9 haunted lighthouses with scary ghostly legends

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Haunted lighthouses: Guiding lights & ghostly nights

Lighthouses stand as historic symbols on coastlines around the world, guiding sailors through dangerous waters with their beaming lights.

These iconic structures are often located in remote and solitary places, and they carry a sense of mystery and tales from the past.

The stories behind these ghost sightings give us a peek into what life was like for the lighthouse keepers. These were the people who lived alone and worked hard to make sure ships could pass safely.

3 Haunted lighthouses

1. Boon Island Lighthouse, Maine

Boon Island -- Maine - DPLA - 671566dd9f3dd4dd4e102727d094c962 haunted lighthouses
Photo: National Archives at College Park – Still Pictures, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Boon Island Lighthouse, located off the coast of Maine, has a history filled with shipwrecks and survival stories.

The most famous shipwreck is the Nottingham Galley in 1710, where the crew had to endure extreme conditions before being rescued.

To help prevent such disasters, the lighthouse was built in the early 19th century, becoming a vital navigation point for ships navigating the perilous waters around Boon Island.

boon island lighthouse maine haunted light houses
Boon Island: A True Story of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Cannibalism

One of the most touching stories linked to this haunted lighthouse is that of Kathleen Bright. In the mid-1800s, she married the lighthouse keeper and moved to the island, ready to start a life of service and hope.

However, her life took a tragic turn when her husband died, leaving her alone to maintain the lighthouse during a violent storm. Kathleen worked tirelessly, without rest or food, to keep the light on, until she eventually died from exhaustion and grief.

Her story of devotion and sacrifice has become an integral part of the lighthouse’s legacy.

Visitors and fishermen near Boon Island have reported seeing a white figure, believed to be Kathleen’s spirit, and hearing sorrowful cries that seem to come from the lighthouse, especially during stormy nights.

1 Haunted lighthouses

2. Souter Lighthouse, England

Souter Lighthouse - geograph.org.uk - 2460746 haunted lighthouses
Photo: Souter Lighthouse by Alexander P Kapp, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Souter Lighthouse, notable for its pioneering use of electric light, was built to safeguard ships from the dangerous reefs off the Whitburn coast.

Built in 1871, it was the first lighthouse in the world designed for electric operation. Its light, capable of reaching distances of up to 26 miles, played a crucial role in maritime safety, highlighting hazards in Sunderland Bay and guiding vessels safely through the area​​.

Isabella Darling, the niece of the famous lighthouse keeper Grace Darling, is said to haunt Souter Lighthouse. Having lived there with her husband, Robert, she contributed to the vigilance over the treacherous coastline.

After her death in 1930, staff and visitors have reported unexplained phenomena, such as missing items and shadowy figures, suggesting Isabella’s spirit still lingers​​​​.

Today, Souter Lighthouse is maintained by the National Trust and open to the public, offering a glimpse into its historic operation (and possibly, its spectral residents).

The preservation of its machinery and equipment, alongside the reported ghostly activities, make this haunted lighthouse a fascinating visit for those interested in maritime history and the supernatural​​.

11 Haunted lighthouses

3. Fairport Harbor Lighthouse, Ohio

Fairport Marine Museum - Fairport Harbor, OH 2 haunted lighthouses
Photo: Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Fairport Harbor Lighthouse played a crucial role in guiding ships into one of the key entry points to the West, boasting a history that stretches back to its first construction in the early 1800s.

After the original building began to fall apart, a new lighthouse and home for the keeper were set up in 1869, with its light starting to guide ships in 1871.

This lighthouse brought a time of growth, making it an important marker far beyond its local area. Even though its role has shifted due to changes like the building of breakwaters, it’s still a key piece of Fairport’s past.

As for ghost stories, the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse is famous not just for its past role in maritime safety but also for its spooky tales, especially about a ghost cat.

Back in the 1870s, when the keeper’s wife was very sick, she was comforted by many cats. After she passed away, all the cats disappeared except for one gray one.

People who looked after the haunted lighthouse later on have reported seeing this ghost cat around the old living quarters, and one person even said they felt the cat sitting on them.

This ghost cat story adds an extra layer of mystery to the lighthouse, drawing in both history lovers and those interested in ghost stories.

Nowadays, the Fairport Harbor Lighthouse has been turned into a museum, keeping alive the town’s history and the stories of the people (and the cats) that once called it home.

8 Haunted lighthouses

4. Tybee Lighthouse, Georgia

Lighthouse Tybee Island, Georgia haunted lighthouses
Photo: Margarete Froelicher, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Tybee Lighthouse on Georgia’s coast is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States, dating back to the early 1700s. It’s been a key marker for sailors navigating near Tybee Island, symbolizing both safety and endurance.

Over the years, it has withstood wars, natural disasters, and the test of time, undergoing several rebuilds and renovations to continue its watch over the Savannah River Entrance.

georgia's lighthouses, tybee lighthouse, haunted lighthouses
Georgia’s Lighthouses

The most talked-about ghost story here involves James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founder, who is rumored to still wander around the lighthouse and its grounds.

People have reported mysterious happenings and sightings that many believe to be Oglethorpe watching over his settlement. These stories mix the haunted lighthouse’s historical role with an element of mystery, suggesting a connection between the past and present.

The Tybee Lighthouse is a beacon to the past, offering us a glimpse into the lives of those who shaped the region’s history.

13 Haunted lighthouses

5. Owl’s Head Lighthouse, Maine

Owls Head Light Vertical Center haunted lighthouses
Photo: Photo by and (c)2014 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1825, President John Quincy Adams decided it was time to build Owl’s Head Lighthouse at the entrance to Rockland Harbor in Maine to help the ships involved in the lime trade.

This lighthouse is a bit unique because it’s not very tall, only 30 feet, but it’s on a hill that’s about 100 feet high, which helps ships see it from far away.

The tower we see today was built in 1852, and it’s pretty much stayed the same since then. It has a special type of light called a fourth-order Fresnel lens that was put in there in 1856, and it’s still used today to guide ships.

There are two popular ghosts spotted at this lighthouse: one is a former lighthouse keeper who seems to still be looking after the place, doing things like taking care of the light and keeping the property neat.

The other ghost is called the “Little Lady,” who likes to move things around, close doors loudly, and make noises with dishes. Even though she might sound scary, most people say she makes the lighthouse feel more peaceful.

People who visit or work at the lighthouse have noticed some pretty strange things, like footprints in the snow that come from nowhere or the inside of the lighthouse suddenly getting cold.

6 Haunted lighthouses

6. Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon

Heceta Head Light - middle distance haunted lighthouses
Photo: Anita Ritenour from Santa Maria, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Heceta Head Lighthouse has been a beacon since 1894. Named after Spanish explorer Bruno de Heceta, the lighthouse and its keeper’s cottage have been central to many stories and legends over the years.

Its powerful light, visible for 21 miles, has guided countless mariners through dangerous waters, while the lighthouse itself has witnessed numerous dramatic events​​.

Heceta Head Lighthouse is infamous for its paranormal activity, with many guests and visitors reporting strange occurrences since the 1950s.

These experiences range from disembodied screams to the mysterious movements of objects and the sighting of an old woman’s ghost in an attic window.

The main spirit, known as “Rue,” is thought to be the wife of a former lighthouse keeper. Rue, along with her daughter, is said to haunt the scenic lighthouse, maintaining a presence that is more protective than menacing.

The ghostly experiences at Heceta Head extend to physical interactions, with guests reporting feelings of a presence in bed beside them, among other unexplained phenomena​​.

The lighthouse now functions as a bed and breakfast, offering guests an opportunity to experience its history and, possibly, its paranormal residents firsthand.

10 Haunted lighthouses

7. Point Sur Lightstation, California

Point Sur Light Station – lighthouse as seen from the south haunted lighthouses
Photo: Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Point Sur Lightstation has a long history of guiding ships along the treacherous Central California Coast.

Established in 1889, this lightstation was built in response to the many shipwrecks caused by the hazardous waters of Point Sur.

The area’s dangerous conditions, with a rocky coastline and frequent fog, made it a critical location for a lighthouse to ensure safer navigation for maritime traffic​​.

The lighthouse and its surrounding buildings have become known for the ghost stories that linger around this isolated spot.

It’s said that the spirits of sailors and their passengers, victims of the numerous shipwrecks along this part of the Pacific Ocean, continue to haunt the area.

Among the several ghosts reported at Point Sur Lightstation, the most notable is a tall man dressed in dark blue, 19th-century clothing.

This apparition is frequently seen by visitors, especially during the night tours offered at the lightstation. He is believed to be one of the many spirits that linger in the area, a reminder of the lives lost at sea and the challenging conditions faced by mariners navigating these waters​​.

Today, Point Sur Lightstation is a historic park open to the public, offering guided tours that allow visitors to explore its history and architectural beauty.

4 Haunted lighthouses

8. Big Bay Point Light, Michigan

Big Bay Point Light Station haunted lighthouses
Photo: rossograph, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Big Bay Point Light in Michigan has a deeply sad story tied to it. William Prior, who was the first person in charge of the lighthouse, went through a terrible loss when his son was hurt badly in 1897 and didn’t survive.

Heartbroken, William vanished into the forest, and after 17 months, they found him in a tragic state near the lighthouse. This sad tale has made many believe the lighthouse is haunted.

Now, the lighthouse is a bed and breakfast where visitors can stay. Some guests have shared experiences of encountering William Prior’s ghost.

They’ve heard strange noises like doors slamming at night and even seen a ghost with red hair in the mirror. These spooky happenings have made the lighthouse a spot for those interested in both its past and the ghost stories connected to it​​.

2 Haunted lighthouses

9. New London Ledge Lighthouse, Connecticut

New London Ledge Light - Connecticut haunted lighthouses
Photo: Rich Moffitt from Boston, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The New London Ledge Lighthouse, established in 1909 at the mouth of New London Harbor, Connecticut, is known for its distinct Second Empire architectural style.

This structure is a piece of art, with its short cylindrical tower rising from a three-story dwelling. It was automated in 1987 and has been a beacon for ships entering and leaving the Thames River.

The lighthouse’s construction involved a substantial foundation, including a timber crib filled with concrete, gravel, and riprap to secure it in place in the water.

Over the years, the lighthouse has witnessed numerous historical events and is now owned and maintained by the New London Maritime Society​​​​.

One of the most talked-about stories from the New London Ledge Lighthouse is about Ernie, thought to be a ghost of a past keeper. People say Ernie was heartbroken, leading to his tragic end. Since then, he’s never really left the lighthouse.

Coast Guard members and other lighthouse keepers have noticed strange things happening, like unexplained sounds, doors moving by themselves, and even a TV that seems to turn on and off on its own.

The story of Ernie remains a big draw for those visiting and researching haunted places in New England.

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Experienced any haunted lighthouses?

If you’re into history or like a good ghost story, you should definitely check these lighthouses out. Seeing them up close, you get to feel what it’s like to be in a place with so many stories.

And if you’ve got any interesting experiences at these lighthouses, or any other haunted lighthouses, there are plenty of people who’d want to hear about them. Please share your stories with us in the comments! 👻

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