For thousands of years, lighthouses have protected ships from smashing into rocks on dark and stormy nights. It is the noble job of these towering beacons to guide travelers to safety. Yet lighthouses also feature prominently in stories of hauntings and horror. Spread by locals, fishermen, and sailors, these tales circulate wherever the land meets the sea.
Collected below are some of the creepiest legends surrounding lighthouses in the United States.
Mysterious Piano Music Plays At Seguin Island Lighthouse
Commissioned by none other than George Washington, the original wooden tower of Seguin Island Lighthouse was built in 1795 off the southern coast of Georgetown, Maine. That tower was removed and replaced with a stone structure in 1819. It was rebuilt once more with cut stones in 1857, and it's that version of the lighthouse that stands to this day.
The haunting of the lighthouse stems from a story of a keeper and his wife from sometime in the mid-19th century. Isolated from the population, the keeper had a piano delivered to alleviate the couple's loneliness. Unfortunately, his wife was only able to play a single song, and she played it over and over again. Eventually, this drove the keeper to take an ax to the piano, then his wife, and then himself!
To this day, people visiting the picturesque lighthouse claim to hear the ghostly melody the keeper's wife played so long ago. Others have spoken of a young girl's ghost who runs around, laughing and waving at them. Members of the US Coast Guard have spoken of ghostly sounds, furniture being moved about, and items going missing.
Another story stems from the dismantling of the light in 1985 by the US Coast Guard. A warrant officer was awakened one night by a ghostly apparition dressed in oilskins who was shaking his bed. The figure said, "Don't take the furniture. Please, leave my home alone!" The very next day, the ship that was carrying the furniture sank. Some believe the keeper's ghost was trying to keep his furniture as close to his home as possible.Is this creepy?
Furniture Moves By Itself In St. Augustine Lighthouse
St. Augustine's famous lighthouse has long been a destination for ghost hunters. The tower's construction began in 1871 and was completed in 1874. The superintendent in charge of construction, Hezekiah H. Pittee, had four children who were involved in a terrible accident. In the summer of 1873, the four children and a 10-year-old African American girl were playing on a supply cart when it ran into a gate and was trapped in the water. By the time a worker could get them out, the two oldest children, Eliza and Mary, had lost their lives. The fate of the 10-year-old girl was not recorded.
Additionally, a keeper met his tragic end while whitewashing the exterior of the original Augustine lighthouse, also known as the Old Spanish Watchtower, in December 1859. While working more than 60 feet up, the scaffolding failed and collapsed underneath the keeper's feet. The keeper and both children are said to haunt the current lighthouse to this day. Visitors to the tower have noted the presence of various shadowy figures, a hand reaching through the tower door, and furniture that moves about on its own.Is this creepy?
A Slain Keeper Was Summoned Back To St. Simons Lighthouse
Back in 1880, the keeper of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, Frederick Osborne, was slain by his assistant, John Stephens. Decades later, a lighthouse keeper's wife was trying to work on the machinery while her husband was away, but couldn't get the lighting mechanism to work. In desperation, she called out to the ghost of Osborne for help, and that's precisely what she got!
Osborne appeared to the keeper's wife and began to work on the machinery. Seeing the ghostly apparition come to her aid, she did what any healthy person would do: fainted on the spot. When she came to, the light was functioning once more.
It seems the ghost of Frederick Osborne never left his former lighthouse. People have seen his form and heard his footsteps when nobody else was around.Is this creepy?
A Woman's Torso Hovers Around Plymouth Lighthouse
The original structure of the Plymouth Bay Lighthouse in Massachusetts consisted of two towers fueled by oil lamps. It was once home to the first female lighthouse keeper in America, Hannah Thomas, who inherited the duties of the keeper from her husband after he was slain in combat during the American Revolution.
Some believe Hannah haunts her lighthouse to this day, even though the original structure no longer stands. The two towers were wiped out in a fire and rebuilt in 1803 as a single, taller tower. Apparently, Hannah doesn't mind the new digs, as she has been spotted by several people in the new structure.
A professional photographer and his wife claim to have encountered Hannah while they were staying at the house adjacent to the tower. Awakened in the middle of the night, the couple saw the upper half of a ghostly woman floating over their bed and looking at them. The spirit was wearing 18th century period clothing and had long, dark, flowing hair.Is this creepy?