In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

A Haunted Tower Built on the Sea

Jan 30, 2012 8:15:00 AM
By BLO Staff

Second in our series of haunted lighthouses:

Station Established: 1850
Current Tower First Lit: 1860
Operational: YES
Automated: 1947

Minot's Ledge lighthouse was a place no sane person
wanted to live. It is just a tower coming out of the sea on a reef located off Scituate, Massachusetts.
 In fact, the first tower was destroyed
by the sea only a year after it was completed! 
In April of 1851 keeper John Bennet went ashore leaving his two
assistants in charge of the lighthouse. 
While Mr. Bennet was on land, winds kicked up to more than 100 mph and
he could not return to the lighthouse until morning.  When keeper Bennet finally made it back to
the lighthouse there was nothing left of the tower.  The bodies of his two assistants washed up later
on Nantasket Beach
and Gull Island. 
Since this tragedy fishermen say they hear cries coming from the island
and swear they have seen a man hanging from the ladder screaming to passers by
“Stay away! Stay away!”

After the tragedy on Minot’s Ledge other strange things began to
happen.  When an assistant was ordered to
clean the lighthouse the windows would always be sparkling clean by the time
they reached the top to complete the task. 
Other keepers heard taps echoing up through the stairs.  This was the signal for the two assistants
that they could leave their post. Most keepers learned to live with the ghosts
but others lost their minds.  One keeper
could not handle it and slit his own throat another went insane and had to be
taken from the lighthouse in a straight jacket.

--Kalina Schloneger, Education & Community Programs Intern

Resources/for more about
this haunted lighthouse visit:
Haunted LighthousesLegends and Lore by Sue Clark
United States Coast Guard
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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