Ghost Stories

Southeast Light

Lighthouses, by thier nature, are often lonely places, remoet and isolated on shores that are a hazard to shipping. The highest light in New England, 258 feet aboce sea level, is found on Block Island. Commissioned under President Grant, it began operation in 1875, flashing a green beacon, very unusual among New England lighthouses. Perhaps not so unusual for lighthouses, for part of it's history was haunted.

The brick structure was under U.S. Lighthouse Service jurisdiction until after World War 2, when it was closed. Southeast lighthouse reopended under U.S. Coast Guard control in the late 1940's, and remained a Coast Guard installation until the early 1960's, when it's light was automated, no longer requiring a live-in maintenance staff. The Atlantic never ceases it's destructive pounding of the land and it bacame evident that Mohegan Bluffs had eroded dangerously. In order to preserve Southeast Light, the government moved the structure inland in 1993. Today, it is a top tourist attraction for visitors to the island.

A lighthouse keepr in the early 1900's, accordinig to local legend, is said to have become enraged at his wife. A struggle ensued, and she stumbled off the catwalk and died. Some say that she ws hanged from a cat-eye fixture on the lighthouse as she fell. Others claim she hit the ground sixty feet below. Each storyteller has s slightly different version, and facts are difficult to come by, but stories are generally the same: the ghost is an angry woman, and Block Islanders who tell the tale assume she is the wife of the light keeper.

When we asked our intuitive friend, Paul, about this incident, he said that the lightkeeper and his wife were in the process of cleaning the lamp in 1921, when an argument ensued. In the midst of the fracas, she fell to her death. "For many years she was angry at her life being cut short after all the sacrifices she made to help her husband become a success. And she took out her anger, but she did pass." Paul noted that her husband (perhaps named Slocum) eventually retired, but blamed himself for his wife's death, feeling guilty as if he'd murdered her. Likely his guilt mixed with her anger to create ghostly phenomena before "moving of the lighthouse broke the energy connection to that spot."

Almost all the phenomena created difficulties for the men, while the women visitors were left alone, which caused many to suspect the ghost was a vengeful woman. Coastguardsmen who served there were sometimes locked outside the building at night, or at least locked out of their quarters inside. Some reported having their beds lifted at night, then slammed to the floor. Other reported pots and food flying through the air in the galley. Cooks reported difficulty in controlling thier stoves as cooking flames suddenly turned to high heat. No one ever saw the stove knobs turning.

Even in the pre-World War 2 days of the Lighthouse Service there were stories of a constant mysterious re-arrnagement of belongings and furniture. Locked doors were sometimes found open, and doors that had to be open were unaccountably found closed or even locked. Many who served there reported hearing and feeling a rapid "swoosh" of air, sometimes cold and sometimes not, as the ghost woman charged through the residence or up in the circular stairway of the tower. There were the usual icy spots in otherwise warm rooms, which spots were felt by men and women visitors alike.

When the government moved the lighthouse the ghost apparently vanished. Often when physical objects such as houses or possessions that the entity loved or hated in life are destroyed, their last hold on the physical world can dissolve. No longer is there a familiar vibration to cling to. When the ground she died on slipped into the timeless ocean, perhaps her soul was also ready to leave our time and move into the Everlasting Light.

Taken from: Ghosts of The Northeast

Author: David J. Pitkin