Haunted Lighthouses – Presque Isle Lighthouse, Michigan

Located on the land protruding from the eastern shore of Lake Huron in Michigan, you’ll find the Presque Isle Lighthouse. The name Presque Isle comes from the French term that means “almost an island.” Congress appropriated $7,000 to fund the construction of the lighthouse in 1838 and construction started shortly thereafter. The lighthouse was completed in 1840.

The original Presque Isle Lighthouse tower stood 30 feet high with four foot thick walls at the base. Inside was a hand-cut stone stairway that spiraled around the interior wall of the tower up to the lantern. About 30 feet from the lighthouse a small detached single story lightkeeper’s residence was built. The light was lit for the first time in September of 1840 when the first keeper moved in.

By 1866, the keeper’s dwelling was in such poor condition that nothing short of a complete rebuild would make the structure liveable again. The owner requested that money be made available for the rennovation of the building and Congress approved the requested appropriation on March 2, 1867.

As the construction was about to begin, the Lighthouse Board changed its direction. Due to the height of the standing lighthouse tower, it was only functional to light the harbor. It was decided that instead of refurbishing the standing buildings they would construct a larger light at the tip of the peninsula about a mile north of the original, along with two range lights to help light the harbor. These new lights would render the current light virtually obsolete and the planned rennovation was cancelled.

The new lighthouse was completed in 1871 and the lightkeeper moved with his family to the new location. The new light was lit on June 1, 1871 and the lens and lantern from the original light were removed and shipped off to be used elsewhere. After the lantern was removed, the old tower was left uncapped and the windows and doors were boarded-up. The buildings stood empty and in disrepair for 26 years.

Finally, in 1897 the lighthouse and surrounding property were sold at public auction. Once again, the buildings sat in disrepair for years, being used mainly as a picnic area for guests of a nearby hotel.

When the property was purchased again in the 1930’s, the new owners rebuilt the light keeper’s dwelling in the style of an old English cottage and used it for a summer home. In the 1940’s, vacationers started asking for tours of the old light station and the owner realized that converting the property into a museum might make him some money. The old tower was refurbished, washed-out cement was replaced between the stones, and a fresh coat of white paint was applied.

The old cottage was furnished with mid-nineteenth century period items and maritime artifacts were displayed in the cottage as well as on the grounds. The station finally got electricity in 1965, and the light was reactivated in the tower. The Coast Guard wouldn’t allow it to be used as an official lighthouse, however, so the old light was again deactivated.

In 1977, a retired couple, George and Lorraine Parris took over the property as live-in tour guides and custodians. George was a personable man who enjoyed his job at the lighthouse and loved greeting the visitors to the lighthouse, especially the children. He enjoyed taking the visitors to the lighthouse on a tour of the buildings and grounds and shared stories of the lives of the lightkeepers and their families. He also liked to play harmless pranks on visitors by blowing the foghorn just to make sure everyone was paying attention. The loud, unexpected sound gave everyone a start. Sadly, George died of a massive heart attack on January 2, 1992.

Lorraine stayed on and continued their work at the tower. One night on her way back to the light station, she saw a light shining in the old lighthouse. Knowing full well that this was impossible since George had disconnected the electricity to the tower years before, she was a bit frazzled.

The Coast Guard had said it was illegal to display a light in the old tower because mariners might confuse it with the New Presque Lighthouse. To ensure that no accidental lighting would occur, the Coast Guard had actually removed the gears so the lens could no longer rotate. It was impossible to come up with a reasonable explanation for why the light was there.

Soon other people began reporting the light in the old tower. National Guard pilots have reported seeing it when they flew night missions over the peninsula. There have also been reports that George’s light guiding people to safety on dark, stormy, foggy nights. To this day, the light still comes on at dusk and goes off at daylight. The U.S. Coast Guard has classified it as n “unidentified” light.

In July 1992, a little girl reported seeing a man at the top of the stairs leading to the lantern room. The little girl said he was a tall man with white hair, a beard, and was wearing glasses. When she was shown a picture of George, she said that was the man she saw in the tower but he was “brighter white” when she saw him. Another story, possibly a different version of the same story, reports that a little girl touring the lighthouse with her family climbed to the top of the tower and came back down giggling. She said she had been talking to the man in the tower.

The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Sites in 1973. The area was incorporated into the State Park by the State of Michigan and donated to the Township in 1995. The Township Historical Society continues to operate the lighthouse as a museum open seven days a week from May through October.

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 – Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse

Located at the southern end of Gasparilla Island you’ll find the Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. Right next to the lighthouse sits its twin – a building that served as the lighthouse keeper’s assitant’s home. Originally built in 1890, these two buildings were nearly lost to the sea. By 1970, the shoreline had been eroded by hundreds of feet and the sea was beginning to reach the lighthouse foundation. Local concern grew and the government took steps ensure the lighthouse would be around for future generations.

When phosphate was discovered several miles upriver from the lighthouse’s future location in the early 1880’s, the phosphate was shipped down the river on barges to Port Boca Grande and then loaded onto ocean-going vessels. Due to the increased business of the port, Congress appriated $35,000 for the construction of a lighthouse at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island in 1888, and the Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was born.

Lighthouse keepers and their families lived and worked in the lighthouse from 1890 until 1951. The Boca Grande lighthouse served as a home for the lighthouse keeper and his family, and the twin building next to it served as home to the assistant lighthouse keeper. The keeper would take care of the light until midnight, and then his assistant would tend to the light for the rest of the night.

The Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is thought to have two ghosts. During the lighthouse’s history, the young daughter of one of the keepers died in the dwelling, most likely of diphtheria or whooping cough. Tour guides say that she can be heard playing in one of the rooms of the building’s upper floor. A former park ranger who led tours of the lighthouse, often pointed to a doorway on the second floor and told visitors that it was one of the little girl’s favorite places to play. the former ranger also said that at midnight, the little girl can be heard upstairs playing.

The second ghost is said to be the headless spectre of a Spanish princess named Josefa. Legend says that a Spanish pirate, Jose Gaspar (aka Gasparilla), buried his treasure in the sand close to where the Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse was to be built some ninety years later. Apparently, Gaspar fell in love with this Spanish princess he had kidnapped. She wasn’t interested and when she rejected his love, he drew his sword in a fit of rage and cut off her head. Shamed by what he had done to Josefa, Gasparilla gathered up her lifeless body and buried her in the sand on the island. Unfortunately for her, his love for her was so great that he didn’t want to leave her and legend says he carried his beloved’s head with him for the rest of his days. Reports say that her headless spirit has been seen wandering the beach on Gasparilla Island, presumably looking for her head.

The U.S. Coast Guard automated the light in 1956. Ten years later, in 1966, the Coast Guard removed the light from the building, which was deteriorating due to neglect and beach erosion. In 1972 Lee County took over ownership of the lighthouse and surrounding 13 acres, and began a long process to save the building. Funds were raised by the Gasparilla Island Conservation Association, and the lighthouse was restored.

The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and in 1986 the lighthouse was relit and returned to service as a working Coast Guard light. In 1988 the lighthouse and surrounding land was transferred from Lee County to the State of Florida and became Gasparilla Island State Park.

The Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is open to the public. Although it’s fenced off, you can get a great view of the lighthouse from the nearby park and beach. The assistant keeper’s house is now used as a house for the park ranger.

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 – Point Lookout Light

The Point Lookout Lighthouse sits on a peninsula that marks the entrance to the Potomac River in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland. The area was known as a pleasant vacation place prior to the Civil War. It was originally part of St. Michael’s Manor, which was owned by the first governor of Maryland. The point had been used as a summer resort, complete with beach cottages and a wharf. The addition of the lighthouse had served to add to the charm of the region.

In 1825, the Federal Government determined that a light needed to be built at Point Lookout to warn ships of the shoals and to mark the entrance to the Potomac River.

The lighthouse was constructed in 1830 as a one-and-a-half story wood and masonry building. This first lighthouse was of little use in navigation since the lantern stood only 24 feet off the ground. It was rebuilt in 1883 as the current two-story structure and the light was raised to 40 feet.

A fog bell tower was added in 1872 and then upgraded in 1889. In 1883, the second story was added to the house to enable the dwelling to house two keepers and their families. In 1927, the house was enlarged to its present size and turned into two separate apartments, each with six rooms and a bath. Electricity was also added around the same timeframe.

Civilian keepers continued to tend the light full-time until 1979, even though it had been transferred to the Coast Guard back in 1939. In 1951, the Navy started buying and building up the property around the lighthouse. In 1965 the light was deactivated and the structures completely turned over to the navy.

The Civil War completely transformed the point from a pleasant vacation spot to a place scarred with permanent reminders of what had occured on the landscape. Hammond General Hospital was constructed in 1862 to care for wounded Union soldiers. The next year, the Union began holding Confederate prisoners at the hospital. As a result, Camp Hoffman, the civil war’s largest prison camp, was constructed near the hospital. The prison camp held as many as 20,000 prisoners at one point. The prison grounds were filthy, very overcrowded and quickly became a breeding ground for disease.

When all was said and done, nearly 4,000 men had died at the camp from disease, starvation or exposure. Their bodies were buried in various locations on or near the lighthouse grounds. In later years when these gravesites were threatened by erosion, they were relocated to a spot just north of Point Lookout.

The trauma and death associated with the prison camp may help explain the many strange, paranormal events that have been reported by lighthouse keepers and visitors over the years, thus earning it the title of “America’s most haunted lighthouse”.

In the years following the end of the war, the onslaught of reports of paranormal occurances in the area began. There were reports of strange noises such as footsteps, snoring, foul odors, lights going on and off, and disembodied voices carrying on conversations, laughing, singing happy tunes or even calling for help. One woman was reportedly awakened in the middle of the night to someone calling her name, but no one was there. Some of these strange sounds have actually been recorded by paranormal investigators over the years.

In addition to the sounds, there have also been numerous reports of apparitions. The most popular of the appartions reported is that of the first lighthouse keeper, Ann Davis, who has been seen standing at the top of the stairs wearing a long, navy blue skirt and white shirt, her normal daily attire.

There have also been reports of transparent figures, possibly in civil war uninforms, moving around in the basement and roaming the grounds outside the lighthouse seemingly searching for their graves that were moved more than a century ago.

Paranormal investigations have been going on for years at Point Lookout. As previously mentioned, some of the investigators have recorded audio proof of other-worldly goings-on. Audio evidence presents twenty-four distinct voices eminating from various locations in the lighthouse. The voices were of both men and women speaking and singing. One voice, believed to be that of a union guard at the prison camp, was recorded saying: “fire if they get too close to you”. Another appears to be that of the former keeper Ann Davis saying: “My house”.

In 2002, the Navy set in motion a complete restoration of the lighthouse exterior. The structure was painted in accordance with it’s color scheme from 1927. The lighthouse was turned over to the State of Maryland in 2006. A few months later, the Point Lookout Lighthouse Preservation Society was founded to raise funds to restore the lighthouse and making it accessible to the public by turning it into a museum.

The lighthouse remains on Navy property and is currently fenced off and not openly accessible to the public. Around Halloween, the location is occasionally open in the daytime for open houses and sometimes in the evening for limited night-time paranormal investigations.

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 – St. Simons Lighthouse

On October 17, 1804, a plantation owner on St. Simons Island, Georgia, deeded four acres of his land at the south end of the island for one dollar to the Federal government for the construction of a lighthouse.

The first lighthouse and a one-story frame residence were built in 1810 at a cost of $13,775. The lighthouse tower stood 85 feet high and was in the shape of an octagonal pyramid. It was 25 feet in diameter at the base a
nd gradually narrowed to 10 feet in diameter at the top. A 10 foot high iron lantern ten feet high rested on top of the tower, and oil lamps were suspended on iron chains in the lantern.

The first keeper was appointed in May 1810 and the tower was lit for the first time. In 1857, a newer, more modern lens was installed and the lighthouse’s power and range were greatly improved.

The light guided mariners in St. Simons Sound for years until the Civil War. During the Civil War, artillery troops and six field guns were stationed at Fort Brown, just west of the lighthouse, to protect St. Simons Sound.

Evenutally, the Confederate troops were forced to evacuate due to an invasion by Federal troops. Before they left, however, they proceeded to blow up the lighthouse to prevent the opposing troops from using it as a navigational aid. For the next ten years, a cotton barn on nearby Retreat Plantation served as a navigational reference for ships entering Brunswick harbor. The tall cotton barn showed up on maps as “King’s Cotton House.”

The U. S. Government ordered the construction of a second lighthouse that was placed west of the first one. The construction consisted of a white, 104-foot tower containing a 129-step cast iron spiral staircase and a two-story brick lighthouse keeper’s dwelling next door.

The construction of the lighthouse brought tragedy, as the head of the construction and some of the crew didn’t live long enough to see their project completed. Stagnant ponds on the island were the perfect breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes. Many of the men were bitten and infected with malaria and died a year before the construction was finished.

Official records of the lighthouse keeper stated in 1874: “This station is very unhealthy, and it is attributed to the stagnant water in several ponds in the vicinity.” In 1876, the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment performed a complete overhaul of the lighthouse and the light keeper’s house to improve the condition of the buildings.

Originally, the keeper and his family along with the assistant and his family both lived in the keeper’s house. The keeper and his family resided downstairs and the assistant and his family lived upstairs. A central stairway connected the two households. The house was connected to the tower by a room in the keeper’s dwelling.

Around 1910, the building was converted into two apartments with the removal of the central staircase. An exterior staircase, stoop, and door were added on the north side giving access to the second floor. These steps and stoop were removed, the doorway re-bricked, and the central stairway rebuilt during the 1975 rehabilitation.

The lighthouse keeper’s house served as a home for the lighthouse keepers from 1872 until 1950. The lighthouse kerosene lamp was replaced by electricity in 1934. In the summer of 1939, the lighthouse was placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1953 the lighthouse was fully automated and the last lighthouse keeper retired.

Stories of the haunting stem from an argument in 1880, between then lighthouse keeper Frederick Osborne and his assistant. Apparently the two men got into a heated argument that ended with a fatal gunshot that left Osborne dead.

The assistant keeper, who was never charged in the case, continued tending the light, although legend says he didn’t seem to be tending it alone. Reportedly, he frequently heard the eerie sound of footsteps at night in the vacant tower.

Through the years, many other people claim to have also heard the sound of the heavy footsteps climbing the tower staircase, including the wives of keepers that tended the light in the years following the murder. Perhaps Osborne has decided to stay around and continue his duties.

In 2004, control of the lighthouse was handed over to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under the Lighthouse Preservation Act. Today, with the assistance of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the light still serves as a navigational aid to help guide mariners through the dark nights and stormy weather.

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 – Heceta Head Lighthouse

Named for the Spanish sailor Don Bruno Heceta who discovered the location in 1755, the Heceta Head Lighthouse sits in a beautiful location on the coast of Oregon just north of Florence.

Formerly known as Devil’s Elbow State Park, the area includes the cove south of the lighthouse and the lighthouse itself. The area has since been renamed Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint.

From the head keeper’s house, perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you get a magnificent view of the water and the beach below. Because of its beautiful setting, Heceta Head Light is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the United States.

The lighthouse tower itself is 56 feet tall and sits 205 feet above sea level. The Heceta Head Lighthouse is known to be the most powerful light on the Oregon coast. Its light can be seen 21 miles out to sea and is hampered only by the curvature of the earth.

Construction of the lighthouse began in 1892. The project completion was hampered and delayed by the cliff-top site since nothing could be done until the roads were built in order for the supplies to be brought up to the site. Although the complete project was said to have taken about 5 years, the light itself was lit for the first time in March of 1894.

The original construction consisted of the lighthouse tower, a single buidling that served as a home for the head keeper, a duplex building where the two assistant keepers lived and several storage type buildings. The single building was demolished in 1940 and the lumber was used to build The Alpha-Bit Cafe in Mapleton, Oregon, about 14 miles east of the lighthouse. The lighthouse was automated in 1963 and there was no longer a need for a lightkeeper.

The lighthouse tower itself is not thought to be haunted, but stories about strange happenings at Heceta House have been told for years, landing it on the list of the ten most haunted houses in the United States. The spirit of a lady nicknamed Rue, or the “Gray Lady” is reportedly the resident ghost of Heceta House.

Nearly every resident since the 1950s has reported unusual incidents and those reports continue to this day. All of the incidents have been friendly; maybe sometimes mischevious. Although no official records have been found, there is a grave of an infant girl on the premesis. Many people believe the spirit of the infant girl’s mother still haunts the location, possibly watching over her little girl.

This lady ghost nicknamed “Rue” doesn’t seem to like it when construction is done or changes are made to the buildings. Reportedly some volunteer workers had gone up to the location to do some painting and were spending the night. Through the night, the fire alarm kept going off. Even though no fire was discovered, the alarm continued to go off. After growing tired of being woken up by the sound of the alarm, they removed the battery, but to no avail. The alarm sounded yet again. Perhaps Rue didn’t like the color of paint they were using?

Probably the most widely known incident reported at the Heceta House is that of a workman who came face to face with Rue in the attic. He was so startled that he fled the building and refused to go back into the attic.

A few days later, he accidentally broke the attic window when he was working on the exterior of the building. Since he refuseed to actually go inside the attic, he repaired the window from the outside and the broken glass was left scattered on the floor of the attic. That night, workers reported hearing scraping noises coming from the attic. In the morning when they went to the attic to investigate, they found that the glass had been swept into a neat pile beneath the repaired window.

Rue has other ways of making her presence known including moving random objects, opening and closing cupboard doors, peering down at people from the attic window, and appearing as a smoky gray mist – thus the nickname “Gray Lady”.

Heceta house is now a renowned bed and breakfast that has become so popular that there is a three-month waiting list for reservations. Both the lighthouse and the light keeper’s house are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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