New London Ledge Lighthouse

November, 2008 by Ray Bendici
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newlondThe 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 Gorton's fisherman? Captain Gregg? No, it's just Ernie.

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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Comments

Submitted by Samantha Nicely (not verified) on
So i've been looking into your website for a couple of weeks. Like what I see. The fact that you leave it open for the reader to determin whether or not something is haunted is nice. You simply just tell the tale and let the speculation begin. Though I haven't seen anything on your website of the Hell Hollow Road in Voluntown Conneticut?? Y'all should look into it. I grew up in that town and it was a famed story i heard about all my life. I'd love to see what your investigation would discover? And the lIghthouse in New London was defiantly a spooky place to go to. My father took me once.

Submitted by Amy (not verified) on
My mom grew up in New London and told me that she used to go to Ledge Lighthouse in college and drink with the local sailors from the Navy base in Groton. Sounds like fun!

Submitted by hootar (not verified) on
I had no idea this was haunted, atleast until I read the part about it being unmanned. I worked as a commercial fisherman and for the past three years our boat has been in New London. We steam by this place every time we leave or come in from a trip. It's one of the last good close ups of land that we get, plus I'd always be out on deck getting as much phone time in as possible before we turned out to sea. Anyways, I've seen a figure on the rocks, in the windows etc... I remember thinking it was odd that there wasn't a boat at the little dock, but assumed there were two people there and one had run back to shore. Neat.

WOAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH LIKASEMBOADEEEE LIKEEIEIIEEEIEI THIS IS SCARY YO WAZ RLLY GUD DEN?

Submitted by jpkeeney (not verified) on
I think that someone should go and look at the old Incenerater site in WestHaven CT across from Quigley field!! I know for a FACT there is something going on there!!!

Submitted by dave (not verified) on
the new london light house, when i was stationed at groton sub base in the 70's i was coxswain of a LCM boat for the navy (thats a landing craft with a door that came down in the front) we stopped there once, had to climb an iron ladder from the boat to reach it, we had to go replace a 6ft by 4ft american flag on the pole there cause the hurricane tore the old one up, after that was done we left, and i turned to look at it for a moment and it was hung upside down, so i called the line handlers and told them they were idiots for hanging it upside down, we went back, got moored up, then looked at the flag and it was on the pole the way it should be., one of the guys said "i heard it was haunted" i seemed to remember someone mentioned that on base too, another one of my line handlers whistled something along the tune of the twilight zone, i said "f this place, lets get outta her. when we were about 3/4 mile away i looked back and the flag was how it was suppose to be. two days later the coastguard, radioed surface craft at the base and asked if we changed the flag, the duty officer confirmed the flag changed, and personally drove out to the point in the truck and looked with binoculars, the flag was there alright, but it was hanging upsidedown

Submitted by Melissanas2006 (not verified) on
I am with The Rhode Island Paranormal Research Group, and we've done over night investigations at this location since before it was popular on t.v. I for one, have only stayed there once. Not because I am scared of the haunting, but because I hate water/boats and once was enough with that. I will say there was a lot of activity the night we stayed. We had direct communication via knocks to our questions (i.e., knock once for yes, twice for no) and we did get EVP and photographic evidence. If you have the opportunity to go and you are not a land lubber like myself, I definately recommend it.

Submitted by Jean (not verified) on
I grew up in Groton and have been in the light house a few times. One of the times years ago we broke down in a boat right there and the Coast Guard guys took us in and things went crazy! My roomate and I were on a double date and this is what happened: we were spotted by the Coast Guard station there; they towed us in and and on the way up to the office my date , last in line, observed a swinging open door; he entered and saw his breath as the temp dropped suddenly. The desk in front of him moved from side to side and papers on it flew into the air; no one was visible, the room was really cold; then two strong arms grabbed him out of the room. It was the Coast Guard attendant that brought us in. He walked my date up the stairs and when entering the office he said a code number to to Coast Guard crew stationed there that made them all quiet and pale in response. Soon after the light house became fully automated and stories of Ernie emerged. A few years later I married my date from that day, we have a picture of Ledge Lighthouse in our foyer, he never forgets that day; something really happened there. Something not yet explained by science or religion to his satisfaction of that event. It was just a summer's date, we actually ran out of gas there, I think?

Submitted by Jefferson Harris (not verified) on
The lighthouse on Plum Island in Long Island Sound is reputed to be haunted by the ghost of Col Thomas Gardiner. I just visited which takes going through an organization like the New London Maritime Society due to it being a secure island. Of course the conspiracy theories about the island and the USDA Level III lab can contribute to the eeriness. NLMS does about 6 trips a year and other organizations put together their own trips....it takes some organization due to the security checks that have to be done. But well worth it.