Lighthouses have a history of guiding ships through the night and on the right path, away from rocky shores, away from frightful accidents. Unfortunately, though, sometimes it doesn’t always work out as planned. Call it fate or call it a curse — stories of shipwrecks, lighthouse keepers gone mad, and ghosts haunting our coastlines continue to send chills up the spines of boaters all across the country. So where are these haunted locations, and are you brave enough to visit their shores? Let’s find out…
Here are seven of the most haunted lighthouses around in the United States:
- Tybee Island Lighthouse (Georgia)
- Battery Point Lighthouse (California)
- Point Lookout Lighthouse (Maryland)
- Fairport Harbor Lighthouse (Ohio)
- Owl’s Head Lighthouse (Maine)
- White River Light Station (Michigan)
- St. Simons Lighthouse (Georgia)
If you’re looking for other nautical haunts, be sure to read the 5 Spookiest Locations You Can Go Boating for Halloween.
1. Tybee Island Lighthouse
Tybee Island Lighthouse is an ancient lighthouse in Georgia, first constructed in 1736.
It could be that spirits didn’t want it here. Storms and a growing sea continuously wreaked havoc on this lighthouse, onsetting many to attempt to reconstruct it.
The Tybee Island Lighthouse that exists present day has stood 145 feet tall for 285 years (and counting). Having been around some of the spookiest periods of our nation’s history like Colonial America, the Civil War era, and the Reconstruction era, it should come as no surprise that visitors have reported seeing floating bodies, hearing whistling with no one in sight, and other mysterious occurrences.
2. Battery Point Lighthouse
Battery Point Lighthouse, located in northern California, dates back to 1856. This lighthouse is a paranormal researcher’s paradise. Their findings conclude that these grounds are haunted by many ghosts. Not very surprising given past lighthouse keepers at Battery Point have had such terrible luck here like the 1879 fire.
Peculiar instances continue to happen here. Like caretakers having their slippers moved at night and sea boots going up the stairs by themselves.
3. Point Lookout Lighthouse
Point Lookout Lighthouse, which dates to 1830, has such a history of abnormal activity that the official Maryland Department of Natural Resources website references it. The description clarifies that Point Lookout has “the most grisly history of any of the state’s parks,” having imprisoned people during the Civil War when as many as 8,000 Confederates died there.
A parapsychology team investigated a couple of decades ago and recorded 24 voices in the building. Some people have reported seeing the specter of Ann Davis, wife of the first lightkeeper.
Visits to this lighthouse have been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. Fairport Harbor Lighthouse
Fairport Harbor Lighthouse overlooks Lake Erie in Ohio. It was built in 1871. Fairport was the star of a TV show that described how, while installing air conditioning, the trustees found mummified remains of a cat (yikes). So the legend goes, a former lightkeeper gifted his bedridden wife various cats to keep her company. Many years later, a curator reported seeing the ghost of one cat. A gray one.
5. Owl’s Head Lighthouse
Oh, the stories they tell about Owl’s Head Lighthouse near Rockland, Maine.
Built in 1825, today this lighthouse is said to be home to two ghosts. One, the “Little Lady,” hangs out in the kitchen and near windows. The other is believed to be a lightkeeper. Historians studying the lighthouse have reported to locals numerous tales of footprints in mud or snow.
A former lightkeeper’s wife reported believing her husband had gotten into bed, but there was no one there, only the indentation of a body.
6. White River Light Station
White River Light Station in Whitehall, Michigan dates back to 1875. Its first keeper died in 1919 and is said to still be there in spirit. A museum curator at the lighthouse says she has heard footsteps going up and down the staircase in the wee hours—maybe just the first keeper alone, or maybe him accompanied by the spirit of his wife.
That same curator claims their ghosts have helped her finish chores, such as dusting. She calls the presence in the lighthouse “benevolent.”
7. St. Simons Lighthouse
Built in 1872, St. Simons Lighthouse was the site of an argument between a lightkeeper and his assistant, who fatally shot the lightkeeper. The assistant was charged with murder but acquitted of the crime. Soon thereafter, reports of a ghost at St. Simons Island would haunt law enforcement officials. In 1908, a published account described a lightkeeper’s wife calling out to the dead keeper for help—and receiving it, to the point that she fainted.
Discover more mysterious boating destinations to explore during the spooky season in Boating Guides & Resources.
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