Tag Archives: Boston Harbor Islands

Spooky Hidden Gem: Boston Light

Boston Light haunted

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.

BL1The 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?

BL2Members 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.

Source Credit: New England Lighthouses
Photo Credit: Boston Harbor Beacon and New England Lighthouses

Hidden Gem: A Halloween Ghost Story, The Lady in Black

Boston Ghost Story - Lady In Black

One of the most famous ghost stories in Boston is the Lady in Black at Fort Warren, on Georges Island at the entrance of Boston Harbor.

Fort Warren - Lady In BlackConstruction of Fort Warren began in 1833 and was completed shortly after the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. Fort Warren was built as a training camp for Massachusetts regiments and never experienced any fighting during the Civil War. However, it served as a prison for both Confederate soldiers and civilian officials during the Civil War.

According to the legend, a tragic event took place at Fort Warren in 1862 when a southern woman, Mrs. Melanie Lanier made an attempt to free her husband, a Confederate soldier imprisoned within the walls of the fort. Mrs. Lanier dressed as a man slipped into the prison and managed to rescue her husband and other soldiers imprisoned there. Unfortunately for Mrs. Lanier and the soldiers they were all apprehended. She fired at one of the Union guards but the pistol backfired in her hand and a piece of shrapnel from the explosion entered her husband’s head, killing him instantly. She was then tried for treason and hung in a black robe on George’s Island in 1862.

Since that fateful day, sightings of a women in a black robe roaming and crying within the walls of the now defunct prison can be seen and heard.

Georges Island is open from May through October.

Source: Ghosts and Graveyards | Image Credit:  New England Boating