Top 10 Haunted Lighthouses in the United States

It’s not uncommon to see haunted lighthouses featured in modern day horror films, such as The Ring or The Fog. Why? Because not only do lighthouses provide a naturally dark and eerie atmosphere, but many of them have been around for, well, over a century.

Lightkeepers and their families often lead very solitary lives during the 18th and 19th Centuries. Before automatic light systems were put into place, lighthouses needed to be regulated at all times.

Haunted LighthousesMany men were involved in this process, and it was only natural that some of them, along with their family members, died while employed.

Today, many people visit lighthouses throughout the United States for their historical significance, but others visit in the hopes of spotting an apparition. Many lighthouses have developed a reputation for being haunted.

Today, we present the top 10 most haunted lighthouses in the U.S.


1. Tybee Lighthouse and the Ghostly Girl

The Tybee Lighthouse was first built in 1736. However, several violent storms and shore erosion caused this Georgia lighthouse to become structurally unsound. As a result, the lighthouse was meticulously rebuilt. Over the years, inclement weather and erosion did away with the light a couple more times, and the lighthouse that stands today is actually the fourth one on Tybee Island.

Many people who visit this scary lighthouse have reported hearing disembodied sounds, such as phantom whistling and the sound of unseen feet. A few people have even reported seeing the apparition of a five-year-old while climbing the stairwell. The ghost girl, who wears historic clothing, warns visitors not to go any further up the staircase.

Some paranormal enthusiasts have theorized that the girl may have perished when one of the previous Tybee lighthouses crumbled to the ground in a storm.


2. Owl’s Head Lighthouse and the Loyal Captain

The Owl’s Head Light Lighthouse overlooks the beautiful Penobscot Bay in Maine. The area surrounding the lighthouse has been established as the Owl’s Head Light State Park and is protected from development. The lighthouse was first built in 1825.

Historical records have been written about a three-year-old girl who once lived in the lighthouse with her parents. One morning, the girl woke her parents up, forewarning them that a dangerous fog was about to roll into the bay. When her parents asked the girl how she knew the fog was coming, she informed them that she had an imaginary friend. Her parents discovered that this imaginary friend was, in fact, the ghost of a former sea captain.

Despite the fact that the lighthouse itself is no longer accessible to the public, many people visit the park each year and have witnessed the sea captain still wandering about the grounds. Folks who live near the haunted lighthouse year round have reported seeing his footprints in the snow.


3. Point Lookout Lighthouse and the Dead Soldiers Who Still Linger There

The Point Lookout Lighthouse was built in Scotland, Maryland in 1830. Some people consider the structure to be one of the most haunted lighthouses in North America. Several ghostly figures have been known to appear and suddenly vanish within the lighthouse structure. Some people have reported seeing doors open and close seemingly of their own volition. The most common things experienced are disembodied voices and the sound of running footsteps.

Some researchers believe that Point Lookout is fraught with so much activity because a hospital and a prison camp for Confederate soldiers had been erected and used near the premises during the Civil War.


4. Seul Choix Lighthouse and the Basement Apparition

Haunted LighthouseThe 1892 Seul Choix Lighthouse overlooks Lake Michigan at Seul Choix Point. Today, the structure is available for tours from Memorial Day through mid-October. The house where the light keepers once resided has now been converted into a museum.

Tourists claim that the ghost of the former keeper, Captain Joseph Townsend, haunts Seul Choix. He died in the keeper house during the early 1900s. It was in the middle of winter when he passed on, and the ground was too frozen for immediate burial. His body was stored in the basement until spring, and many people believe this is why he haunts the lighthouse.

Captain Townsend was very fond of cigars, and some visitors have reported smelling cigar smoke in the museum. Staff members have stated that chairs in the kitchen are often frequently disturbed even when the museum isn’t open to the public. A couple people have reported seeing the ghostly face of a bearded man peering through the windows.


5. St Simons Lighthouse and the Deadly Fight

The St. Simons Lighthouse was first built in 1810 on Saint Simons Island in Georgia. Unfortunately, the original structure was destroyed by a troop of Confederate soldiers who did not want the light from the lighthouse to aid approaching Union warships. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1872.

Eight years later, a violent argument broke out between keeper Frederick Osborne and his assistant, John Stevens. It is uncertain what the argument was about, but Stevens wound up shooting Osborne. Stevens was never charged with the crime, and took on the role of light keeper. Rumor has it that Stevens was haunted by the ghost of Osborne, and today phantom footsteps can still be heard stomping along the staircase.


6. Battery Point Lighthouse and the Wave of Death

Battery Point Lighthouse, once known as the Crescent City Light Station, was built in 1856. During low tide, the lighthouse is situated on a peninsula in Northern California, but the area becomes an island when the tide comes in. While the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1965, its automated light is still used by sea faring vessels coming in from the Pacific Ocean.

A year before the lighthouse was automated, the keeper and his family witnessed a horrible tragedy. A large tsunami hit northern California. Seven city blocks of Crescent City was decimated before their very eyes. Since that awful day in history, many people believe Battery Point became a haunted lighthouse. Paranormal investigators who have come to Battery Point believe three ghostly entities live there; one child and two adults.

Visitors have reported being touched by unseen hands on their shoulders and phantom footsteps. Caretakers have also stated that their shoes are often in a different place while they asleep and that a rocking chair on the premises has been known to move on its own.


7. Presque Isle Lighthouse and Its Laughing Light Keeper

The Presque Isle lighthouse was built in 1840 on the shore of Lake Huron in Michigan. Thirty years later, another lighthouse was constructed nearby, and the original Presque Lighthouse lay abandoned for three decades. In the early 1900s, the Stebbins family fell in love with the old structure and lovingly restored it. They lived in the keeper’s house and gave tours of the original lighthouse to the public. After the Stebbins family passed away, the lighthouse remained open for tourism until George and Lorraine Parris took over managing the property sometime in the 1970s.

George was known for being fond of children and enjoying nothing more than delighting them and their families while giving tours of the lighthouse. As the lighthouse had not been used to serve boats in a long time, the Coast Guard removed the wires to its lighting system in 1979.

Eventually George passed away, but Lorraine began to suspect that her husband’s ghost remained at the lighthouse. George enjoyed making elaborate breakfasts each morning, and Lorraine often woke to the smell of bacon after he had passed on. She felt her suspicions were confirmed when the light at the top of the lighthouse would somehow turn on, even though it should not have been possible. Both members of the Coast Guard and the National Guard witnessed this strange phenomenon.

Not long after a girl ventured to the top of the lighthouse and when she returned she told her parents that a ghostly man had made her laugh while she was at the top. Upon seeing a portrait of George Parris, the girl said he had been the man she had seen in the lighthouse.


8. Fairport Harbor Lighthouse is Home to Ghostly Whispers

Haunted Lighthouses

By Rona Proudfoot [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Fairport Harbor Lighthouse is located near Lake Erie in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. Both the lighthouse and the keeper’s house were originally built in 1825, but had to be rebuilt in 1871 because of structural issues. The lighthouse was used until 1925, and was overseen by two keepers in particular who have historical significance.

Samuel Butler was the first keeper. Butler was deeply involved in the Underground Railroad, and used the lighthouse as a safe house for runaway slaves who attempted to flee into Canada.

Several decades later, Captain Joseph Babcock and his family managed Fairport, and Babcock was deeply devoted to his job. While he was keeper, his son operated as his assistant and would later become a keeper himself. Babcock and his wife had two children while living at Fairport, but one of them died of smallpox when he was only five years old. Mrs. Babcock eventually became bed-ridden due to illness and kept many cats on the premise as a means of entertaining herself.

Paranormal investigators who have visited Fairport believe it is one of the most haunted lighthouses in existence. They believe both Babcock and Butler’s spirit remain at the house, in addition to the ghostly form of a gray cat. One paranormal investigation team brought a ghost box to the haunted lighthouse and asked a series of questions. When one of the crew members asked, “Are there any ghosts around here?” the ghost box stated, “Spirit of Babcock.” Another member of the team asked, “Where’s Captain Butler?” the box replied, “Spirit.”


9. Sequin Island Lighthouse: Double Trouble

a) The Musical Tale

The original Seguin Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1795 by order of George Washington himself. Located in Georgetown, Maine, the lighthouse underwent two major reconstructions, first in 1819, then again in 1857.

There are many stories about the various light keepers that lived at this lighthouse, but two specific tales are particularly haunting. The first is of a keeper who lived at the lighthouse with his wife in the mid-1800s. Their life was very isolated and lonely. To help combat this, the keeper’s wife had a piano delivered. Unfortunately, she only knew one song, which she played over and over again. The legend has it that this constant repetition eventually drove her husband mad. He grabbed an axe and destroyed the piano, then turned his violence on his wife and then himself.

b) The Unheeded Warning

Another story is of a young girl who passed away on the island. Multiple keepers throughout history reported seeing the apparition of the girl giggling and running up and down the stairs of the lighthouse.

Perhaps the most chilling story, however, occurred in 1985. Members of the Coast Guard had been instructed to visit the lighthouse and decommission its light. The officer in charge was sleeping in the keeper’s house when he woke up to his bed being violently shaken. At the foot was an apparition who ordered the officer not to remove the furniture from his home. While the officer was terrified of this encounter, he did not heed the ghost’s warning.

The following morning the boat that had been stocked with the furniture from the lighthouse sunk before it could reach the mainland.

Today, the lighthouse is available for tours, and the keeper’s house has been converted into a museum that is open to the public. Visitors have reported hearing disembodied music, whispers and footsteps throughout the lighthouse and the house.


10. White River Light Station: The Most Haunted Lighthouse of All Time

The White River Light Station was built in 1875. This lighthouse sits on the White Lake channel of Lake Michigan. Its very first light keeper, Captain Willian Robinson took his post there in 1876. Robinson, along with his wife, Sara, raised eleven children within the keeper’s house. In fact, the Robinson family loved the lighthouse so much that they worked there for forty-seven years. Robinson was eighty-seven years old when he finally decided to retire. He died in the keeper’s house the night before he was set to leave the premises for good.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1960 and became a museum in 1970. Visitors believe that Captain Robinson and Sara are still there. Many tourists have heard the telltale sounds of Robinson’s cane as he moves about the grounds. Staff at the museum have also stated that they believe the ghost of Sara is still there, as she has been known to tidy up after them from time to time.


Timeless Vessels with Eerie HistoryHaunted Lighthouse

These historical structures seem to remain as timeless vessels for the people who have once called them home. Whether you believe in ghosts or are a self-proclaimed skeptic, one must admit that all of the supernatural activity that continues to take place in them seem far more than coincidental.