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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Decemystery (2020) 2: St. Augustine Lighthouse

 


Good day/afternoon/evening, dear reader. So kind of you to join me in this spooky old lighthouse. It got a bit too creepy for me; my footsteps echoed throughout the building and my EMF reader was off the charts. So come, join me around this makeshift table I made out of sticks, stones, and unsold copies of “Using A Ouija Board For Dummies”. You see, we’re going to use a Ouija Board to get in contact with the old lighthouse keeper who drank a few too many beers and fell down the staircase.


Ah, but what’s this? When we put our hands on the board, it bursts into flames and our hands are charred. Owie, hellfire sure is hot. Almost as hot as hot sauce on a hot dog. Oh well, no big deal, how about we talk about a mystery instead? Yeah, that sounds like a lot more fun and in no way is a chance for me to amend for not having covered something last year when I told myself time and again I would do it.


Like, seriously, I told myself in December of last year. Then March of this year. Then May. Then June. Then July. Then—you know what, I told myself every day I would cover it, but I never got around to it. It’s like J376, only it’s a haunted lighthouse, there are no zombies, and it’s nothing like J376, but this isn’t the only story I will egregiously compare to that shambling corpse of a story.


So anyways, let’s move onward from the nonsensical rambling and celebrate for today is the day we cover this horrifyingly haunted lighthouse; yay, haunted lighthouses! You see, ole’ sport, in the state of Florida, there’s a foreboding beacon of hope for sailors far and wide. I’ve always been enraptured by. It’s a lighthouse, not unlike the one we’re pretending to be in right now and is known as St. Augustine Lighthouse. It’s widely regarded as one of the most haunted lighthouses in the United States. So come along, let’s snoop around in a ghost-infested home for those who watch over the sea. Just make sure you don’t fall down the staircase!


The Story


Built in 1824 as the first lighthouse in Florida, St. Augustine Lighthouse has garnered a reputation in the realm of the paranormal here in the United States. Because of this, we’ll simply be looking at the reported happenings at the lighthouse rather than going through every iota of its history.


Taking a little trip over to ghostsandgravestones.com, we can find a little bit of history on some of the spectres that haunt the location. The first of these is a man by the name of Peter Rasumussen, who served as one of St. Augustine Lighthouse’s first keepers. His love for cigars carried over into the afterlife as visitors and employees have both claimed to have smelled cigar smoke at times. Yes, even ghosts enjoy a smoke every now and then.


The spirit of another of the lighthouse’s keepers, a man named Joseph Andreu, has been heard and seen. As the story goes: he was one day painting the outside of the structure when he fell. Exactly how, I don’t know, but I suspect he likely lost his footing and plummeted to his death. Mind you, the lighthouse isn’t by any means small. It stands at 164 feet (49.9 meters) in height. That’s a pretty nasty fall.


I digress though. Andreu’s spirit has been seen at the top of the lighthouse, typically looking out and continuing the job he had done during his life. Perhaps one day, his soul will find peace. Until that day, he remains one of a few spirits who’ve been seen wandering the infamous lighthouse.


One of the stranger apparitions seen within the lighthouse comes from the lighthouse keeper’s living quarters. During tours (which happen I believe year round), visitors have claimed to feel cold spots and say that a tall man has appeared in front of them before vanishing. FIrst: I want to state that cold spots and ghosts go hand-in-hand. I don’t know exactly why spirits are said to produce an ice cold sensation, but it is what it is. So if you randomly feel like a small area in your home or living quarters has dropped about 15–25 degrees, then maybe you have a spooky spectre within your humble abode. On the flip side: malevolent spirits are said to produce extreme warmth. So if you feel like your house has suddenly turned into a sauna when it was a cozy room temperature of, say, 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22.2 degrees Celsius), then maybe a demon is lurking around.


Second: there’s nothing I can find as to who this ghost may be. Given that it’s the living quarters, it could be one of the aforementioned lighthouse keepers, or it could be another one who died and simply isn’t mentioned in the website’s article. Whatever the case may be, I can’t imagine seeing a tall, dark entity appear and disappear is all that entertaining. Though hey, it makes for a good story.


Spectres of former staff aren’t the only eerie things folks have witnessed within the confines of the lighthouse. It’s said that music boxes will turn on by themselves, chairs will be moved or flipped over by themselves (which makes me think that one of the ghost’s somehow watched Poltergeist), the lighthouse’s door will be unlocked over the night—despite the staffers having made sure it was locked before they left, and gift shop memorabilia will be moved or go missing. I suspect it’s possible that a shoplifter could always be behind the final one, but it’s not all that uncommon for ghosts to pull pranks like that. Though who knows, maybe one of the ghosts is shoplifting. Dun dun duuuun!


Ah, but I digress once more. These stories pale in comparison to what is easily the lighthouse’s most infamous and popular spectre—or spectres rather. Known as the Pittee (or Pity, depending on how you spell it) sisters, the ghosts of Eliza, Mary, and Carrie Pittee are notorious for their presence in the lighthouse. You see, in 1872, the two girls drowned when a cart they were in ended up breaking and falling down into the ocean. Despite the efforts of someone to save both them and an unnamed African American girl (whose burial site has apparently never been discovered), the girls all drowned.


It’s now said that the spirits of the Pittee sisters roam the lighthouse, giggling and playing just as they did while alive. As for the African American girl, I don’t know if she’s ever been seen. As far as I’m aware, all childlike hauntings have been placed on the three sisters. Though if I’m wrong about this, do inform me and I’ll add in an edit here.


Moving on though: because of these spooky happenings, the lighthouse has naturally become the central focus for episodes of television shows such as My Ghost Story, Most Terrifying Places in America, and most famous of all: Ghost Hunters. In one of the show’s earliest episodes, the TAPS crew managed to capture something quite peculiar. Take a gander below.



Creepy, no? Perhaps it was faked or perhaps it’s a real spectre taking a glance down from the tippy top. Whatever the case, it’s quite eerie and makes me shiver with fright!


Not all ghost hunters are convinced of the lighthouse’s paranormal activity though. A man by the name of Joe Nickell, for example, has both investigated and written that there is precisely nothing mysterious occurring there. Rather, he puts forth the idea that what people are witnessing and hearing can be chalked up to the likes of seagulls and the wind.


But is it true? Is there really nothing occurring at St. Augustine Lighthouse? Well, that’s up for debate, but there are some theories! So, with the terrifying tale of one of America’s most haunted lighthouses out of the way (yes, I know, anticlimactic), let’s dive into the theories.


Theories


1. It’s haunted


The first theory is a very simplistic one: the lighthouse is haunted. Many point to the continued stories and reports of people seeing ghosts and hearing disembodied voices/footsteps as proof of this. As is the case with any haunted location though, we can only trust the fallible word of man to back this up and as such, there are a plethora of reasons to doubt this. Whether it be those who want their fifteen minutes of fame (not to mention money) for the most fantastical ghost tale ever or a simple case of mistaken identity (a creaky old structure being, well, creaky—and not a ghost waltzing around), there are many who doubt the perpetrators at St. Augustine Lighthouse are spectres of those who’ve long since died.


Likewise, there are those who point to the numerous sightings and reports as indicative of there being something that’s not moved on to the afterlife. After all, at some point, you can’t just turn a blind eye, right? Well, in the case of ghost sightings, it’s possible that those sightings are contributing to a sort of predetermined mindset; you’re going to the lighthouse expecting a ghost and as such, you’re attributing a draft or creaky location for a ghost being near you or footsteps. With that said, it’s also possible that skeptics are letting their own bias get in the way of the truth. Whatever the case may be, let’s move on since this is a topic for another day.


2. It’s all legend and folktales


“Old Man Franklin died in his sleep. Thirty years later, it’s said that his restless spirit still roams his house, looking for his dog, Sparky.”


Just like the story of Skinned Tom, the Goatman, and how talking to your plants helps them to grow, the legends of St. Augustine Lighthouse are just that: legends. That is what our second theory is that it’s nothing more than a legend that has transcended generational gaps and continues to be believed by many today.


While there may have been real deaths and tragedies that occurred at, or near, the lighthouse, there are many who will tell you that the stories are spawned from the imaginative minds of humans who wish to inflict a sense of fear into their siblings or friends. Who can blame them? I did the same to my little sister and to my friends. Wouldn’t you? No? Liar!


Ah, but I digress. There isn’t much more to this theory other than, yeah, what I said above. So why am I continuing? Why, it’s to pad out the word count. Don’t judge me, I just want to seem professional with my overly lengthy write-ups.


3. Interdimensional beings reside in the lighthouse


The third and final theory is that the spectres of St. Augustine Lighthouse aren’t spectres at all! Instead, they’re beings from another dimension that have crossed over into ours and are now observing us from the shadows. It’s like a spy, but they’re invisible, spooky, and probably give seven eyes.


The idea that ghosts are interdimensional beings is by no means something new. While I can’t vouch for how long the concept has been around, it’s certainly gained some popularity since the Internet came to be a thing. Whether you’re Alex Jones talking about interdimensional psychic vampires or simply of the opinion that other entities in the multiverse can peer through the barriers that separate us, it’s talked about in a serious manner in some corners of the web. Because of that, it technically applies here.


So how likely is it? Well, there are skeptics out there who buy into this theory (which is a sentence I never imagined I’d type), so for some: it’s definitely likely. Though to prove it, we’d first have to take down the barrier that divides us. That’s not likely happening anytime soon, if ever. So this may end up being one of those eternally lingering questions.


My Take


I’ll admit that I’m biased given my personal views, but I definitely think that the lighthouse is haunted. I think that the number of stories are definitely a bit too large to dismiss them. However, with that said, I don’t think every single story is credible. That’s just silly; I firmly believe that a fair number can be dismissed and/or explained logically. Though I hold the belief that there is something going on at the lighthouse that is paranormal.


With that said: I would love to hear the views of a skeptic. That isn’t a challenge or me trying to sound arrogant either, I would love to hear what a skeptic thinks of the stories that are occurring at the lighthouse. I think it’d be fascinating to hear the views from the otherside of the fence in regards to this place. So, if you fit the bill, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment!


Conclusion


Spooky scary skeletons in lighthouses will shout startling shrilly screams. They will also shamelessly quote Andrew Gold songs. Or maybe that’s some lonesome blogger who will do that. Who knows! It’s not like I’m a skeleton sitting behind a keyword typing this. Hah, that’d be absolutely crazy! Right? Right. Now let’s end this write-up off before I reveal more than I’m allowed to.


Please help, I’m trapped in a lighthouse.

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