July 20, 2024

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Guide to Haunted Lighthouses – Rhode Island and Connecticut

Southern Coastal New England boasts some of the most exclusive ocean front properties on the East Coast, and claims some of America’s most haunted lighthouses.

The Terror of Men
Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island’s Southeast Light, the tallest lighthouse in New England, sits 200 feet above sea level on Mohegan Bluffs.

A lighthouse keeper, in the early 1900’s, so hated his wife that he pushed her off the round staircase to her death. This wife, however, continues having the last word.

Apparently, she haunts Southeast light making her displeasure with men well known. She doesn’t bother the ladies, but men had better beware! Witnesses reported seeing her chase men about, locking them in their rooms and in the lighthouse. When she is particularly angry, she throws knives and other sharp objects at them.

Keepers reported their furniture constantly moving about, and if they left a small flame under something they were cooking, they found it going full blast upon returning to the kitchen.

Southeast light was moved back 250 feet in 1993 due to soil erosion. According to legend whenever a structure moves from its original place, the haunting entity disappears, however some witnesses say this woman didn’t get that message.

Does the keeper’s angry wife still haunt Southeast Light? You probably will have to visit to find the truth, but leave your men home…just in case.

A Ghost Named Ernie
New London Ledge Lighthouse-Connecticut

Mrs. John Randolph, the lighthouse keeper’s young wife finding life at the light lonely, tedious and boring amused herself by flirting with local fishermen whose fortunes rose and fell with the temperament of the sea.

When her life became utterly unbearable, she ran off with a ferryboat captain while her husband was ashore purchasing supplies. When John Randolph returned and realized his wife left him, he became so distraught that he climbed the sixty five-foot tower, slit his throat and fell into the sea.

Randolph’s successor soon realized that he was not alone. Locked doors opened and closed at will, locked desk drawers constantly re-arranged themselves, a fishy odor permeated the living space and the new keeper felt a bone chilling draft when “someone” made his presence known.

A ghost, nicknamed “Ernie” made himself visible only to women and children, but enjoyed playing tricks on everyone. Tools and other items appeared and disappeared seemingly at will, and floors and windows were always clean. The Coast Guard was well acquainted with Ernie when they took over the light.

In 1982, a psychic visiting the light revealed that Ernie was actually John Randolph. Randolph promised the psychic he would leave, but later decided he’d rather stay and keep future keepers company.

Those who doubted Ernie’s existence received a rude awakening. Fishermen stopping at a nearby coffee shop, expressing their doubts during conversation, found their boats untied and adrift.

Saved By the Keeper
Penfield Reef Lighthouse – Connecticut

The legend of this light is one of tragedy and saved lives.

Keeper Fred Jordan left the light one day in December to go ashore, purchase supplies and do some Christmas shopping. Unfortunately, he never made it. Assistant Keeper, Rudy Iten watched in horror as he saw the keeper’s boat capsize. Iten jumped into the lighthouse, intending to rescues his boss, but gale force winds pushed the boat more than a mile out to sea, making rescue impossible. He tried signaling, but Keeper Jordan was lost to the sea.

Not long after Iten became Head Keeper, he reported seeing Jordan’s ghost gliding down the stairs before disappearing, and noticed that the daily page in his logbook always returned to the date Jordan died. Stories abound of keepers seeing Jordan gliding down the stairs or hovering over the rocks just before a storm. Iten, not wanting anyone to think he was inventing ghost stories, asked each subsequent keeper who saw Jordan to sign a written affidavit.

Lighthouse keepers are not the only witnesses to Jordan’s ghost. In 1942, a fishing boat carrying two young boys capsized near the light. The boys reportedly “felt something” pull them to safety. They walked to the lighthouse, thanked a puzzled keeper, and identified a portrait of Jordan as their rescuer.

Another story claims that a couple, lost in dense fog was mysteriously guided to safety by a man in a dory, which promptly vanished.

Penfield Reef Lighthouse is no longer in service, yet many believe that Keeper Jordan still rescues those who come too close to the reef.