|It’s a little late for Halloween, but I just ran across this story from the 290 Foundation, written by Ian Dewar and thought I would share.
It’s about the Pensacola Lighthouse that has towered over Pensacola Bay since 1858 and remains in use today. Located on the boundary of the US Pensacola Naval Air Station, the historic lighthouse is a major Florida landmark.
Authorized by Congress in 1854 to replace the aging lightship, ‘Aurora Borealis’, the tower’s construction was overseen by John Newton, a US Army engineering officer. Newton became a general during the Civil War and commanded Union forces at Gettysburg. The 160-foot tall-tower was finally completed in 1858 and became operational the following year.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Confederate forces removed the lens to prevent the light being used to help Union ships in their navigation in surrounding waters. A battery of heavy artillery called the “Lighthouse Battery” was also established near the tower.
This battery became a key target for cannon at Fort Pickens during the massive bombardment that shook Pensacola Bay in November of 1861. The lighthouse tower itself was struck six times by shot from Union cannon but no serious damage was sustained. It is variously reported however, two confederate soldiers acting as lookouts were killed by shrapnel. The Confederates evacuated Pensacola in May of 1862 and Union forces repaired the damage to the lighthouse. A new lens was installed and the light was restored on December 20, 1862.
Following its occupation by Union forces, reports started to emerge of ghostly apparitions appearing on the spiral staircase within the tower; and some soldiers reported hearing their names being whispered in the darkness by voices with southern accents.
On October 31st 1862, a Union soldier died from his injuries following what he described as a ‘forceful attack on his person’ by a Confederate intruder who, he claimed, he encountered on the high platform. The report of this incident was covered up at the time for fear other soldiers could be shot in the mistaken belief they were the enemy.
Since that time, many other ghost stories have emerged about apparitions within the tower and psychics and clairvoyants agree, the Pensacola Lighthouse is one of the most haunted places in America.