Sunday, March 20, 2016

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse is one of the most well-known Oregon lighthouses in both beauty and hauntings. It got its name from Don Bruno Heceta who was the Spanish sailor that discovered the site in Florence, Oregon in 1755. It was initially known as Devil’s Elbow State Park, but is now named Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint. Included in the park are the lighthouse and the southern cove.

The 56 foot tall tower of the lighthouse is one of the original buildings there and sets 205 feet over sea level. Heceta House was meant to serve as the home of the head lighthouse keeper. There was also a duplex that housed the 2 assistant keepers along with several storage buildings. The beacon of the lighthouse was first lit in March 1894. It went automated in 1963.

The Ghost of the Heceta House

The name of the most famous resident ghost of the Heceta Head Lighthouse bed and breakfast is Rue. There are some discrepancies as to who this ghost actually was. The most popular legend is that Rue was married to an assistant light keeper in the 1890s. The couple had a young daughter that drowned in either the ocean or local estuary. It depends on which version you hear. In this one, Rue was so distraught that she took her own life. This ghost that haunts the Heceta House is looking for her daughter.

Another theory is that Rue is actually Mrs. Frank DeRoy, wife to a lighthouse keeper’s assistant. This was a strong willed and domineering woman. She was a picky housekeeper and is the person responsible for painting the boring walls of Heceta House a much happier color. Nothing official shows that she lost a child.

Heceta Head Lighthouse Haunted

A young couple was hired to look after Heceta House during the early 1970s. They heard strange, unexplainable clicks and footsteps. Cupboards that were latched opened on their own. Dishes rattled for no reason. The house was terribly warm during the night. Extreme cold spots and hot spots are often precursors to hauntings.

One night, this couple and their guests were startled by a loud scream that came from the center of the room where they sat. Their cats were also startled by this shriek. The husband went to the bedroom to obtain his car keys when he caught sight of a long skirt going across the hall. He could actually hear the swishing sound of the skirt as she moved right through a locked door that led into an empty bedroom. The wife also saw an apparition pass through a doorway when she was carrying dishes into the kitchen. Other witnesses noted a long smoky cloud climbing the stairway.

On another occasion, carpenter James Anderson was working in the Heceta House attic and realized his tools had disappeared. They were eventually located in a different room. Nothing ever stayed where he put it. It was a puzzle to James because there was only one entrance to the attic and that was through a trap door. As he was cleaning windows one day, he saw the reflection of someone standing behind. When he turned around, there was an elderly woman dressed in a long skirt coming toward him. Frightened out of his mind, James ran from the attic and refused to go back in the attic again.

He did agree, however, to repairing a broken attic window from the outside of the house. When he looked in the attic, he spotted Rue floating there. This time, James left and never came back. That same night, the caretakers of the Heceta Head Light House heard a sound eerily like a broom sweeping the attic floor. Even though there wasn’t a broom in the attic, the glass from the broken window had been swept up in a tidy pile.

Whether or not these hauntings can be attributed to Rue; she has been both seen and heard lots of time. There were volunteers that painted the building and they stayed overnight in Heceta House. All night, the fire alarm kept going off even though no fires were present. Removing the battery did no good, either, as the alarm kept blaring. Witnesses have also sighted Rue looking down at them from the attic window. At times, she appears as a grayish mist. This resulted in the nickname, the Lady in Gray.

As a side note, there may or may not be a lost child of Heceta House. The precise location of her grave has never been located and there are many that don’t think it exists. Believers claim that there is an old photograph showing the tombstone. Olaf L. Hansen was the keeper of the Heceta Head Lighthouse from 1904 to 1920. His daughter claims that there once was a slab of cement located between the house and the lighthouse that served as a marker to this grave. The grave stone may be hidden by undergrowth surrounding the lighthouse these days.

Visiting Heceta Head Lighthouse

Both the Heceta Lighthouse Keepers House along with the Lighthouse itself, are part of the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse keeper’s house today is a very popular bed and breakfast. Guests love the atmosphere and amazing view of the ocean when they stay at this Oregon lighthouse bed and breakfast. If you enjoy a little ghostly excitement, there are still many reports that Rue walks about. Whether she’s in the form of Rue or shows up as the Lady in Gray, chances are good that you’ll see her.

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