Category: Ghosts


Owl’s Head Lighthouse

By L’Aura Hladik

 

The lighthouse in Owl’s Head, Maine has stood high up on a rocky promontory since 1825 and over the years has been the site of a number of strange phenomena. At the keeper’s house in December 1850, a “frozen couple” was miraculously defrosted from a block of ice and revived after a raging winter storm sent a stranded schooner crashing into the rocks. The house was also home to Spot, a fog-bell ringing Springer spaniel credited with preventing a mail boat from smashing into the rocky shore during another storm in the 1930s. Neither incident is associated with a ghost, but several eyewitness accounts suggest the presence of a certain maritime phantasm haunting the lighthouse and surrounds.

Why a ghostly sea captain made the lighthouse at owl’s Head his permanent residence is unknown, but he has presented himself to people in various forms. The Andrews family, who resided at the keeper’s house, had the first documented ghostly encounter. Mrs. Andrews witnessed a mysterious swirling light upstairs in the house, and her father found his bed shaking one night for no apparent reason.

The spectral seaman gave himself a more identifiable human form one night in 1980, when former lighthouse keeper John Norton awoke to see the captain staring at him. He also observed footprints in the freshly fallen snow that began in the most peculiar places and ended much the same, without incurring more prints on either end of the mysterious trail.

Gerard Graham, a Coast Guard officer in charge of the lighthouse, lived in the same house with his wife, Debbie, and three-year-old daughter, Claire, from 1987 to 1988. Like many young children, Claire had an imaginary friend at Owl’s Head . . . or so her parents thought.

One night, Claire’s imaginary friend woke her and instructed her to tell her parents to sound the foghorn, as there was a fog rolling in. Claire left her room – which was always colder than the other rooms – and did what she’d been asked. Debbie was certain at this point that her daughter’s imaginary friend was more ghost than imagination – why else would a three-year-old child wake from a sound sleep and tell her parents about the incoming fog?

The ghostly sea captain did more than leave tracks in the snow and issue fog warnings; he also allegedly polished brass fixtures in the house. The keeper worked diligently to ensure the light functioned continuously; his wife was responsible for keeping the house perfectly clean in case of unannounced inspections. After all, they didn’t own the property. Both keeper and wife appreciated a ghost that pitched in.

According to author Bill Thomson, there is another ghost residing at Owl’s Head Lighthouse. The Little Lady is said to occupy the kitchen, slamming doors and rattling silver-ware. Malcolm Rouse, the last coast guard lighthouse keeper at Owl’s Head before it was automated in 1989, didn’t elaborate on the ghost or activity, but likewise insisted that the place was haunted.

Today Coast Guard personnel occupy the keeper’s house, which, along with the lighthouse is off-limits to visitors. The surrounding area, however, is a state park, so bring a picnic basket and enjoy the views. You just might catch a glimpse of the sea captain’s ghost, on the lookout for imperiled ships.

 

Owl’s Head Light State Park, Lighthouse Road, Owl’s Head, Maine 04854

 

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By Jeff Belanger

 

Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West, Florida, is one happening place. The buildings walls have seen both literary and rock royalty pass through. Ernest Hemmingway frequented the bar while he lived in Key West, and Tennessee Williams and Shel Silverstein were both known to throw back a few at the saloon. Jimmy Buffett began his singing career on the bar’s stage, and legends like Bob Dylan still show up for impromptu performances. It’s the history above all else that draws so many spirits (living, dead, and the kind you drink) to this haunted hot spot – a history laced with lynching’s, accidents, and murder.

Built in 1851, 428 Greene Street was originally home to two businesses operating under one roof: an icehouse stocked by ships sailing down the East Coast, and the city morgue. In 1865, a massive hurricane hit the Florida Keys, and the sea surged fifteen to twenty feet, smashing almost everything in the way. The building at 428 Greene Street took the hurricane’s hit on the chin, sending doors, inventory, and fresh corpses drifting into the murky aftermath.

“All of the bodies were missing after the hurricane hit, except one,” said Joe Faber, the current owner of Captain Tony’s Saloon. “According to some old Conchs that I spoke with when researching the history, they found one body that was near the outside of the building, which is now the inside of the building where the pool room is. They never found the others, so what the Bahamian people did is decide to make that an unofficial grave site. They buried the body they found, built a wall around the area, and put bottles full of holy water in the wall.”

The Greene Street building has weathered many storms since then, and at different times has housed a wireless telegraph station, cigar factory, bordello, and speakeasy. The place went legit as prohibition ended, and the building entered its final incarnation as the saloon so many locals and tourists have come to love today.

Captain Tony’s pub expanded throughout the twentieth century. Besides building around the hanging tree, owners expanded the saloon to include a billiards room, building over and around the wall containing holy water. In the 1980s, while taking up the old plywood flooring, the bones from between eight and fifteen bodies were discovered. A skeletal reminder of the find hangs behind the bar today. Also unearthed was the grave marker of a young woman named Elvira, which is now exposed in the cement next to a pool table.

There’s a tree growing through the roof of the building with bras and other miscellany hanging from it. Eighteen people were hanged from it during the 1800s, all but one of them for piracy. The one exception? In the latter half of the nineteenth century, a local woman brutally murdered her husband and two sons. She chopped their bodies into pieces and set the bloody chunks out in the backyard for the animals to dispose of. A neighbor caught a glimpse of the scene and called others over to investigate. They saw the carnage, and then found the exhausted murderess inside her home wearing a blue dress covered in blood. The crowd turned lynch mob and dragged her to the hanging tree for some instant justice.

Today the legendary “Lady in Blue” is Captain Tony’s best-known haunting. People spot a bluish blur passing through the room, or maybe see the apparition out of the corner of their eyes. Some have even claimed to photograph her. But the specter in blue isn’t alone; there are others.

Joe Faber first came to Captain Tony’s Saloon in 1976 when he was in college. He heard about some of the ghosts from Captain Tony Tarracino himself, and although there are variations on the bathroom story, the gist of the legend dates back to the building’s early days as a saloon. For instance, according to Faber, a woman brought her young child into the speakeasy, where she found her husband drinking and carousing. The mother snapped. “She killed her child in the bathroom, which is a pretty hairy thing, and she took the kid’s body out under a blanket,” Faber said.

In January of 2005, one of Captain Tony’s female patrons had an eerie experience in the lady’s restroom that left her rattled.

“I tried to go in the first stall, but it was locked. I figured someone was in there that I didn’t notice, but then I heard the outside door close. Just before we left, I went in again. I again went for the first stall – the back one gave me the chills and eerie feeling – and realized it was locked from the inside. While in the back stall, I again heard the outside door close and I looked around the corner. No one walked in. I was feeling strange but continued what I was doing when, all of a sudden, I heard that first stall door slam. I jumped out of the back stall and saw that no one was there, and that the first stall was still locked from the inside. I ran out and never looked back.”

Joe Faber considers himself a skeptic. He’s neither seen the Lady in Blue nor sensed a presence in the women’s restroom. But he has had two experiences in the bar he can’t explain: voices that seemed to offer a kind of warning of events to come.

“About eight or nine years ago, I’m in the bar alone at about four o’clock in the morning,” Faber said. “I was sitting there doing paperwork, and someone . . . called me. All I heard was, ‘Hey, Joe.’ I thought that was pretty odd, so I got up to look around to see who was looking for me. I walked out of the back of the bar, and the back doors were wide open. I had just been out there maybe half an hour earlier.”

Faber described the back lot of the bar as being completely fenced in; there was no way someone could have come in or gone out that way. He figured that if the disembodied voice had any supernatural meaning, it was simply to lock the doors.

“I didn’t think much of that voice until several years later,” he said. “I was sitting at the bar at the end of the night doing paperwork, and I hear that same voice again, but this time it says, ‘Don’t leave.’ Now I’ve got the chills. I got up, and I ran to the back to see if the doors were open. I checked, and everything was locked down. So then I checked the entire building, because I’m thinking this may be a warning that there’s going to be a fire or something, but nothing was wrong.”

Finding nothing amiss, Faber went home. A few hours later, his phone rang. “I get a phone call about six o’clock in the morning from the police saying that a girl, maybe seventeen or eighteen years old, committed suicide in front of the bar. Apparently the girl called her mother from her cell phone, said that she had just taken some pills to kill herself, and that she was in front of a yellow building that she thought was a bar, under a green awning. Her mother called the Key West police, who went from bar to bar and found the girl in front of Captain Tony’s, dead. Had I stayed at the bar that night, maybe I would have found the girl and been able to help her.

“Now, do I know what the hell that is? Absolutely not. But I do know that I’ve been there twenty years, I’ve heard it twice, and it was meaningful both times. Everybody can speak about the Lady in Blue, the bathroom, and things like that, but I means nothing to me until I actively see it or hear it. But from what I’ve experienced, and the stories I’ve heard, I know something’s going on.”

Considering that a number of people were executed on the hanging tree, and lives were lost here by the storm surge, in addition to the other deaths that took place in and around the property, maybe something or someone is still around.

 

Captain Tony’s Saloon, 428 Greene Street, Key West, Florida 33040

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Lively Ghosts At The Live Oaks Inn

By Dusty Smith

 

Built in 1871, the stately structure at 444 S. Beach Street in Daytona Beach, Florida, was once the destination of choice among the city’s elite overnight guests. Members of the Wannamaker, Gamble, and Vanderbilt families were regular visitors, as were the well-to-do railroad moguls, cattle barons, and lumber mill owners of the time. Now a historic bed-and-breakfast, the Live Oaks Inn’s amenities include fourteen guestrooms, a spacious salon, breezeway deck – and a host of highbrow spirits who remain loyal patrons of the antebellum estate.

The Live Oaks Inn has a reputation among those in the paranormal community as a haunted hot spot. The Daytona Beach Paranormal Research Group, Inc. (DBPRG), which I founded in 1991, was doing an ongoing investigation at the inn when a production company contacted me, and I agreed to take part in a documentary focusing on the inn’s haunting.

Two nights before filming started, I received a frantic call at about three thirty AM from Rosanna, the woman who leased and ran the inn. She was staying alone in the caretaker’s building, located just behind the inn, when she had been awakened by a voice. Opening her eyes, she saw the shadowy figure of a man standing at the foot of her bed. She left the room in fright and headed down the staircase outside. As she fled, something pushed her down the stairs. I drove over to the inn to help, and when I went into Rosanna’s room I saw that the lights were flickering. It was March and unusually warm outside, but the room had an eerie chill to it.

I returned to the inn the next day around sunset; as I pulled into the parking lot I saw a man standing in the window of the second-floor kitchen. When I told Rosanna what I had seen, she turned white. There were no guests in the building, and her fiancé was out running errands. Rosanna and I were the only people there . . . supposedly.

I bolted up the stair case and headed down the hall to the upstairs kitchen. The door was locked. Rosanna brought the keys, unlocking and opening the door. Nobody was in the room, but there was a heavy scent of cigar smoke and one of the gas burners was on full blast!

We shut off the gas and then checked all the rooms on the second floor. When we opened the door to Room 12, Rosanna gasped and said, “I was up here this morning and made all the beds, and now look. Someone has rumpled the pillows and blankets . . . .” In Room 14, the door slammed shut behind us. Then the TV turned on, and at the same time the phone began to ring. Rosanna said, “A call can’t come through to a room unless I’m downstairs to plug it in from the switchboard.” When I picked up the receiver, all I heard was static.

At the top of the staircase, we noticed that the pictures on the west wall were off kilter – a common occurrence at the inn. We straightened them out and I jumped up and down to see if my weight on the floor would move the pictures on the wall, but it didn’t.

When Rosanna’s fiancé returned, I said good-bye and told them I wanted to return the following night with equipment and a few team members to document the new activity. Since only two couples were staying at the inn, Rosanna agreed.

The following evening, the crew split into teams of two and rotated through the various locations that had been identified as paranormally active.

There were two phantom phone calls in Room 14 – one in which a guttural growl was heard. In Room 12, a rocking chair rocked back and forth on its own, a small child’s voice sang nursery rhymes, and the wrought iron bed frame made a squeaking sound, as if someone had sat or lain down on the bed. This sound was recorded, and at the same time the team members also documented a temperature drop and a reading on the EMF meter that indicated to us the presence of paranormal energy.

In Room 9, the ceiling fan kept turning on and off by itself, even after the room’s breaker was cut, and two metal tile panels on the ceiling flew off toward the researchers, who were frightened but uninjured. The team members on second-floor kitchen duty smelled cigar smoke, and one experienced a severe headache that made her so nauseated that she had to leave.

By two thirty AM, we took a badly needed break on the patio and sat down to talk with Rosanna. We were interrupted by one of the inn’s guests, who appeared at the front desk, fully dressed, demanding his money back. He said his wife was upstairs packing because they awoke to see a clown standing over their bed, staring at them. A clown? I couldn’t help but listen as he described it: six feet tall with a white painted face; huge, glowing red eyes; painted red lips with rotted teeth; a blue and white clown suit; and long fingers that reached out to the couple while they were in bed.

“Then he vanished!” The man yelled. “I don’t know what kind of games you’re playing here, but I paid good money to stay here and don’t appreciate these kinds of tricks!” It was April 1, after all. Rosanna agreed and tried to calm the man as she scrambled to give him a refund. His wife appeared and told her husband to forget about the money – she just wanted to leave, and they did. In tears, Rosanna told me her other guests had left earlier that evening because the faucet in their room kept turning on by itself.

After a short rest, I began a room-by-room tour of the property with a psychic and the film crew. We started at the inn, and the psychic gave her impressions of who was haunting it and why. At the top of the staircase, she felt the spirit of a young girl who sang nursery rhymes and played pranks on guests and staff. When she looked at the pictures on the wall, she said the girl liked to turn the pictures around. I was impressed.

We moved on to Room 9. The phone rang and when the psychic answered it, all she heard was static. She offered help to whoever was at the other end of the line, and then suddenly pulled the receiver away from her hear. We all heard a deep growling sound, and the room got very cold. On the second floor, the psychic felt the spirit of a man who, in life, liked to start fires with his cigars.

As we left the main building, one of the film crew looked up at a window above the restaurant and asked, “Who is that up there?” We all looked up, saw a woman standing at the window, and quickly made our way there. The door would not open for the psychic, but others opened it with ease. The room was frigid. As the film crew entered, a rocking chair began to move, and the bed looked as if someone had been sitting on its edge. We heard footsteps on the attic stairway, and as we walked up the narrow stairwell we heard low, muffled singing. Upstairs I pulled out my flashlight, and the three of us saw the figure of a woman walk through the wall to the attic.

Hen our group descended the main staircase into the bar area of the restaurant, the psychic went into a trance and began speaking about many men gathering in the room toward the back of the bar for secret meetings: “I don’t know what all of these secrets were about but they had a ring, a book, a symbol, and held these meetings.” I wondered if maybe it was a meeting place for Freemason members. From the bar, we herd glasses clinking together and noticed that bottles of liquor that were behind the bar when we first entered the rooms were now on the bar.

It took nearly three hours to walk through both buildings, and with what we knew and had experienced previously at the inn – now confirmed by the psychic – we were confident about getting some hard evidence for paranormal activity.

We tried to capture the footprints of the little spirit girl at the top of the stairs. To do this, I laid out a couple of large black garbage bags and sprinkled them with flour. The framed photos at the top of the stairs were all leaning in different directions again, so we straightened them and headed back downstairs to wait. We heard footsteps and when we arrived upstairs to inspect, there were three small footprints in the flour! This was awesome evidence of the little girl. Additionally, one of the picture s we had just straightened out was off-kilter again.

Rosanna finally came to terms with the spirits at the Live Oaks Inn and embraced them to the point of promoting it as haunted; but she was still leasing the building, and the owner didn’t feel the same way she did. The inn was closed and sold to new owners, who reopened it in December 2007. They have since reported some otherworldly experiences at the inn, and only time will tell which direction they’ll take in promoting, or denying, the existence of the spirits at the Live Oaks Inn.

 

Live Oaks Inn, 444 S. Beach Street, Daytona Beach, Florida 32114

 

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