• Graveyard Shift

12 Creepy Stories About Haunted Lighthouses

List RulesVote up the creepiest tales of haunted lighthouses.

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.

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  • Photo: Jill24295 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
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    A Woman's Spirit Targets Unsuspecting Men At Southeast Light

    The Block Island Southeast Light sits 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and was designated a historic landmark in 1997. The structure is notable for being "one of the finest lighthouses constructed by the US Light House Board in the 19th century," according to the National Park Service.

    There are two tales associated with this stately lighthouse that contribute to its haunting. The first involves visions of a ghost ship called the Palatine or Princess Augusta that wrecked off the island's northernmost point. It is said that the departed sailors continue to sail around the coast aboard their phantom vessel.

    The other - and more frightening - story relating to the lighthouse involves the spirit of a woman. It's said that a keeper brutally slew his wife sometime in the 1800s and her ghost haunts the lighthouse. She specifically targets the men who visit there, and male visitors have spoken of a harassing spirit who has shaken them, lifted their beds, and locked them out of their rooms.

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  • Photo: OlyPat60 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
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    One Child And Two Adult Specters Wander Battery Point Lighthouse

    Battery Point Lighthouse is somewhat unique in that it is accessible by foot during low tide, but only by boat during high tide. Built in 1856 and decommissioned by the US Coast Guard in 1965, the lighthouse has built up quite a reputation among the residents of Crescent City, California, as a truly haunted location.

    The lighthouse is said to be visited by three distinct spirits: a child and two adults. Those who tour the lighthouse have reported a feeling of being touched on their shoulders and the sense of a ghostly presence about. Caretakers' slippers have moved from their bed to another location while they slept. There have been other reports of a rocking chair moving on its own, and old sea boots stomping up and down the stairway... as if a ghostly keeper still maintains the light.

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    An Old Keeper Still Haunts Seul Choix Lighthouse

    The Seul Choix Lighthouse was commissioned by the Michigan State Congress back in 1886. After six years of construction, the 79-foot tower was placed into operation. Today, the lighthouse is home to a well-known ghost called Captain Joseph Willie Townsend, who is considered something of a paranormal prankster.

    Captain Townsend lived nearby until he succumbed to consumption in 1910. He passed during winter when the ground was frozen over, which meant he couldn't be buried until the thaw. His body was placed in the basement of the lighthouse and stored for several months. This is said to be the cause of his haunting: his body remained for so long that his spirit was trapped within the tower. 

    Every so often, pieces of cutlery are mixed about on a table, and there is a definite presence of heavy cigar smoke when nobody is smoking anywhere near the building. The old captain has also left his footprints in the snow and has been seen watching people from the windows halfway up the tower.

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  • Photo: Derek Ramsey / Wikimedia Commons / GNU Free
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    An Old Sea Captain Warns Of Fog At Owls Head Lighthouse

    Seated on a southern promontory in Maine's Penobscot Bay, Owls Head Lighthouse dates back to 1825.

    The hauntings of the old lighthouse aren't related to any of the massive storms or shipwrecks that take up much of the area's history; instead, they deal with an old sea captain who is said to have been a former keeper. According to legend, the phantom captain appears to keepers and members of their family to warn them of approaching fog. His footprints have been seen in the snow around the lighthouse, and he has been blamed for lowering the temperature of the thermostat to keep the place chilly.

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