In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

The Ghost of a Pirate's Wife

Feb 6, 2012 7:28:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Third in our series of haunted lighthouses:

Sippican Harbor
off of Buzzards Bay
Station Established: 1819
First Lit: 1889
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1997

William S. Moore (alleged pirate) took the post as keeper of the Bird Island
Lighthouse in 1819 after having fought in the War of 1812. Supposedly he owed
the U.S.
government money and this position repaid his debt.  He brought with him his wife, who was a heavy
tobacco user, and suffered from tuberculosis. Mrs. Moore was forbidden to leave
the island by her husband, since he feared she would be unfaithful.

The lighthouse was damp and lonely which worsened Mrs.
Moore’s illness and need for tobacco. 
The townspeople said they could hear her cries of desperation and would
sneak bags of tobacco out to the lighthouse when they could.  One evening Moore raised the distress flag and when the
townspeople arrived to help they found Mrs. Moore dead.  Moore
insisted that his wife had died from her disease but some townsfolk believed
otherwise.  Moore demanded that his wife be buried on the
island so she was laid to rest right next to the lighthouse.  Moore
was always blamed for the death of his wife and for holding her captive on the
island.  Legend has it that keepers have
been haunted by Moore’s
wife ever since, the ghost of a hunched-over old woman, rapping at the door
during the night.

--Kalina Schloneger, Education & Community Programs Intern
See our haunting production of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' The Lighthouse, Feb. 8--12

Topics: General Opera, ghost stories, haunted, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, The Lighthouse

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