St. Augustine Lighthouse Ghost

Jan 28th, 2014 | By | Category: Haunted Lighthouses

The original St. Augustine Lighthouse was actually a converted Spanish watch tower built-in the 1500’s. The first lighthouse was around 30 feet tall and put into service in 1824. The first light consisted of 10 oil lamps that set in silver bowl-shaped reflectors.  The first caretaker of the lighthouse made $350 a year.  Through the long history of the lighthouse there were some misfortunes; including losing the original lighthouse to beach erosion and loss of lives. It is these losses that have attributed to the tales of the St Augustine Lighthouse ghost.

In 1859, the first tragedy would befall the lighthouse. The fourth head keeper of the house, Joseph Andreu, was whitewashing the tower on scaffolding lashed to the lighthouse side. The lashing gave away and Joseph fell about 60 feet to his death. His wife took over the keeper duties until the Confederates extinguished the light and removed the lens after the outbreak of the Civil War to prevent the Union from using it. The light returned in June of 1867 but it was clear that beach erosion was going to threaten the lighthouses existence.

Completion of the new lighthouse came in 1874 on a five acre tract about a half-mile inland. It is 165 feet above sea level and takes 219 steps to reach the top. Constructed of Alabama brick and Philadelphia iron, it is St. Augustine’s oldest brick structure.  The earlier tower did eventually fall into the sea in 1880.

Another tragedy at the lighthouse came in the late 1880’s during a renovation project. The renovation project head was Hezekiah Pity. Pity’s main issue was getting supplies up to the lighthouse from the bay. To do this he constructed a tram system that ran from sea level to the lighthouse.

Pity had two daughters, Eliza (13) and Mary (15) who would often ride the tram for fun. One day in 1873, the girls along with a friend were riding the tram when it broke loose and slid down the hill crashing into the bay. All three girls drowned that day.

The girls are probably the most recognized St. Augustine ghost story told. Staff and visitors to the lighthouse claim to hear two girls giggling and hearing footsteps run up and down the tower steps. People claim to see Mary, the eldest daughter, apparition the most. Witnesses who claim to see her describe her in a blue velvet dress and blue hair bow, exactly the outfit she had on when the accident happened.

Joseph Andreu Obituary

Another frequent story is that the door at the top of the lighthouse, locked by staff each night, will sometimes be found unlocked with the door wide open. There is a security alarm attached to the door yet no alarm ever sounds.  People also claim to see a man at night on top of the tower even though the staff makes sure the lighthouse stays locked at night and a strong odor of a cigar (most attribute to pass lighthouse keepers) occurs at the base of the lighthouse on occasion.

A previous caretaker shares a story about the light not functioning one evening at the lighthouse. He quickly went from the old lightkeeper’s house to the lighthouse to check on the issue, he heard someone walking behind him.  He stopped to check on who was there, and no one was. He continued on and kept hearing footsteps behind him.

As he entered the lighthouse and proceeded up the metal stairs, he could again here metallic sounding footsteps on the steps behind him.  When he arrived at the top of the lighthouse he found nothing wrong with the light and throwing a reset switch, it turned back on. A little unnerved by this time, the caretaker quickly came back down the steps but did not hear anymore footsteps behind him.

The current museum and gift shop also has experiences with the St. Augustine ghost. People often feel cold spots and a staff member reported seeing the shape of a tall man, appearing gray in color standing in the doorway. Other activities attributed to this area are chairs being moved, items moved around and sometimes items disappearing and then reappearing days later.

You can visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and take a ghost tour to see for yourself what paranormal activity is there. If you have a St. Augustine Lighthouse ghost story already, please share your experience with us in the comments below. We would love to hear about it.