Monday, January 6, 2014

Haunted Foghorn: Baker's Island

Baker’s Island located near Massachusetts is one of a string of 15 islands in Salem Sound. These islands are known as the “Miseries” because of the large number of shipwrecks that occurred in the area in years past.

During the golden age, Salem Sound was a sailboat mecca for the rich and famous. But many boats capsized--just as ships had in previous years-- because there was nothing in place to help them navigate these island’s rough shorelines and rocks.

In an attempt to solve this problem Baker’s Island built a “day beacon” in 1791 but it was not much help for sailors at night or in foggy weather.

The Salem Marine Society approached Congress for the money to replace this beacon with a lighthouse. Congress allocated $6,000 for this endeavor and in January of 1798 twin lighthouses lit their lamps for the first time.

These twin towers were located 40 feet apart near the two-story lighthouse. They were originally fueled by whale oil. By 1926 only one light was still in use and it was electrified.

Summer cottages were originally built on the island in 1907. Today many of these homes are still owned by their original moneyed families. During the winter months, the island is deserted except for the lighthouse keeper.

With the exception of the lighthouse, the island does not have electricity so gaslight is still used. * Access to the island is via one pier and in recent years residents and their guests are usually the only people allowed on Baker’s Island.

For over 100 years the island has also hosted a variety of uninvited guests that just happen to be ghosts. Here is the tale of just one of these entities.

This ghost has been heard by and annoyed every resident on the island at one time or another. He announces his presence by ringing the old unused foghorn.

This mischievous ghost only rings or "blares" this horn at night, never during the day. This horn never seems to ring in bad weather, which was its original purpose. It only blares on crystal clear nights.

It rings so often that various lighthouse keepers have called in the Coast Guard to try and figure out what is going on. These repairmen all have reported nothing is wrong with this horn.

Baker's Island
One unique story told about this foghorn’s unexplained ringing occurred in 1898. There was a reunion held on the island for a group of former lighthouse keepers. That night as they stood waiting on the pier for their ferry to arrive they all heard the foghorn ringing loudly.

Tragically, during their boat ride back to the mainland a violent storm hit. Their ferry capsized and all but one of these light keepers drowned. Ever since it has been stated that the horn rang as a warning.

* Part of the unusual haunting activity on the island is people see lights flickering on and off in these homes when they are unoccupied.


july said...

Great story.I live in Michigan City, IN. We have a lighthouse.I loved your story.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.