St. Augustine Lighthouse
The light house is located at 81 Lighthouse Avenue in St. Augustine, Florida. Standing on the north of Anastasia Island, it’s easily seen from the mainland. It was built in 1874 and rises 165 feet above sea level. It has 219 steps to complete with small landings that offer resting places while climbing to the top. Every landing has a window with a view of the sea, the town of St. Augustine, or other parts of
Anastasia Island. However, be careful if you’re not fond of heights because the winding staircase looks straight down the middle to the ground floor.
St. Augustine, also known as the Old City, holds the distinction of being the oldest permanent European colony in North America. In 1513, Don Juan Ponce de Leon of Spain, discovered Florida, or La Florida,
which means Land of Flowers. About 50 years later, Don Pedro de Aviles was sent to make a more serious try to colonize Florida. He arrived on August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine.
Who was St. Augustine?
This is the day that celebrates Augustine, a man that figured prominently in the history of Christianity. He was the author of writings on original sin and predestination. He died during the attack on northern Africa by the Germanic Vandals.
History of the Lighthouse
The property now known as Saint Augustine Lighthouse was owned by Dr. Alan Ballard until 1865, when the government forced him to sell it to them. They thought it would eventually be swallowed by the ocean. The
Civil War left Florida in serious financial straits and the offer made on the property that was far less than what it was worth. Dr. Ballard initially refused the offer so the government threatened to simply take
it through eminent domain for free. Dr. Ballard was livid and swore he’d never leave the premises. He may have just kept his word since he can often be seen spooking on and around the property.
Hezekiah Pettee was hired to build the lighthouse so he relocated his wife and 5 children from Maine to St. Augustine where they took up residence in a house on the property. A rail car or hand cart was used
to carry building material to the lighthouse from the ocean dock. When the workman weren’t using it, the children loved riding it.
On July 10, 1873, tragedy struck as 4 of Hezekiah’s children and a workmen’s daughter were riding the hand car when the brakes went out. All of the children were thrown into ocean. Two of Hezekiah’s children
were saved but his two oldest daughters, Mary and Eliza, drowned along with the workman’s daughter.
Haunted St. Augustine Lighthouse
One of these children could very well be the young girl that plays tricks on the staff on the first floor of the guest house, or responsible for the faces of young girls that are seen peeking out of the second floor windows. In addition, a tenant of the house during the 1960s had a friend sleeping in the second floor guest room. This friend once woke up in the middle of the night to see a young girl of about 13 to 15 years old standing at his bedside. She was wearing a long dress and stared at him until she slowly faded into the wall.
What’s more is that the gift shop experiences items being moved around and, sometimes, even disappearing only to return at some point. It’s believed that the spirits of the young girls are doing this. They
just like playing and showing their spectral presence.
The property outside of the St. Augustine Lighthouse also appears to be haunted. There are reports of hearing young girls talking and playing around the swing sets. Dr. Ballard’s specter is also sighted stomping angrily around the grounds. There’s a ghostly woman seen right behind the lighthouse at times, too.
Inside the lighthouse itself, there’s the apparition of a man that surrounds visitors with an icy coldness. In addition, the spirit of a dead woman is sometimes seen on the stairs. Yet, another ghostly man is
sometimes spotted in the lighthouse seemingly doing his job.
There are also conversations heard that are apparently conducted between a man and a woman but the words can’t be understood. Young girls laughing have been heard on the stairs, too. The ghosts of two young girls are seen on the cat walk located at the top of the lighthouse. These girls are believed to be Mary and Eliza.
St. Augustine Ghost Tours
In 2002, the lens of the lighthouse was officially retired from Coast Guard service and was turned over to St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, Inc. Now, it’s now one of the most popular St. Augustine, Florida attractions.
Is the St. Augustine Lighthouse haunted? The answer to this question is a resounding YES! But if you want to see for yourself, try going on one of the St. Augustine ghost tours and see how you feel afterward.
Ghost Hunters at the St. Augustine Lighthouse
The team from the wildly popular television show Ghost Hunters investigated the paranormal manifestations of the haunted lighthouse at St. Augustine. They were able to capture some great footage on digital film as well as recording some amazing EVPs. One very impressive capture is that of an apparition that appears to be leaning over the top railing of the lighthouse. They pronounced that the St. Augustine Lighthouse is, indeed, haunted.