Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oregon’s Heceta Head Lighthouse

This is a well-known Oregon Coast ghost story.

What was once known as Devil’s Elbow State Park, is now called Heceta Head Lighthouse Scenic Viewpoint State Park.

This lighthouse is located just north of Florence, Oregon. It sits 205 feet above sea level, on the west side of 1,000-foot-high Heceta Head. It is situated in a cove at the mouth of Cape Creek.

This lighthouse is one of the most photographed spots in Oregon, and is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.

Heceta was first illuminated in 1894 and has a 56-foot tower. It was named after a Spanish sailor Don Bruno Heceta, who discovered the area in 1755.

Heceta Head Lighthouse was automated in 1963, and is the strongest light along the Oregon Coast--it can be seen 21 miles from shore. It was renovated in 2013.

The Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s house--built in 1893-- still sits near the tower. Today this building is known as Heceta House. It is run by the U.S. Forest Service, and today is a bed and breakfast.

Visitors staying at this house can see the grey whale migration as they travel to and from Alaska to Baja California. This 549-acre park offers day campers, seven miles of trails, of varying degrees of difficulty, spectacular viewpoints, tide pools, natural caves, a variety of wildlife, and a pristine sandy beach.

Needless to say, this bed and breakfast is a popular spot, and there is a 3-month waiting list for reservations. More information can be found about it here.

Both the Lighthouse and Heceta house, are on the National Register of Historic Places. “Heceta” is pronounced by most as “ Ha--SEE--Ta,” others pronounce it “HECK--ah--Ta.”

The Grey Lady

Heceta House
Unlike most hauntings near a lighthouse, this ghost is not seen in the Heceta Head tower. Instead, The Grey Lady or “Rue” resides in the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers home--Heceta House.

It is believed that Rue’s spirit stays because the grave of an infant girl was discovered on the Lighthouse grounds. It is said Rue still watches over her baby girl.

Rue was dubbed the Grey Ghost because she is seen as a grey mist, with a human form. Her ghost is considered friendly, and sometimes mischievous.

She often moves items and opens and closes cabinet doors. She is heard walking upstairs in the house.

Many encounters with her have been reported since the 1950s.

At one time a volunteer crew was sent out to paint Heceta House. This crew spent the night but did not get much sleep.

Throughout the night, the fire alarm kept going off--no fire was discovered. Tired of being woken up, a member of this crew removed the batteries from this alarm. It did not work, the alarm sounded again.

It seems Rue didn’t like the color of the new paint.

Her ghost is most active when construction or renovations are taking place in the building.

Another encounter with Rue was when a workman came face to face with her in the home’s attic. He was so startled, he fled the house and refused to return to the attic.

A few days later, he accidentally broke the attic window, while working on the exterior of the building.

Refusing to go into the attic, he instead repaired this window from the outside. As he did this, he pushed the broken glass into the room and it scattered.

That night other workers heard scraping sounds across the attic floor. When they inspected the room the next morning, they found the glass neatly swept into a pile beneath the repaired window.

Rue is most often seen peering down at people from the upstairs.

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