The Haunted Dog
The haunting footsteps of a keeper who was murdered by his assistant at St. Simon's light in Georgia have been reported by many keepers and visitors since the 1880's. But none have really been bothered by his poltergeist-like presence like Jinx, the dog of one of the keepers. The Svendsen's took over caretaking duties in the early 1900's, and brought along their dog, a friendly pooch named Jinx.
One day, as Mrs. Svendsen was preparing supper, she heard footsteps on the stairs. Thinking it was her husband coming down, she paid no attention. However, when the door opened, there was no one there, but Jinx started growling, and followed an unseen presence across the floor. As the footsteps approached the corner where Jinx was sitting, he growled, his fur stood up on his back, and he backed into the corner. Dogs and cats are said to sense the presence of the supernatural more than humans, and it was apparent that Jinx did not like this apparition. Unfortunately, this keeper seemed to like Jinx, or maybe he was just torturing him, but from then on, he would always approach the poor dog. It's said that dogs can sense whether a person is truly good or not, and maybe Jinx knew something about this ghost that others didn't, but for his entire stay at the lighthouse, Jinx was haunted by the keeper's spirit.
The First Female Lightkeeper
Near to where the Pilgrims came ashore in the New World, stands one of America's earliest lighthouses, at Gurnet Point in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In the early days of the US history, lightkeepers were usually appointed because they owned the land where the colonial government wished to put a lighthouse. Such was the case with John and Hannah Thomas. Two towers were put up on land they owned. The lights were first lit in 1769, but shortly thereafter John left to fight in the Revolutionary War. Hannah kept the lights burning all by herself.
John never came back from the war, and in 1790, Hannah was appointed the Keeper. In 1801, the towers caught fire and burned to the ground. Both towers were replaced, but the northeast one was dismantled in 1924. Hannah remained as keeper until 1790, and her son took over the position until 1812. It's believed that Hannah still haunts the house. Lighthouse photographers Bob and Sandra Shanklin were fortunate to spend the night at Gurnet Point in the keeper's house. In their own words:
At some point, something woke Bob. He raised up on his elbow and watched the light come around, illuminating the windows for a few seconds each time. Then he looked over toward me (Sandra), who was sleeping soundly. Above me, he saw the head and shoulders of a woman. He described her as being a green blue electric spark color. He said she had an old time hairdo, sunken cheeks and the saddest face he ever saw. Bob told me that she wasn't wrinkled and he didn't think she was an old woman. He said he felt no threat from her, but only her sadness. As he watched her, out of the corner of his eye he could see the rays of light from the lighthouse come around several times, brightening the room. He looked toward the light, then looked back to where she had been and she was gone.
Battery Point Lighthouse near Crescent City, California has quite a history. On March 27, 1964, Crescent City was hit by four or five tsunamis that killed seven people and destroyed twenty-nine city blocks, but the lighthouse stood firm. Divine intervention, or the hands of the resident ghosts?
No one is sure about the identities of the three ghosts, but a paranormal research team identified two adults and one child. The ghosts have been heard by several people, mos notably as seaboots walking up and down the stairs, particularly during storms. The lighthouse is currently a museum, and the previous curators, the Tugels, even wrote about their experiences with the ghosts in a brochure handed out to visitors. They describe a rocking chair that rocks by itself, the feeling of a hand tapping people on their shoulders, and the experiences of their cats. The cats were terrified of something, and one room they would never enter. In another, they would not walk on the floor, only on the furniture. Sometimes animals are the best sensitives among us.
Treasure and Pirates
Gasparilla Island, Florida, is named after legendary pirate Jose Gaspar. Tales of his ferocity and buried treasure on the island where he lived when not raiding Spanish merchant ships abound. By some accounts, he plundered over 400 ships. He would kill all the crew members, except for beautiful women, whom he took to an island and held them captive as concubines, or until a ransom was paid.
One woman, Useppa, or Josefa, a particularly beautiful Spanish princess, caught his eye. She however, wanted nothing to do with him and spurned his advances, even spitting in his eye. Enraged, he drew his cutlass and beheaded her. Immediately regretting the act, he took her body to Gasparilla Island and personally buried her near to where the lighthouse now stands, but kept her head with him in a jar on his ship as a memento of her beauty. Legend has it that she walks the shore looking for her head.
During the lighthouse's history, a young daughter of one of the keepers died of diptheria. Park rangers have claimed that at midnight, you can hear the sounds of a child playing upstairs.
The Locked Up Ghost
Perhaps best known for being the home of Abbie Burgess, a true lighthouse heroine and subject of the popular children's book, "Keep the Lights Shining, Abbie," Matinicus Rock sits out in Penobscot Bay, about 6 miles south of Matinicus Island, near Rockland, Maine. It's just a rock outcropping, and a very harsh environment for anyone. But especially so for one unknown keeper, who perhaps couldn't take the desolation and loneliness and climbed up into one of the disabled towers, strung a rope around his neck and hung himself. His death was discovered a few days later, when the residents of Matinicus Island noticed the light hadn't been lit in a few days.
The tower he hung himself in is always kept locked. Coast Guardsmen say it's because if they don't, he escapes and causes havoc. The Guardsmen swore he still clumped around the tower, breaking dishes, turning over chairs and throwing supplies into disarray. The men stationed there thought they'd figured out how to stop the haunting when they locked and barred the door going into the tower. Maybe he'd stay put, they reasoned. He did, for a while. But then a crewman had to fetch material from the tower and he opened the door and new problems tormented the station. The light did not work, machinery malfunctioned and the foghorn developed laryngitis. Only as long as the door stayed locked did the lighthouse remain quiet.