Ghost Lighthouse of St. Augustine, Florida

January 28, 2014

Haunting paranormal tales.

Since so many paranormal events have occurred at the St. Augustine Lighthouse, I decided to pull together some key  information  from various sources into this one posting.

Over the years, visitors and staff members alike have definitely experienced a lot of strange things. Many paranormal investigators have studied the lighthouse, including the popular TV team, Ghost Hunters. So if you haven’t visited the place, put it on your “to do at some point in my lifetime” list.

Historical Background

The present day lighthouse sits at the northern tip of Anastasia Island directly across Matanzas Bay from downtown St. Augustine. In the evening, from downtown, you can see its beam sweep across those waters and then shift out over the Atlantic.

Erected in 1874, the building was preceded by a coquina stone structure originally built by the Spanish. In fact, the Spanish had maintained a watchtower near the present day site ever since their arrival during the late 1500s. Before the Europeans arrived, of course, Native Americans freely roamed the area.

What People Experience at the Lighthouse Itself

 

  • Each night, staff members lock the door at the top of the lighthouse that leads outside to the viewing balcony. Periodically, they find the door open in the morning. There is a security system but but no alarms sound.
  • On occasion, people see the figure of man at the top of the lighthouse at night even though the place is closed and locked.
  • At times, people smell cigar smoke at the base of the lighthouse. It is always cigar smoke and there are strict No Smoking signs everywhere on the lighthouse grounds.

A Special Lighthouse Story

Even though the lighthouse became automated in 1955, someone still needed to monitor the beacon in case something went wrong. One night, the caretaker realized the light had actually ceased functioning. Immediately, he walked rapidly in the darkeness from the old lightkeeper’s house towards the lighthouse entrance.

With each step though, he thought he heard someone walking behind him on the gravel walkway.  But when he turned around,there was no one there.

Brushing off his experience as imagination, he continued walking only to once again hear those gravely footsteps behind him. Again, he still found himself alone.

Unnerved a bit at this point, the man rushed into the lighthouse and up the stairs. This time though, he could hear footsteps ringing on the metal stairs behind him.

When he finally got to the top and checked the lighting mechanism, he found nothing wrong. As he threw the switch to restart everything, the beacon started functioning again. Not wasting any time or waiting to listen to phantom footsteps, he ran down the 219 metal steps.

For three nights after that event, the beacon again stopped working. Just like before,  the caretaker found nothing wrong and was followed just as he had been that first time. He did, however, acquire the habit of taking a flashlight and gun with him whenever he went to the lighthouse after sundown.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s House (Serves now as a museum and gift shop)

  • Some sort of presence is often felt.
  • People get startled by their experiences but don’t seemed to be threatened by them.
  • People often experience cold spots.
  • In the brick bottom floor where the old cistern is located, people have seen the shape of a tall man. One staff member saw this shape in an doorway. It appeared gray in color against the dark room beyond. As the staff member stared in disbelief, the shape simply merged with the darkness.
  • At times, chairs are moved or overturned
  • In the gift shop, staff and volunteers will find items have been moved out of place overnight. Sometimes items disappear only to reappear at a later date. Music boxes will turn on by themselves.

A Special Story About the Lightkeeper’s House

In the 1960s, the old Lightkeeper’s house was rented to a man who periodically had guests. On two different occasions, guests reported seeing the exact same thing: A little girl in a frilly dress who stands in a doorway and then disappears.

Tracing Some of These Paranormal Events to the Past

  • One unverified story is that someone, a lightkeeper or a helper, hanged himself from the lighthouse.
  • Another more traceable story has it that a tragedy happened during the construction of the present day lighthouse. 5 little girls were placing in a handcar set on a railroad track. Somehow the handcar went out of control and ended up in water where three of the children drowned. Two of them were the daughters of the construction supervisor for the lighthouse.

If you care to research the lighthouse, its history and its ghosts a bit more, you might find these links useful:

The Lighthouse Website

A Photo Gallery

Florida’s Lighthouse post

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