America’s Haunted Lighthouses – South Carolina & Georgia

South Carolina and Georgia have many popular tourist attractions and three haunted lighthouses.

Fair Haired Annie, the Keeper’s Daughter

Georgetown (North Island Light)-South Carolina

This story is one of the saddest in haunted lighthouse history. The lighthouse keeper and his young daughter lived at North Island Light. On their way home from the mainland, fierce winds and high waves struck their tiny craft, flooding it. The keeper, with his beloved daughter tied to his back, swam back to the lighthouse.

The trip left him so shocked and exhausted that he couldn’t remember reaching shore, and awoke from his ordeal with his drowned daughter still tied to his back. Georgetown residents reported seeing the grief stricken keeper roaming the streets calling for his lost child. Sailors reported seeing a sweet blonde child on their boats as they headed out to sea. Even on sunny days, she warned them of danger, urging them to “go back.”

While working at his station, a young hand told his captain he saw the image of a young blonde girl dressed in pink, pointing at the jetties, and insisting he “go back.” The captain thanked him and headed back to shore. A strong wind and high seas came up almost hiding the jagged lighthouse rocks. As the boy stared intently at the beacon, the captain told him about the keeper’s fair-haired daughter, Annie who warns sailors of approaching storms.

The Ghost Who Told Stories

Haig Point (Range Rear) – South Carolina

Haig Point was the sight of a British massacre of Native Americans during the Yamasee Indian War in 1759. During WWII, a Nazi submarine was spotted off Daufuskie Island. In 1865, General Sherman gave the island to freed slaves, and until 1985, blacks who developed their own dialect and remained cut off from the rest of the world populated it.

Fast forward to recent times and meet Nick Beatty, the lighthouse keeper’s son. Nick was fascinated with Daufuskie and he, his sister and brother enjoyed exploring the beach and nearby cemetery. Each time Nick’s parents visited the main land they left their friend, Sal in charge of the lighthouse and the children. Nick and Sal were alone at the light when they suddenly heard footsteps coming down the stairs. They counted the number of steps, and realized that someone was coming from the top floor into their room. They saw no one, but the rocking chair started its back and forth motion, and stopped as soon as Nick got close enough to touch it.

Weeks later, Nick told his mother tales of shipwrecks and the Indian massacre at the hands of British solders. When his mother demanded to know where he got these tall tales, Nick described a white haired, white bearded man named Arthur. Nick’s mother, having never heard of Arthur asked the islanders if he were familiar to them. Sure enough, Arthur was a former keeper whose simple gravestone was in the cemetery where the children played. Nick and Arthur enjoyed a wonderful friendship and on occasion, the rest of the family saw him in the kitchen or walking through the yard.

Nick loved that he had a great friend who told him the most thrilling stories!

Unfriendly Neighbors

St. Simons Island Lighthouse – Georgia

During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers destroyed both this light and the keeper’s house with black powder, preventing Union soldiers from using it. It took ten years to rebuild, but stagnant ponds of water caused resulting malaria to claim many lives. Foot thick walls protected the new lighthouse from the constant lashings of stormy seas, but storms can brew from within walls as well as from without.

St. Simons Light contained two apartments housing the keeper and his assistant. One would think this the ideal solution to the nerve-racking isolation, long hours and dangers of keeping the light, but not for Keeper Fred Osborne and his assistant, John Stevens.

Osborne was so meticulous in his care of the light that when word went out for an assistant, very few men applied for the position. Osborne finally hired John Stevens, and although he trained him, Stevens never completely won Osborne’s trust. Stevens befriended Osborne’s wife, sending Osborne into a jealous rage.

During a fight, each man pulled a gun, and Stevens mortally wounded Osborne. He rushed Osborne to a mainland hospital, insisted it was an accident and returned to tend the unmanned light. When Osborne died the sheriff questioned Stevens further, and allowed him to return to the light until his trial, or they found a replacement. Stevens claimed self-defense and all charges were dropped.

Suddenly keepers, locals and visitors reported hearing strange sounds. When Keeper Carl Svendsen’s wife reported hearing footsteps, he dismissed her claim as the price of loneliness and isolation, yet he too heard them. While setting the dinner table, Mrs. Svenden heard the door open, but instead of her husband, she felt an eerie cold that frightened her and her dog.

Could Osborne, still not trusting anyone, continue to perform his keeper’s duties?