Haunted Light In Poor Condition
Restoration on Bird Island Lighthouse, Buzzard’s Bay, Mass, has been kickstarted even though the head of the preservation group, Charles Bradley, Jr., is retiring. In a letter to the Board of Selectmen, he outlined the repairs that needed to be done. These include repairs to the handrail, windows that need cauling and a new coat of paint.
Bird Island Lighthouse, Buzzard’s Bay, Mass
The town of Marion, the owners, made a half hearted attempt at restoring the light in 1976, but until the early 1990s when Bradley, harbormaster at the time, saw the deterioration, it sat neglected. He started a committee that applied for grants and did fundraisers and raised more than $123,000 to save the light. It was relit in 1997 as a Private Aid to Navigation.
“We have some money people have donated over the years put away in a trust fund but it’s time to start raising serious money.”
One thing that makes it hard is the island is a federally protected nesting habitat for the endangered Roseate and Common terns. But the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP), part of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, has placed the three acre island’s repairs on its todo list.
The story in the Wareham Courier reminds us of the haunted history of the island and lighthouse, along with the tragic stories of its isolated location. From its pages:
According to local legend, Moore was a pirate and had been banished to Bird Island as a form of punishment. He allegedly murdered his wife at the lighthouse and disappeared soon after. Others believed his wife became ill and he refused to take her to the mainland for medical care therefore causing her death. While there is no grave to mark her final resting place, it is believed she was indeed buried on the island and there has been talk of the island being haunted and cursed ever since. People, including subsequent keepers, were even convinced they had seen her ghost wandering around in the night.
Living on the island was indeed a curse for Peter Murray who was the light keeper in 1891. During one particularly brutal winter, his 11-month-old son became ill with pneumonia. With no means to get off the island, Murray shut down the lights in the tower in a desperate attempt to draw attention towards the island. Tragically, help arrived too late for the baby. He was buried on the mainland and the Murray family never again returned to Bird Island.
More information and photos can be found at New England Lighthouses - A Virtual Guide.