The Phantoms of St. Augustine’s Haunted Lighthouse

“The figure of
a young girl in a long dress can be seen standing alone on the observation
deck…" 

One of the oldest cities in America, St. Augustine,
Florida, is rich with history—and ghosts. The lighthouse that stands at the end
of St. Augustine’s Anastasia Island was built in 1874, one in a long line of
lighthouses that have served the city since Sir Francis Drake raided the
village in 1586. 

St. Augustine has become a national historic site,
drawing thousands of visitors each year. But visitors don’t just come for the
history. St. Augustine’s years of service has left it with many ghosts, leading
some to dub the lighthouse as “the Mona Lisa of paranormal sites.” 

After the original lighthouse established by the
territorial American government eroded and fell into the sea, construction
began in 1871 to build the lighthouse as it stands today. A man named Hezekiah
H. Pittee oversaw the work. To entertain his restless children, he allowed them
to play with the supply cart that ran back and forth between the lighthouse and
the ocean. But on July 10, 1873, he would come to regret that decision.

After a day of play, the two eldest Pittee children,
Eliza and Mary, drowned when the cart toppled over into the water. Historians
believe that a third child, a young African-American girl, was also killed in
the accident, though her name goes unmentioned in newspaper reports. 

According to lighthouse workers, the mischievous spirits
of these children still haunt the lighthouse today. Workers will find locked
doors standing wide open the next day, and the sound of children’s laughter can
be heard in the stairwell. Music boxes sold in the gift shop inexplicably pop
open, playing by themselves. Tour guides report multiple incidences of being
touched or grabbed by ghosts while showing visitors around the lighthouse.

Visitors to the lighthouse report catching glimpses of a
young girl dressed in period clothing peering out from the lighthouse door or
standing near an upstairs window. In 2009, a cell tower technician took a photo
of his coworker with the lighthouse in the background—the figure of a young
girl in a long dress with long hair can be seen standing alone on the top
observation deck. 

The ghosts of the young girls are friendly and don’t
engage directly with visitors. Unfortunately, there are other, less pleasant
presences making themselves known at the lighthouse, including a figure who has
come to be known as “the man in blue.” This specter has terrified many who have
worked and lived in the house, following them down all 219 stairs from the top
of the tower. One lighthouse keeper was so unnerved that he refused to live in
the lighthouse any longer. Eventually a coast guard who evidently didn’t fear
ghosts switched duties with him.

Many believe that the man in blue is the restless spirit
of lighthouse keeper Joseph Andreu, who fell to his death while painting the
original tower in 1859. Others claim the spirit is that of another lighthouse
keeper, who allegedly hanged himself in the tower. Visitors and staff report
the overpowering smell of cigar smoke on the landing of the tower, despite the
fact that smoking is expressly prohibited on the grounds. Could it be that
Andreu had a penchant for cigars? 

The St. Augustine Lighthouse hosts over 200,000 visitors
per year, and is open to the public daily. For those especially interested in
the paranormal activity, the lighthouse offers the Dark of the Moon Tour, a comprehensive tour of all the
haunted sites related to the lighthouse. If you’d like an intimate audience
with the man in blue, private tours are also available. 

[Jessica Ferri,
The Line Up
]