In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

The Ghost of the Lady Light Keeper

Feb 8, 2012 7:48:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Fourth and final in our series of haunted lighthouses:

Location: Gurnet Point/Plymouth Bay
Station Established: 1768
First Lit: 1843
Operational: Yes
Automated: 1986

Near to where the Pilgrims came ashore in
the New World, stands one of America's
earliest lighthouses, at Gurnet Point in Plymouth,
Massachusetts. Originally two
towers were built and were first lit in 1769. 
John and Hannah Thomas were appointed the keepers of both lighthouses
since the towers were constructed on their land.  Shortly after taking the post John left to
fight in the Revolutionary War and left Hannah to keep the lights burning all
by herself.

John never came back from the war, and in
1790, Hannah was appointed the first female lighthouse keeper in America. In
1801 both towers caught fire and burned to the ground.  The towers were replaced, but the northeast
one was dismantled in 1924. Hannah loved the lighthouse and remained as keeper
until 1790. Ever since Hannah’s death people have said they have seen her ghost
in and around the tower. 

at Gurnet Point – Lighthouse Photographers Bob and Sandra Shanklin
had the opportunity to stay the night in the
keeper’s house on Gurnet Point. 

in their own words
: At some point,
something woke Bob. He raised up on his elbow and watched the light come
around, illuminating the windows for a few seconds each time. Then he looked
over toward me (Sandra), who was sleeping soundly. Above me, he saw the
head and shoulders of a woman. He described her as being a green blue electric
spark color. He said she had an old time hairdo, sunken cheeks and the saddest
face he ever saw. Bob told me that she wasn't wrinkled and he didn't think she
was an old woman. He said he felt no threat from her, but only her sadness. As
he watched her, out of the corner of his eye he could see the rays of light
from the lighthouse come around several times, brightening the room. He looked
toward the light, then looked back to where she had been and she was gone.
While there is no way to ascertain with any degree of certainty the identify of
the Gurnet Point ghost, Shanklins claimed he had a "feeling" it was
Hannah Thomas.

--Kalina Schloneger, Education & Community Programs Intern

Resources/for more about
this haunted lighthouse visit:
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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