As one of the oldest cities in America, Boston has more than its fair share of spooky history. An often overlooked location for this is Boston Light; it is both the first lighthouse to be built in the United States and the home to multiple chilling catastrophes.
Located on Little Brewster Island in the Boston Harbor, Boston Light was first lit in September of 1716. Its first keeper, George Worthylake, had a starting salary of £50 guiding all vessels bound for the Hub. It wasn’t long after this humble beginning that disaster struck. In 1718, when returning from a visit to Boston, Worthylake drowned with his wife and daughter when their boat unexpectedly capsized. The tragedy inspired a ballad written by a young Benjamin Franklin, who sold the “wretched” poem as a printer’s teenage apprentice.
The misfortune surrounding the island, however, continued to affect those working in and around the lighthouse. When held by British forces during the American Revolution, the redcoats sustained “heavy losses” after an ambush by the colonists. Ever since reconstruction in 1783, it has witnessed the deaths of both light keepers and sailors alike. From Confederate prisoners to shipwreck victims, Boston Light has seen the demise of countless individuals on and near her shores.
Are the spirits of Boston Light’s dead still haunting the lighthouse and the island it sits on?
Members of the Coast Guard, after taking over management in the 1930s, have reported numerous sightings and events that aren’t easily explained. Sometimes a man in an old-fashioned uniform is spotted in the lantern room; others times it has been a woman in a white gown, both disappearing before others could enter and investigate. Visitors and workers have also heard ghostly sounds, including “horrible maniacal laughter” and a little girl crying for a long-passed slave.
Whatever noises that the dead may make has no effect on the “Ghost Walk,” an area nearby that no sound can pierce. This part of the sea spooked even the most seasoned mariners, as neither the lighthouse bell nor its powerful cannon could be heard within it. Not even a team of MIT students, who studied the phenomenon in 1893, could crack the mystery. The silence of the Ghost Walk remains an unsolved anomaly to this day; an ominous counterpart to the haunted Boston Light.