Haunted Lighthouses – New London Ledge Lighthouse

Located at the mouth of the Thames River, entrance to New London Harbor, Connecticut at the eastern end of Long Island Sound sits the New London Ledge Lighthouse. Built in 1909 on the Southwest Ledge, the lighthouse was originally called the Southwest Ledge Light, but to avoid confusion with another lighthouse in New Haven, the Southwest Ledge Light, the lighthouse was renamed to New London Ledge Light in 1910.

This lighthouse itself is a unique, one-of-a-kind structure with square red brick quarters topped with a mansard roof (a French type of roof designed to make maximum use of the interior space of the attic) and a circular lantern room. To appease the residents who didnt want to gaze upon an eyesore sitting in the sea, the lighthouse was built in Colonial and French architectural style in order to blend in with the large and historic homes on the shores.

The lighthouse was finally built after a half-century of petitions requesting an offshore lighthouse – the first one in 1845 – from mariners and residents stating the dangers to maritime traffic in the area due to the inadequcy of the four buoys in the harbor and the The New London Harbor Lighthouse on the shore. The Lighthouse Board detailed the inherent dangers to maritime traffic at New London to Congress in 1902 and 1903 and requested funds for constructing a lighthouse. The construction was completed in 1909. The United States Coast Guard officially took over the care of the lighthouse in 1939 and still keeps an eye on the place. Most of the stories of the ghostly lightkeeper have come from the Coast Guard crews manning the lighthouse.

New London Ledge is locally famous for the ghost nicknamed Ernie who allegedly haunts the lighthouse. The famous ghost legend Ernie was a lightkeeper supposedly jumped to his death from the roof of the lighthouse after learning that his wife ran off with the captain of the Block Island Ferry in 1936.

Ernie is said to make his presence known by opening and closing doors, washing the decks, operating the light and fog signal, and untying secured boats to let them drift away. Before the station was automated, Coast Guard crews on duty reported frequently hearing mysterious knocks on their bedroom doors in the middle of the night, doors opening and closing, the television being turned on and off repeatedly, and covers pulled off the end of their bed.

The New London Ledge Lighthouse was the last remaining manned lighthouse on Long Island Sound when it was finally automated in 1987. Since then, reports of Ernie’s visits have dramatically decreased, most likely because there is hardly ever anyone there. This seems to be a relief to those who were stuck manning the light house. The final day of manned operation shows a log entry reading, “A Rock of slow torture. Ernie’s domain. Hell on earth. May New London Ledge’s light shine on forever because I’m through. I will watch it from afar while drinking a brew.”

There have been investigations at the lighthouse. In the late ’90s, a TV reporter from Japan spent a night inside the lighthouse to investigate the story of Ernie, and loud whispering noises were heard through the night, audible on camera. The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), who have become known by their series “Ghost Hunters” on the Sci-Fi Channel, investigated the place in 2005 but made no significant observations.

Today, the lighthouse is leased by the Coast Guard to the New London Ledge Lighthouse Foundation, partly funded by the City of New London. The lighthouse is used as a maritime classroom, while the Coast Guard continues to maintain the automated light. The group plans to eventually open the lighthouse as a museum and may offer overnight accommodations.

Denise Villani is an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on haunted stuff by visiting

Haunted Lighthouses – Seguin Island Light

Way up in the northeastern corner of the U.S, perched high on its own little barren island made of rock, sits Sequin Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse, located at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Georgetown, Maine, is the second lighthouse that was ever built in Maine and is one of the oldest in the U.S. The little island of rock, located in an area that is frequently shrouded in fog — an average of 2,734 hours of fog every year — and hammered with cold, high winds, seemed almost designed by nature to harbor a lighthouse.

Merchants submitted the petition for the lighthouse in 1786, but the government didn’t order the lighthouse built until 1795. Once President George Washington gave the order, the lighthouse construction began and the project was completed in 1797 at a cost of $6,300.

Sequin Island Lighthouse holds the title as the highest elevated lighthouse in Maine, standing just over 180 feet above sea level. The fixed, non-flashing light is visible to ships as far out as 40 miles. Due to the high occurance of fog in this area, the light house is equipped with one of the most powerful fog horns ever made. The original structure was replaced in 1820, and again in 1857 when the present structure was erected. The light was continued to be manually monitored until it was fully automated in 1985.

The history of Seguin Island Light Station is filled with strange and tragic stories.

One is that of the first lightkeeper who died penniless and boatless on the island. Some say his ghost has haunted the keepers who came after him. There have been sightings of a ghost who has been named the “Old Captain”. He is usally seen climbing the staircase of the tower as if heading upstairs to tend to the light.

One night the old furnishings were being removed from the premesis. Apparently the man in charge of the crew moving the furniture was awakened in the middle of the night by the “Old Captain” who asked him not to take the furniture and to leave his home alone. The man didn’t grant the request and the next day after the furniture had been loaded onto a boat and was being lowered into the water, the cable mysteriously snapped. The boat and everything in it fell onto the rocks below and were smashed into pieces. It appears the “Old Captain” got his way afterall.

Another frequent sighting is that of a young girl running up and down the stairs and waving to those who see her. She has also been heard laughing and bouncing a ball in a room upstairs. History shows that a young girl died on the island and was buried near the lighthouse.

Perhaps the most tragic incident that occured on the island is that of a former caretaker in the mid 1800’s who was driven insane and murdered his wife, then took his own life. Legend states the caretaker brought his wife to live with him at the lighthouse shortly after they were married. As time went by, she became depressed and sullen and he bought her a piano to help cheer her up.

Unfortunately, she didn’t memorize music and had to play from sheet music. Since she had only had one piece of sheet music on the island, she played the same song over and over until her husband finally took an axe to the piano and to her, and then killed himself.

Passing ships have reported that the sound of faint piano music coming from the island can be heard floating out over the waves on still, calm evenings.

Additional accounts of the paranormal include doors opening and closing by themselves, mysterous cold spots, coats being thrown onto the floor, tools disappearing and reappearing at random, and coughing from an unseen source.

The Sequin Island Lighthouse is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and is accessible by boat from Bath, Popham Beach, or Boothbay Harbor.

Denise Villani is an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on haunted lighthouses by visiting

Haunted Lighthouses – Owls Head Light, Owls Head, Maine

The booming lime trade of the 1820’s on Maine’s midcoast led to the construction of a lighthouse on Owls Head, an area located at the entrance to Rockland Harbor, Maine. In 1825, President John Quincy Adams authorized the building of a lighthouse on a promontory south of Rockland Harbor in Penobscot Bay.

The relatively short, brick lighthouse – only 30 feet tall – is situated on a hill about 100 feet above the water.

A tall lighthouse was unnecessary because of the height of the promontory. The present brick tower was constructed in 1852 and fitted with a fourth-order fresnel lens. The tower remains relatively unchanged from the time when it was first built. Besides it’s unusually short height, the lighthouse also has a long series of wooden steps leading up to the light from the keeper’s house, which is a feature unique to this house.

The original lamps and reflectors were replaced by a fourth-order Fresnel lens in 1856, and the lens remains in use today. The ligthhouse was fully automated in 1989 and contnues to shine it’s that can be seen up to 16 nautical miles away to this day. Because the lighthouse is located in a region that is particularly prone to fog, the light is equipped with a powerful fog signal.

The origin of the name “Owl’s head” is somewhat of a mystery. Some have suggested that the promontory where the lighthouse sits looks like an owl from the water. Others say Owl’s Head is the English translation of the Indian name for the location, Medadacut.

Owl’s Head Light is known for many tales that have been passed down through the years. One of the most memorable tales is that of the frozen lovers. The area was hit by a massive storm on December 22, 1850 which caused five vessels to go aground. One of those, a small schooner, whose captain had gone ashore, was send out to sea after the cables tying it to the dock broke loose. The first mate, his fiance and and a seaman were left onboard to huddle together on the deck and nearly froze in the surf. The seaman was able to escape at one point and made it to shore, exhausted and nearly frozen. Fortunately, he reached the road the road to the lighthouse where he was rescued by the keeper. Barely able to speak, he alerted the keeper about the others still on the schooner and a rescue party was rounded up.

The rescue party found what was left of the schooner and found the young couple frozen in a block of ice. The couple appeared to be dead, but the men brought the block to the kitchen of the keeper’s house. They chipped the ice away, and slowly, if not miraculously, the couple began to show signs of life. The young couple soon recovered, evenutally married and had four children. Unfortunately, the seaman who perpetuated their rescue never recovered.

A second tale is that of a keeper’s dog who lived in the lighthouse in the 1930’s. The dog, named Spot, was trained to pull on the fog bell’s rope when he heard a boat approaching. In one incident, the rope was buried in the snow and Spot was unable to ring the bell. Instead, he barked continuously until he heard the approaching boat’s whistle beyond the rocks. Spot’s loud barking has been credited with warning the captain just in time to steer the boat and avoid the rocks. Spot was known as somewhat of a local hero and celebrity and is said to be buried on the side of the hill near the former location of the fog bell.

Oddly enough, the hauntings of Owl’s head Light don’t appear to be linked to either of these tales. The keeper’s house is said to be haunted by an “old sea captain” – who is most likely a former keeper, although no one is sure. According to local legend, one night the three-year-old daughter of a keeper woke her parents and announced, “Fog’s rolling in! Time to put the foghorn on!”. The parents had never brought up that subject with their daughter and had no clue where she would have picked up the lingo. They soon discovered that she apparently had an imaginary friend who resembled an old sea captain. He has been seen by other former keepers and likes to leave his footprints in the snow outside the lighthouse and polish the brass. He also may be responsible for lowering the thermostat and keeping the place chilly, perhaps in an effort to conserve energy.

The second spectre in the lighthouse is known as the “Little Lady”. The lady spirit is frequently seen in the kitchen. She seems to like to slam doors shut unexpectedly and rattle the silverware. Everyone who has encountered her has stated that her presence brought about a feeling of peace. Most agree that she is probably a wife of one of the many former keepers of the light who loved the place so much she decided never to leave.

Owls Head Light is located on an active Coast Guard facility. The keeper’s house is still used as a residence for Coast Guard personnel and the surrounding grounds are now known as Owl’s Head State Park. The orignial bell tower is now gone, but an 1895 oil house is still standing.

Denise Villani is an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on haunted lighthouses by visiting