beautifully rehabilitated and it was located in one of the upscale suburbs of Tampa.
The Terraccianos were looking to escape their grey routine in New York; within a couple of weeks of seeing the advert, they bought the house and started packing their things in order to move to Tampa, completely unaware of what they would end up finding over there.
The Terraccianos’ Arrival In Tampa
When they finally arrived in Tampa after a long trip, that looked like heaven to them. Sun shining, blue skies and the beach was just a few miles away from what was about to become their new home.
Little did they know that the house was about to confront them with a piece of a past that was murky, dark, and brutal.
And When They First Saw The House…
They finally got to the house. When they first saw it in person, it looked even better than in the pictures from the advert. They were delighted.
But it wouldn’t be too long before they would find something about the house that wasn’t mentioned in the advert.
At First, Everything Seemed Fine
But during the first days, they didn’t notice anything strange. They were too busy unpacking their things, furnishing their new home, and getting used to it.
It was a big house, so it took them a lot of time to find their way through all the rooms and corridors. But after they were done with most of it, there was still one room that they had forgotten to check: the basement.
Marina Takes A Look At The Basement
Marina, the mom, was the first to go check it out. She was trying to think of something they could use it for. In the advertising pictures, it looked quite big and it would be a shame to leave all that space without use.
As she was exploring and trying to come up with an idea, she noticed something.
What Was That?
There seemed to be some sort of hidden door on one of the basement walls. The advert hadn’t mentioned that the basement had two rooms.
That complicated the issue. What would they do with all that room? Marina opened the hidden door and took a look inside. And what she saw was puzzling.
A Secret Room
There was another room in the basement that hadn’t been mentioned in the advert. It was circular and it had some strange concrete structures built along the walls. But that wasn’t all.
There was another entry in that room, which seemed to lead to a long hall. With shivers down her spine, Marina ventured into the hall.
It Was A Tunnel
It turned out not to be a hall but a long, grim-looking tunnel. Marina took a deep breath and started her walk through the tunnel. Where could it lead to? Why was it connected to her basement?
But after half an hour of walking, it didn’t seem like she was getting anywhere. The tunnel just kept going and going. Marina started to feel iffy about it and decided to turn back and walk back to the basement. But she still felt like she had to find what that strange room and that tunnel were somehow.
What Was That Tunnel?
Right after telling her family about it and showing them, Marina decided to call some local historians to see if they could make sense of her finding.
A team of scholars, historians, and archeologists came to the Terraccianos’ place a few days later and they came to some conclusions about the secret basement and the tunnel. And their origin turned out to be way darker than it could be expected.
It Was A Mafia Safe House!
The main hypothesis was that the Terraccianos’ house used to be a safe house for the Tampa mob!
The house was built during the ’20s, that is, during the prohibition era. And at that time, the Trafficantes, one organized crime family that would end up becoming one of America’s more prominent criminal groups, started flourishing.
The Trafficante Family
The Trafficante family would become known in the following decades for their role in the gambling industry in Cuba. It also was infamous for being of the most discrete, secretive, and elusive crime families in the US, and they turned into one of the FBI’s worst nightmares.
But during the 20s, their main businesses were gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution. And that’s where the Terracciano’s basement steps in.
What Was The Basement Used For?
The researchers that saw Marina’s basement had these hypotheses: the circular room might have been used as a pit for cockfights or as a brothel. And the strange concrete structures could have been used to store bootlegged alcohol bottles.
The tunnel was found to be just a part of a bigger circuit of tunnels that had been discovered years ago, and that wasn’t on Tampa’s city’s maps. It could have been a secret circuit created by the Tampa mob to smuggle alcohol from Ybor City to Tampa.
And It Didn’t End There
That wasn’t all: Marina found two empty safes in her house, which would allegedly have been used by mobsters to store certain items. There was also a hidden window in the basement, which might have been used to secretly pass things through.
Marina was excited about the findings and couldn’t wait for researchers to learn more about the basement and the tunnels. How about you? How would you like to find out that your house used to be a mafia headquarters?