The Damned Story: One of the most picturesque lighthouses along the Connecticut coast is the distinctive New London Ledge Lighthouse. It also is allegedly home to one of the most distinctive ghosts in the area, a spirit of former keeper, now known as "Ernie."
Built in 1909 atop a concrete pier in New London Harbor, the light itself sits atop a striking three-story building. Individual keepers tended the light from its inception a century ago until 1939, when the U.S. Coast Guard took over. In 1987, the light was finally automated, eliminating the need for anyone to stay onsite -- which apparently was quite welcome.
As it turns out, over the years many of those on duty reported all sorts of strange goings-on -- doors opening and closing themselves, unexplained knockings, bedsheets flying off of beds, cups moving around, boats unmooring themselves, TVs and radios turning on and off, the fog horn spontaneously sounding on its own and other unexplained happenings. Oh, and from time to time, the ghost of a tall, bearded man in a slicker and rainhat has been seen.
The story goes that in the 1920s or 1930s, the keeper of the lighthouse -- possibly a man named John Randolph -- was so distraught that his wife had run off with a local ferry captain that he jumped from the roof to his death. No records have been discovered to confirm or deny this, yet it's believed that it's the spirit of this despondent soul who still haunts the lighthouse.
Later keepers as well as coastguardsmen are responsible for many of the reports. Legitimate events or products of bored minds in an isolated place over long stretches? No one can say for sure.
Psychics and others have claimed to have exorcised Ernie and set him free from his eternal torment more than once, but apparently, unusual things still continue to occur.
Our Damned Experience: We have yet to visit the Ledge Lighthouse, but it sounds like a bright idea to us! Paranormal investigators have come from as far as Japan and as close as Rhode Island (the famed "Ghost Hunters" TAPS crew investigated in 2005) to hunt for Ernie, with varying degrees of success.
If You Go: During the summer (June-August) Project Oceanology offers 2.5-hour tours, including time inside the lighthouse. And since it is a lighthouse sitting smack dab in New London harbor at the mouth of the Thames River, it can always be viewed by boat.
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