Monday, April 9, 2012

Haunted Lighthouse: Sequin Island

On a cold and windy rock-island sits one of American’s most haunted lighthouses. 

This is a hard sell because most lighthouses are considered haunted even if they are not. But Sequin Island in Maine has a tragic history, which lends itself to hauntings.

The lighthouse on the island today is over 180 feet in height. It is actually the third reincarnation of the original that was built in 1797. 

Sequin Island

Sequin Island is a very inhospitable place to live. It is considered the foggiest stretch of coastline in all of Maine. The wind chills the bone, and the winter months are endless.

The human history on the island is just as cold as its Nor'easters. This lighthouse is one of American’s oldest so it has witnessed many years of human suffering. 

One tragic event that is associated with the island took place in the mid-19th Century. This story is one of isolation and madness.

A lighthouse keeper’s wife complained to her husband about the endless boredom she felt living on the island. He in kind had a piano delivered to the island to surprise her just before winter overtook them. 

His wife’s delight at his gift although quickly faded for she needed sheet music to play the piano and only one song had been sent. Unfortunately, it was too late in the season to have more songs delivered.

To her husband’s chagrin, his wife took to playing this one song over and over again to the point he despaired that spring would never arrive. 

Once it did he, sent for more sheet music for his wife. But unbeknownst to him, she had descended into a form of madness. For when the new sheet music arrived, she continued to only play the original song.

Sequin Island ax murder.
Tragically, the husband also spiraled into insanity and took an ax and smashed the piano and then killed his wife nearly decapitating her. 

Ever since people on the island have heard the notes of a piano tune--similar to a Scott Joplin rag-- playing. Today there is no piano on the island and when this is discovered visitors always ask if it might be a radio playing, but the answer is still no. 

This song is also faintly heard by people who pass by the island’s rocky cliffs in boats—especially on calm nights.

Yet another tragic event happened on Sequin Island when one keeper’s ten-year-old daughter died. She was buried near the house. 

Her apparition has been seen ever since running and playing in the lighthouse. Visitors and coastguardsmen have seen her running up the stairs and waving down at them. Her laughter is heard, and many have reported hearing her bounce a ball.

One former keeper who haunts the lighthouse has been dubbed “Old Captain." As the story goes, he died on the island alone, penniless and without a boat. 

Many keepers who came after him claimed to see his apparition. He is most often observed climbing the stairs of the tower as if heading to tend the light.

Another compelling Sequin Island tale happened in 1985. The Coast Guard was decommissioning the light, so all the furniture was being packed up. 

During the night after the job was complete, one Warrant Officer was awakened, he saw the apparition of a man wearing oilskins standing at the foot of his bed. The ghost then pleaded, “Don’t take the furniture. Please leave my home alone.” 

The next morning as the boat that held all the packed furniture was being lowered down the steep cliff off the island it broke loose and was smashed against the rocks below.

Sequin Island

Today the lighthouse on Sequin Island is a museum and is open to the public during the summer months. The island is accessible by boat from Bath, Popham Beach, or Boothbay Harbor.

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